Three Points to Consider Before Launching Your Home Based Service Business

When I began my home-based resume writing business three years ago, I had an idea of what was involved. Some years back I ran a small boutique: I sold beads, tiny little glass and metal, plastic and wooden, beads. I worked in my store six days a week, and then spent at least an hour every Sunday placing orders to replenish stock. That experience did away with foolish notions of “more time to myself,” and I knew that I had the wherewithal to commit to self-employment when I began my home-based resume service.

If you are tossing this idea around, here are some of the aspects of running a home-based business that you should take into account.

1. Get ready for bad hair days: you must wear many hats. I am the decision maker and receptionist, and am accountable for landing sales and for tracking accounts payable and receivable. I develop new handouts, reports, samples, articles, and update these regularly with new information; cold call prospective industry contacts and “schmooze” even though I am a dedicated introvert; deal with customer concerns, and their joy and thanks! The only task I don’t handle is computer glitches (I leave those for my I.T. guy, my husband!).

2. Forget about goofing off just ’cause you need a break. A micro business is highly dependent on reputation for quality and service. For the first few years, you will be spending time augmenting your skills with on-line courses and self-study to ensure that your reputation for quality grows, and you will spend lots of time researching, developing and implementing customer service measures and strategies that help you stand out from the crowd. You will get the odd half-day here and there, and grab it while you can, but don’t count on quarterly trips to warmer climes as you’ll have neither the time nor the revenues.

3. Hold off on that new pair of shoes: all your funds go into the business. Guys, I’ve no idea what you spend your money on, but girls tend to love new shoes! As your business earns a few extra dollars, you will need to reinvest in courses, reference books, technologies (Creating a website, video, teleconferencing…), memberships, conference attendance and so on. Those business pundits who say you won’t turn much of a profit for the first few years are absolutely right.

One of my outreach initiatives is to speak to local private college students, and I recall one fellow sharing that he decided to take the I.T. Network course so that he could enjoy better working hours. I had to hold onto my words of wisdom. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are smarter than the rest.

Some may think “I will organize my time better and will make sure that I can take time off.” And although I encourage all to take those gifts of time when no client has called for days and you’ve no one booked, to go to the farmers’ market, take a drive in the country, and go visit dear old mom. But I know from experience that the discomfort (fear and panic!) you feel when the phone isn’t ringing will have you scrambling to create new alliances, research and implement new marketing ideas, and build your business.

It is time-consuming to play every role, perplexing to figure out how to reach new clients, difficult to absorb unknown skills like marketing and sales, and every working minute demands your focused attention… so why do we become entrepreneurs? Because there is something about holding the power to evaluate the alternatives, make each decision, change it mid-stream if you so wish, and mold and direct your own business that is intoxicatingly, breathtakingly exhilarating!

If you have self-discipline and talent, are passionate for the work you will be doing, and have a vision to deliver your services from a home-base, by all means, join the ranks of the service-industry entrepreneur!

The Primary Functions Of Insurance As A Service Industry

There are three primary functions of Insurance which determine how Insurance companies operate and how the public interacts with these companies.

The first is as a risk transfer mechanism, whereby the individual or business can shift some of the uncertainty of life onto the shoulders of others. In return for a known premium, usually a very small amount compared to the potential loss, the cost of that loss can be transferred to an insurance company. Without Insurance there would be a great deal of uncertainty experienced by both the individual and the enterprise, not only as to how and whether a loss would occur, but also to the extent and size of the potential loss.

The second primary function is the establishment of the common pool. The Insured’s premium is received by the Insurer into a fund or pool for that type of risk, and the claims of those suffering losses are paid out this pool. Applying Bernoulli’s ‘Law of Large Numbers’, because of the large number of clients that any particular risk fund or pool will have, Insurance companies can predict with high accuracy the amount of claims or losses that might be suffered over a period of time. The will be some variations in losses over different years and Insurance companies include an element of premium to build up a reserve, to pay for additional losses in bad or catastrophic years. Therefore in principle, subject to the limitations of the type of cover bought, the client should not have to pay additional premiums into the common fund after a loss or claim.

The third primary function of Insurance is to provide fair and equitable premiums. Assuming that a risk transfer mechanism has been set up through a common fund or pool, the contributions paid into the fund should be fair to all parties participating. Each party wishing to insure and paying into the fund will bring with it varying degrees of risk. To avoid adverse selection and provide equitable premiums each risk is broken down into various components and rating factors that can be priced individually on a statistical scale of probability determined by Actuaries. Therefore those who present the greater statistical risk will pay more into the common fund for the same cover, when their individual premiums are calculated.

Insurance companies employ underwriters to reduce the problem of adverse selection and protect the fund. The underwriters will determine parameters of the hazard and value of a risk that is acceptable for the fund, and decline risks that fall outside these parameters. In fixing a fair level of premium they must also take into account the contributions made by others into the common fund and price accordingly.

Underwriters and insurance companies will employ many techniques to deter or price adverse selection out of the risk pool. These typically include exclusions to cover in the form of policy wordings and additional conditional clauses, exempting the risk under certain conditions. They will employ all types of mechanisms and devices to install fear into the population to increase the size of the risk pool and attract the niche or sector of the market that they are aiming for. For example large marketing campaigns aimed at the ‘safe’ sector e.g. women drivers who are statistically less likely to claim. On the Internet, Insurance companies employ automated underwriting that excludes cover to everything that does not fit the desired risk pool parameters.

Choosing Between Online Business Travel and Operating a Store

Probably unknown to many Internet users, the assertion on which is a better earning opportunity between travel agencies and online stores is an enduring debate in the business industry. People are having difficulty deciding if they will engage in the industry of online business travel or if they will put up their own ventures. You may be among those who are in limbo at the moment so you are questioning which online business opportunity is right for you. Then, you may want to check the advantages and disadvantages of each field before you decide.

On one hand, if you choose to run an online store, an advantage is that you get to select what kind of product you will sell. For example, if you are more knowledgeable in selling clothes and accessories, then you can focus on fashion pieces. Or if you are more interested in gadgets, you can engage in selling such items. Meaning, you can just about choose whatever line of products or services you will be offering based on what you know or are interested in.

Consequently, you will also have an advantage in terms of making decisions for the business. If you are already knowledgeable in the type of products or services you offer, you will be able to connect better with your target market. Also, you would easily identify with the changing trends within the industry. This will enable you to equip your business enough for the competition you will be facing from the other online stores offering the same line of products as you do.

However, online stores are not always reliable in the aspect of sustainability. Everything is dependent on the availability of supplies, rate of consumer demand, and level of industrial competition. If you put up an online store, you really have to research well on the feasibility of your product. This will let you know how long your business can stay operational and under what kind of economy. But you have to be prepared because whatever store you put up may be subject to the changing of economic times. Worse, if your business will not be able to hold against adversaries, you risk closing down whether or not you have fully regained your investment.

On the other hand, if you opt to get into the online business travel industry, you will be facing several other choices. You can put up your own travel agency or you can franchise from an already operational business. This means that if you have a tight budget and would not be able to afford the expenses that starting a business from scratch entails, then you still will have another option. While the same can be said about online stores, travel agencies are known to be more affordable in terms of start-up costs because they have less operational requirements.

Aside from that, travel agencies are now included among the list of recession-proof businesses on account of the fact that people always find a reason to go on a trip. Countries are opening up their territories to foreign travellers so they can be more globally competitive. Hence, putting up a travel agency or franchising one will enable you to operate on a longer span of time. The target market is also fairly larger than the usual so you can be sure to find your niche in the vast travel industry.

However, you must be sure that you are knowledgeable in the process of travel arrangements. You should remember that these arrangements have legal implications because of the immigration laws that you have to follow per country. Therefore, you have to be extra careful in providing services to your clients so they will not be faced with unnecessary trouble.

Choosing whether to get into the online business travel industry or to become an owner of your own store can indeed be difficult. There are several pros and cons to each option. You have to really assess yourself, as well as your available resources, to know which of the two will make a good business venture for you. Of course, you have to make sure that you are choosing the right opportunity unless you want your investment to yield nothing. Hence, always research well and ask the right questions before deciding.