Starting your own business opens a lot of possibilities, but it also takes a lot of know-how. You’ll make your own hours, at least for the most part, and take on as much or as little work as you like. And for that part to function like it should, you need a strong underpinning; the bones of your business.
If you’ve never run a business before, the learning curve can look pretty steep. Which forms do you need? And how often should you pay taxes? There’s so much to answer. But as long as you take it one step at a time, you’ll have a great framework to support all of the home inspections yet to come.
Here are 3 strategies that can help you get off to the strongest start possible:
#1: Take an SBA Class
The Small Business Association (SBA) is designed for people just like you. They help new small business owners who might have little or no experience and no idea what to do first. They offer classes on small business ownership and how to start up right. That’s a great investment of your time, and it’s especially good when paired with the business courses that you’ll get through ICA School.
SBA’s course offerings include understanding your customer (your target market), and how to improve your sales skills. You can also take courses on market research, taxes and successful pricing models. And there are next-level courses once your business is established and you’re ready to work on growing it.
#2: Establish Your Business
Before you can get out there and inspect homes, you’ll need an established business. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, but you will need to go through a few specific processes. The SBA recommends these 10 steps for every new business owner, although some may not apply to you:
- Write a business plan (This helps you stay on track.)
- Get business assistance and training.
- Choose a business location (Will you have a home office?)
- Finance your business (Do you need a business loan for startup capital?)
- Decide on a legal structure (Will you be a sole proprietor or an LLC?)
- Register your business name with your state.
- Get a tax ID number from the IRS and your state.
- Register for state and local taxes.
- Get a business license and any business permits that your location requires.
- Learn about employer requirements (This one might come later.)
If all of these seem overwhelming, the SBA can help with that, too. Check out their web page about starting a business for host of links to helpful information about each of their recommended steps.
#3: Get your Marketing and Advertising Feet Wet
You probably won’t have a storefront, so you can’t count on walk-in business the way that a new retail shop might. Home inspections need leads, and Entrepreneur magazine stresses the need for marketing and advertising from day-1.You’ll probably get some business from buyers who found your name online, but leads are what make the home inspection world go round.
Each type of business has its best kind of marketing. ICA School’s marketing courses take you through best practices for home inspectors. That’s where you’ll need to focus a lot of your efforts. Get out there and talk with real estate agents, join one of the national associations, and hand out your business card everywhere that you go.
Probably the most important part of starting your new home inspection business is to keep learning. No matter which phase of business that you’re focusing on, learn everything that you can about it.
Read blogs like this one, and those dedicated to entrepreneurship in general. That’s how you’ll gain efficient processes, stay up with the times, and be competitive among all of the other home inspectors already working out there. And once you join an association, go to the meetings and conferences. The value of networking can’t be overstated.
Starting a new business isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either. Lay out your plan in advance, and you’ll have a guide to follow until you’re ready to take on your first inspection. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way with all of the complicated stuff behind you.
ICA School helps men and women just like you get the necessary education to start and run a home inspection business. Our program covers everything that you need to get started. And with some extra help from the SBA, you’ll be a step ahead of the rest. Enroll now, and get started on your path to a brand new business where you’re the boss.