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Minimizing Conflict In A Home Based Business

When the home has to be both a home and a business, conflict can occur. In order to operate a successful home-based business, there must be a separation between the home and the home-based business. Conflict is likely to occur when there is a breach in the home/home-based business barrier. In order for the business to operate smoothly and the family to live comfortably in their home, communication must be established between the family and the business owners. A family and business require individual attention when it comes to designating space for each. If this does not occur, then four areas of family functioning are likely to be affected.

The needs of the family should take priority over the needs of the home-based business. Before a home-based business can be launched, space needs to be set aside for operational purposes. The household should answer the following questions first: How much space will the home-based business require within the home? What does the family absolutely need from the space in the home? Will the space that will be set aside for the business cause the family extreme discomfort? Is there a way for you to create a space management plan for the household space that can accommodate both your family and your home-based business? Family cohesion shouldn’t be severely impacted by a home-based business.

When a business intrudes on the household space, it also intrudes on the time schedules of everyone within it. Operating a home-based business is particularly difficult for families who have full schedules that are fixed and interlocked. In an instance such as this, the business’s needs would take a back seat to the schedules of those who are running it. Personal and family time schedules tend to be disrupted by home-based businesses if the business is given first preference, and the business tends to suffer if the situation is reversed.

Perhaps the biggest conflict occurs when the family feels as if their space has been violated as a result of having a home-based business. Consider all of the needs of the business. Does the business need extensive storage space or an area for customers to pick up merchandise? If customers and workers are constantly parading through your family room while your family is trying to relax then they will likely feel as their space is being violated. Designate particular areas of the home that business can be done in. Office space can be used for meetings, paper work, and other such activities. If a pick up area is necessary, then the most public areas of the home should be used.

Separation of space between the home and the business is not only beneficial to the family and business, but it is necessary for tax purposes if you plan on taking off deductions for business expenses. You must decide if a part of the house has too many uses to be used for both family and business matters.

While there are millions of different types of home-based businesses, almost every one of them can be grouped into a category: production/service; consulting or counseling; sales or marketing and mail order. Every business has different needs. Think about what category your home-based business falls into and consider the amount of space will be needed. Storage space, space for office equipment, production space, an area to meet with clients, and an area for pick up and delivery should be factored into the division of space.

The area in which you operate your business also plays a role in the success of your business. Make sure that there are no county codes that prevent you from operating a business in your neighborhood. If your business generates a lot of traffic, then consider how your neighbors might take to this. A neighborhood with a lot of children who play in or near the streets or even in a culda-sac are likely to become concerned with safety if your business generates a lot of traffic. The hours that you operate your business may also conflict with the comfort of neighbors. Operating a business extremely early or very late may cause tension. Your business hours aren’t the only ones to consider; pick up and delivery can also be disruptive. Shipping and deliveries could be made to post office and you can pick them up from there in order to minimize neighborhood traffic.

Conducting Your Online Business Checkup

I recently spoke with an online business owner about the creation of her ideal service business. She wanted to establish a practice with a higher-end clientele who can easily afford to pay her fees. She said that she had a hard time visualizing what a high-end successful practice looked like, because she had never seen one. I responded by telling her that she knew exactly what that kind of business looked like because it was her ideal business — and the vision of that looks very different to each online business owner.

For some online business owners, the ideal online business might be one in which the owner is spending much of her day working with 1:1 clients, interspersed with a few information product sales. For others, the ideal day might consist of implementing Internet marketing strategies to sell many information products, and only a small amount of time spent with high-fee 1:1 clients. The bigger vision to wrap your head around is how do you want to spend your day — your week — your year — your life? How much money do you want to make? How do you want to spend your time — with family, traveling, completing hobby projects, in relaxation, or working in your business?

There are no right or wrong answers here. The great part about being a self-employed service professional is that you have the freedom and the tools to create the perfectly designed business for you — to become a lifestyle entrepreneur, or lifepreneur, in which your life and your business work together in harmony so that you have adequate time and energy to devote to both . And, if that vision changes at some point, you can make changes accordingly.

For my business, that vision includes working many days in my bathrobe, spending time on the phone with hand-picked clients in 1:1 sessions where I get as energized as they do, writing content for additional information products, designing additional revenue streams for my business, enjoying a relaxed lunch while watching Samantha Brown’s travels on the Travel Channel, and spending time with my fiancee when his schedule allows. You won’t find me taking lots of exotic vacations or throwing wild parties or bragging about the new expensive car or house or clothing I just purchased –that’s not a part of who I am. I love the creative process I find through my work, and I find my work to be fun, so I treat my business as others might treat a treasured hobby. Flexibility is also important to me, as is being able to conduct ALL aspects of my business from my home office. I find myself becoming annoyed at even having to go to the Post Office to check my mail!

If your business isn’t developing the way you initially thought, take a long, hard look at your business vision and check to see how close you are the picture of your ideal business. Syndicated columnist Maureen Dowd says it best: “If you settle for less than you deserve, you’ll get even less than you settled for.” So, If you hate the travel component of your business, brainstorm ideas of how to take your information to your target market from your home office. If you’re burned out from working with 1:1 clients, strategize the possibilities of working with them in a group setting. If you want to take more time off, assess some passive revenue possibilities for your business. If you hate in-person networking events, discover where your target market hangs out online and develop relationships there.

Running a successful business isn’t easy — if it were, everyone would be doing it. And, it doesn’t happen overnight — many “overnight successes” have 5, 10, or more years of work that contributed to that “overnight success”. You deserve a full, thriving business — don’t settle for less! To make sure your online service business is on track, conduct a regular checkup of your online business, including:

1. Your service fee structure. Begin with the end in mind here in terms of what amount of money you need to live on for the year in way you’d like to or are accustomed to living and determine what you need to charge to live your life in this fashion. In a service business, your time is precious and should not be squandered. What is the client value of working 1:1 with you? Are you charging adequately for that privilege?

2. Your passive income strategy. What percentage of your business income do you want to derive from passive income streams? Have you devoted time during the course of your work week to develop these passive income streams?

3. Your invoicing and payment policies. Are there multiple ways clients can pay you (check, cash, debit/credit card)? When do you expect payment for a contract? How do you deal with late payments?

4. Your hours of operation. Are you working around the clock, or do you leave time for yourself to enjoy your life? What about vacation and family time? Are there procedures for dealing with clients who want you to work outside your scheduled work hours?

5. Your ideal client profile. Include descriptive adjectives of the characteristics of your ideal clients as well as more statistically-oriented details, such as what industry they’re in, what do they read, where do they hang our on- and off-line, what professional associations do they belong to, how much money do they make each year, what are their most pressing business management concerns. Do your current clients fit this profile? If not, you need to clean house and find clients that are a better fit for you and your business.

6. Kind of work you love to do. Don’t waste your time with tasks that aren’t fun or don’t tap into your special talents/gifts that come easily to you. Do what you do best, and delegate the rest.

Once you’ve reviewed these checkpoints, create an action plan that helps you move forward toward your ideal business vision. The president of the college where I once worked had this motto he established for all the administrative staff, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” You are the creator of your destiny, of your business, of your quality of life. If you are to have a successful online business, it is up to you to do it in the way that works well for you, brings you joy, and permits you to make a decent living in the process.

Business Clarity Should Permeate Your Business

It is very important that everyone involved in your business from the very top to the bottom of the chain knows exactly what is going on in your business. A business is team and you need everyone on your team working towards the same goal. Before you can teach your team about the business plan, you need to know it yourself. Once you are well informed of your business plan and the strategy and tactics you plan to use to get there, you can form excellent, dependable business clarity that will permeate throughout your business.

A business that starts off with clear and focused goals and plans and a strategy to reach those goals will be much more successful than those businesses without this. You need all members of your team moving in the same direction and working towards a common goal. The only way to truly do this is with business clarity. While it may sound easy in writing, most people find that the hardest task they will face in their business is properly defining their purpose but this is a necessity to finding clarity.

Studies have shown that there is a direct link between clarity and success. You must know what you are working toward if you are ever to expect to get there. The more clarity you have, the more profit you can expect to see coming in to your business. Defining business clarity should be a daily activity for you in your business. You need to dedicate some time each day to study and evaluate where your business is coming from, how you are growing and what new trends are taking place in the marketplace. Often, your market will change and you will need to adjust and make changes with it to remain profitable but all too often business owners fail to see this until it is too late.

What are some ways that you can maintain this business clarity throughout your organization? Remember that first and foremost, it always needs to begin at the top. You need to have a crystal clear picture of what you are doing and why before you can expect the rest of your business associates and employees and staff to do the same. Once you have this image clearly defined in your own head, you will need to move on to the next step: forming a plan to get there.

When you have this clear plan laid out on how to get to your goals, you will need to define each person’s role in that plan and then your briefing and training will need to begin from the top and work its way down. There should be clear instructions for what is expected of each individual and their role within your business, this way there is no confusion later about the focus of the business.

When you have business clarity in your business, everyone will see the same focus as you when it comes to the future and success of the business. This is how businesses become and remain successful.

(c) 2007, Doug and Claudia Brown of All rights reserved. Reprint rights granted so long as article and by-line are published intact and with all links made live.