Starting anAt-Home Small Business in the United States

Every month hundreds of thousands of new businesses are created in the USA.  As of 2010 there are 27.9 million small businesses.  With each business having at least one employee that means there could be at least one in ten people in the US with a small business.  Unfortunately, some thirty percent of them fail within the first two years.

Starting a Business is Easy

Most people start their business by registering with their state in which they live.  The business is typically set up as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) and the owner(s) would be “doing business as [the name of the business]”.  This is not the only way to officially start a business, but it is the easiest and most common.  Another type, which is slightly more difficult, is to officially change the name, so that the name of the business acts as its own entity.  It actually requires court documents showing that there was a ‘change of name’.

In addition, some people will register with the federal government and be granted a federal business ID.  The registration for a business is free or low cost.  Also, it is rare for a small business to start out as a full corporation, unless there are multiple people involved in the owning of it.

Low Overhead, Low Cost

The beauty of starting a business out of a person’s home is that there are few additional costs, since the person already lives there.  There are no commuting expenses, and there may not even be a need for a car.  One of the biggest expenses for a small business is renting space to operate.  This burden is enough to drive a business into debt and eventually fail.  It makes you wonder if some of the most successful businesses that began in a garage would still be in business today had they chose instead to rent a small warehouse.  Even with their great idea that propelled them to eventual success, it may not have been enough to offset their expenses had they not kept their overhead costs down.

Along with keeping the costs down by working out of one’s house, it is important to stick with the business plan, and not attempt to grow beyond it without careful consideration.  As is often said, ‘no risk, no reward’, but there is such a thing as a “calculated risk”.  Sky divers don’t just jump out of planes with no plan for landing.  They bring along a parachute.  They have calculated that the risk is worth the reward, and staying alive is part of being able to appreciate it.  So, with respect to your business, slow down and calculate what is to be done before diving in.


It is so important to keep accurate books that I can’t stress it enough.  When an owner does not have an accurate tally of their profits and losses, or inventory levels, they are basically just along for the ride.  It is critical to have an accurate account of the business.Many bookkeepers can be outsourced from temp agencies or freelancing web sites.  The same can be said of most other positions in a business.  This can save a lot of money when in the early years of running a start-up.

Find a Mentor

If at all possible, prospective business owners should try to find a mentor or two who can show them how to succeed.  The mentor can show you what to do and what not to do.  Their valuable lessons can make all the difference to a new small business.

How many businesses would still be functioning if they followed some of these pieces of advice?  I know that my first business would still be alive and well.  If you do these things you are more likely to succeed, and not be relegated to the trash heap of failed small businesses.