First, if you have a business like this or you’re thinking of starting one, think about whether this business involves physical inventory that needs to be stored in your home, and if so, is there a commitment for you personally to order that inventory on a regular basis? If there is that commitment, you need to think about an overflow area where these items are going to be stored, maybe even temporarily, when they stack up. I’ve seen spare bedrooms become inventory rooms, I’ve seen garages serve in this capacity, I’ve seen parts of kitchens, so talk to your family and think about how you can expand your storage if you need to. There also may be other storage needs you run into, like having record retention issues, like boxes of files or little boxes of cards that you keep up with for your customers.
You may have training materials, books, binders, you may have actually samples, and you may even need to have a space to have people over to do makeovers and things like that. You also want to look at your own workspace. A lot of people start a business like this so that they can fit it around their family and their time and they use something like the kitchen table because they think that that’s a flexible place. But hopefully, if you’re successful enough, you’re going to outgrow that kitchen table. So you want to think about how to expand into a home office that’s dedicated with your own supplies and a place for you to, you know, not have to clear off when it’s time for dinner. If there are people in your industry who have systems that are already working for them and they’re very successful, such as sales or accounting applications, don’t reinvent the wheel, go ahead and adopt those systems now, assuming you’re a success so that you emulate what has been successful in your industry and you are not going to outgrow the system that you start with.
So there are customer relationship management tools on-line, CRM’s, they’re usually very customized to the particular business and often they’re very highly recommended and you probably should go with using those tools and finally, I would like you to ask yourself to think about whether your business is really active, or if it’s dormant. A lot of people try businesses like this and it’s not for them, and they find that admitting that the business-related clutter that’s accumulated around their house is representative of that business not succeeding is a very difficult thing to admit, but if you do, it frees up a lot of mental energy and certainly a lot of space, you can probably sell or give those contacts to one of your colleagues and you can probably find a way for that inventory to find a home as well, and free yourself up for your next project, and for bigger other things to come into your life that make more sense for you personally.