In today’s economy many people and families are looking for ways to increase their income and provide a resource for long term security. A home based business can be a perfect fit for many people or families. It is easy to start, can often be managed in your spare time and if successful it can lead to the replacement of your regular job income. Not a bad outcome.

But which type of business to choose? This is the question we are going to work on today.

First, what do you want out of this business? Extra income, job replacement, something to pass on to children? As Steve Covey pointed out in his book “7 Habit of Highly Effective People,” you must begin with the end in mind. But there can be many ends.

What do we mean by that? You don’t have to necessarily think about 20-30 years from now, the end of this year or next year is a good start. Many people want to build the next Apple or Microsoft and while it is also possible, the odds are against you. So, let’s start small and see if we can’t get this thing to snowball some down the road.

What do you want this to look like in 12 or 24 months? A short period of time that you can visualize in your mind. How many hours do you want to be working at it, how much money do you want to be taking out of it (remember – if it is not producing income, its not a business). These are 2 simple questions that will take a little thought to answer, so do that now.

Next question. Do you want to be selling a product or a service. This is big.

A product will often times be a one off sale (a one time event). When selling a product you will need to be finding a lot of customers to continue selling them. Now if your product is a consumable where you can make on-going sales to the same customer base even better. This is not to say you want to sell something that will break down and need to be replaced, this will be bad for a reputation. No here you want something that gets used up and is so good people want to buy more of it, soap, food, diapers, these are all consumables. Durable items like washers and dryers or tvs last for years so the chances of repeat business is slim.

A service on the other hand has inherent repeat potential. Tax professionals can count on people returning each year for tax return work and potentially during the year for tax advice. Consultants often can get monthly retainer work. There are businesses in the service industry that repair stuff like heaters and air conditioning. The downside here is that most of the time you will need to communicate during normal working hours and this will be hampered if you are trying to run this after hours.

Regardless of the kind of business you choose having the right tools is critical. The Equil Smartmarker is a great new innovation that allows you to write on your whiteboard and see everything on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android phone. You can check it out at at their specific product page: .

Next time we’ll talk more about the structure of your business.