Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business

When taking a plunge into operations a home-based agency, follow these 14 steps so your start up won’t be a belly flop.

  1. Write a business plan and set some goals. The goals you identify should reflect your target market, services and fees. Then your business plan spells out how you will accomplish those objectives. If a business plan is not your style, simply jot down the purpose and the goals of your business so you have a target at which to aim.
  2. Choose your business name. Keep it simple and make sure it reflects what you do. Also look for domain names for your website that are easy for clients to remember and for prospective clients to find on the Internet.
  3. Seek professional assistance.
      1. Lawyer for advice on incorporating and to identify applicable laws and regulations.
      2. Accountant to create a bookkeeping system and advise on taxes.
      3. Banker to set up business checking and credit card accounts.
      4. Insurance agent for errors and omissions, business interruption and liability coverage.
      5. Web specialist to assist with domain name selection and web design so your site is attractive and easy to use.
      6. Designer to create professional looking business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc.
  4. Dedicate space in your home for an office. A professional environment breeds professional performance.
  5. Purchase the equipment to do the job right
    1. Computer and back-up device so you don’t accidentally lose precious files.
    2. High-quality printer, scanner and fax machine.
    3. Dedicated phone lines, voice-mail, Internet connection (preferably high-speed) and cell phone. An 800-number is critical to serving out-of-state clients.
    4. Software for designing brochures or flyers and web design and maintenance if you plan to perform these functions yourself.
    5. Ergonomic furniture so you can work comfortably and efficiently.
  6. Hire or retain technical assistance for things you can’t/won’t do.
  7. Gather and organize your client database, supplier and peer contacts, books, websites, brochures, phone numbers, etc. for ready access.
  8. Decide what hours you are going to work.
  9. Commit to marketing. Network constantly. Share you enthusiasm. Don’t be afraid to ask for business. Reward referrals. Remember everything you do – how you answer the phone, the typos on your invoices, your community activities, even your kids behavior – delivers a marketing message.
  10. Commit to professional development so you can stay current on products and improve your skills.
    1. Attend seminars, trade shows and supplier events.
    2. Participate in professional organizations, fam trips, destination specialists programs and community groups.
    3. Subscribe to not one, but all travel trade publications.
  11. Find reliable back up for vacations or emergencies. (PSI Travel Agency)
  12. Let family and friends know you are in business, so they shouldn’t interrupt you during your workday.
  13. Commit to accomplishing certain activities and goals each day.
  14. Officially notify clients, friends, and family about your new endeavor and invite their business and referrals.



Big picture thinking

  1. Current state of the industry
  2. Current state of your company
  3. 5 year industry outlook
  4. Vision – long term financial goal with a due date
  5. Mission – “become known as the company that…” (how you want people to feel about your company)


Take inventory

Review your business last year

  1. Successes
  2. Areas of improvement


What am I facing?

  1. Key challenges
  2. Key opportunities


Financial summary – 5 year history + budget for next year

  1. Gross commissions
  2. Commission as a % of sales
  3. Key expenses -marketing, other large chunks
  4. Total expenses
  5. Total expenses as a % of commissions
  6. Net income

Key Projects – long term developmental projects (eg. develop a prospect list, etc.)



Summary of spending by type – 5 year history + budget for next year

  1. Advertising
  2. Public Relations
  3. SEO or Social Networking
  4. Affinity Groups/Non-profits/Associations
  5. Trade/Bridal Shows
  6. Group Flyers/Marketing
  7. Email
  8. Online – other
  9. Etc.

Marketing Plan and Goals – strategies to achieving objectives – “how to”


Other key items

  1. Training priorities
  2. Certifications
  3. Affiliations
  4. Business Networking Groups



One of the most important aspects to getting your business going is getting your business cards done! You have the opportunity to use the template we’ve set up for your business cards or you may design and print them on your own. Remember, these may be deducted as a business expense on your taxes! Business Card are extension of your business so they should be professional, neat and have a “Call to Action” on them. Less Is Better: Company Name, Agent Name, Website, Telephone, E-mail and Services Your Provide.  You can put your services on the back of the Card if you run out of space on the front.


    1. Best Travel Agent In Town, Book with Us Today!
    2. We Save You Money On Your Travel
    3. Save 10% When You Travel With Us
    4. Join In On One of Our Groups and Save 50% on your next Cruise.
    5. Start Up A Group and Make Money
    6. Save On Your Next Family Vacation
    7. Family Reunion Planned with Us Saves You Money



We can save you money in this area; normal 1000 cards for less than $125.00. Please note that business cards are your life-line to your business.  So, give them out to everyone because you never no who is going to need your services. You have many options for your printing needs,so if you decide to purchase them local No Problem!


Logo Specifications For Your Website


Rectangular logos with a maximum size of 250 x 125 pixel are best. Acceptable file types are .jpg, .gif, Please go to Edit your site → Upload logo to upload your logo to your website.

Here are some good rules of thumb when it comes to logo design:


  1. Logo should look good in black and white first; secondary should be the color version.
  2. Colors can always be revised later. It’s the layout that will grab attention.
  3. You should be able to size it down to 1″ and still be legible/recognizable
  4. The colors you do choose are very important – it’s good to avoid bright, neon colors
  5. Think of the different uses of your logo (i.e. letterhead, business card, etc.).
  6. You should have different layout variations of your logo – horizontal, vertical, images only, text only, black and white, etc.

Website Hosting & Domain Purchase:


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