Creativity On has been a successful home based business for nearly twelve years. We are often asked why don’t we move our operation to a storefront. We do enough business to support it.
However, we like working from home, and we think it serves our customers better to boot. It creates a win-win situation.
Here are some of our observations on the pros and cons of how running our business from the home castle has worked for us.
Keeps costs down
The major benefit for our customers is that being a home-based business keeps our costs down. Our prices are so good for that very reason; we don’t have to charge more to pay for a storefront.
Gives us flexibility in doing the work
The home-based business model gives us tremendous flexibility in how we produce orders. By having people visit us by appointment, we are free to make deliveries, visit suppliers, and best schedule workflow to meet customer needs. We wouldn’t have that flexibility operating a storefront.
Gives us time to focus
The very nature of running a storefront business means that whenever a customer enters the store, that person must be served. While interruption is great for new business, it’s hard on work flow. It also requires one person to always be present during store hours.
Best for what we do
Our business is mostly wholesale. We do, of course, embroider or print single items or very small orders, but the majority of our business is lager quantities. A storefront is more suited for retail and also requires marketing toward that end. We would rather devote our time, money, and energy doing what we do best.
Best model to weather business flow
Our business traditionally has peaks and valleys. We are very busy in the summer and have less to do in the winter. Not having such high overhead demands on us, we worry less during slower months.
Perception that we are small and inexperienced
Home-based businesses are often perceived as something hobbyists do. In many people’s minds, a storefront means conducting “real business.” Once new people see what we can do for them, that impression flies out the window. We often get new business from people underwhelmed by services provided from a storefront operation.
Perception that we are not big enough for prime time
Larger companies sometimes question whether we can handle big orders. We show them examples of our client base. That usually takes care of that myth.
Not as convenient for local customers
We recognize that we don’t have a customer waiting area or free coffee and popcorn. We encourage making appointments to drop by to guarantee that we’ll be here. We can usually accommodate our customers’ schedules. With machinery around it is not a kid-friendly environment.
Perhaps the biggest “con” is when a customer sends an employee to pick up an order and forgets to tell the employee that we’re a home business. There’s an awkward moment sometimes when they say, “I was told to pick something up at Creativity On–am I at the right place?”
In the End
We believe that on the whole we are much better off as a home-based business. It offers our customers better pricing and customer service. It makes for better work flow and flexibility. We may not be as convenient as a storefront would be, but we think the best bottom line is getting quality goods into our customers’ hands on time and at a great price.