6 Tips to Kickstart a Home Business in Malaysia — the Right Way

Blog
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January 14, 2022
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By
Nicholas K

One of the silver linings of the multiple lockdowns in Malaysia over the past two years has been the emergence of home businesses by aspiring entrepreneurs — we’ve seen online bakeries pop up over social media, new media outlets, and even people selling digital art online. 

Some side-hustles may have been required as side incomes due to financial reasons, but for many, the extended period of work-from-home also triggered a creative surge and outlet — made possible by the digital era that we live in today. After all, starting a new business can certainly be one of the most exciting opportunities of growth today, although it’s important to come well-prepared. 

Here are 5 tips to ensure that your new home grown business in Malaysia has the best shot at succeeding. 

1. First, create a detailed business plan 

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, as the old adage goes. We know, we know — we all get impatient, and it can be tempting to just jump right into it when setting up a new business idea. However, it’s important to plan for as many eventualities as possible, and to conduct comprehensive research into the market before actually launching your brand new idea. 

Once you’ve done the necessary research and planning, it’s a good idea to have a written overview of your business, including short and long term goals, target markets & audiences, and potential ways to scale your business over the next few months, or even years. Try to include as much detail as you can in this plan, as this will ultimately be a blueprint for your new business in the long run. 

2. Organise your finances before launching

An essential part of that planning is finances. A business plan isn’t complete without budget planning, which should include various projections for revenue, costs, and yes, profit. While home-based businesses tend to have lower overhead costs than, say, a fully scaled factory, there are still start-up costs to factor in. 

These include potential equipment upgrades, electricity and utility bills, and even payments to freelancers or agencies that you might rely on to help with certain aspects of the business. Again, the more detail you have, the more accurate your financial projects should be, in theory. This will allow for you to ensure that you have the right margins in place when sourcing for materials/ingredients. 

Your mileage may vary, but it’s also worth noting that it usually takes two to three years for a business to become profitable, so you should be prepared to lose money for a certain amount of time. However, a silver lining to all of this is that by definition, home-based businesses don’t usually require physical premises, so that should save you a tonne. 

Take all of this into account during this planning stage.

3. Branding is key

Word of mouth is (obviously) going to be important to the success of your business, but for a home-grown startup, it’s important to understand the power of branding and marketing. Spend some time including the above into your business and financial planning, including possible outlay on digital marketing, as well as social media and site traffic search to give your business visibility, and market presence. 

You don’t always need to outsource branding to digital agencies — the process will also require effort to understand your customers and audience, while ensuring that your business product aligns with their expectations and demands. Think about differentiating your business from other competitors, whether you want to offer better after-sales service, more personalisation, simply, a better product. 

Use this brand identity to ensure that you have a single voice and message across various marketing channels, including social media platforms and digital ads. 

4. Evaluate, adapt, and stay agile

Even if you have the most comprehensive of plans, you should also be ready to stay agile when it comes to your home-grown business. The Movement Control Order (MCO), for example, wasn’t expected by many to last two whole years, but as we all know (now), the pandemic is something that has become a part and parcel of everyday life — even now. 

As such, you’ll need to schedule in sessions at regular intervals to evaluate your business, its targets, and whether any adaptations are required in order to survive, and thrive. Particularly when it comes to home-based businesses, remember that things change — very quickly — so you’ll need to stay on your toes to take advantage of any shifts in the market. 

5. Find the right partners / colleagues 

There’s a misconception that a home business must be a solo journey, although this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, you might not have much capital to share around, or you might prefer to start alone, but businesses of all sizes can benefit from a wide variety of skills and competencies — which a single individual might not possess. 

For example, you might be an incredibly talented baker, leading your newfound desire to start a home-based bakery business. However, you might need some help with building a digital presence, so lookout for other like-minded individuals or friends who are looking for an opportunity to collaborate — this might eventually lead to a lucrative, and mutually beneficial arrangement for both (or more) of you. 

6. Invest in digital systems — for the future

Home-based businesses in today’s era tend to rely heavily on digital technologies, with many social media, ads, and other digital factors playing a crucial role in the success of any business. Besides the aforementioned digital marketing efforts, it’s equally important to invest in the right systems and platforms, so that you’ll be able to scale your business effectively in the years to come. 

For example, you might be a small business with a mere headcount of two or three partners, but this team might grow exponentially once you’re successfully launched. With something like altHR, you’ll be covered for everything that your business needs — particularly from a human resources standpoint. Keeping everything — from business plans to employee details — stored in one, secure, integrated place is key to this.   

To further help budding businesses, our Resource centre is home to a huge repository of HR guides — you can read our useful article guides, watch insightful webinars, or even catch up with our podcast series, all for free. That’s all a part of our long-term aim: to enable Malaysian businesses to be awesome at doing what they do with Digi’s super app, altHR.

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