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Home is Where the Office Is.
For an increasing number of business owners, their daily commute is a walk down the hall to their home office. Since 1990, the number of Americans running home-based businesses has doubled to an estimated 12.6 million, and about two-thirds of all new businesses start at home. About half of all businesses with sales between $50,000 and $500,000 are home based. Home-based businesses cover a wide variety of fields.

No longer does running a business from home carry a stigma. In fact, many home-based entrepreneurs who could afford outside offices choose to stay home. The home office used to be a stage in growth for many businesses. Now, there's less of a need for many to ever move out of the home. Two trends that contribute to the rising popularity of working at home are the availability of low-cost technology - from voice mail to powerful computers and the Internet - and the large number of former corporate executives who consult or start businesses from home.


Ownership Trends
At one time, most entrepreneurs were career changers starting second or third careers and corporate executives deciding to go out on their own. Today, many young people are choosing entrepreneurship as their first career. For women and minorities, entrepreneurship and small business ownership are a route to economic independence and personal and professional fullfillment. These groups are starting small businesses at rates far above the general population.

Entrepreneurs are getting younger all the time. About 30 percent of new entrepreneurs are age 30 or younger. An even higher number - over 60 percent of Americans ages 14 to 29 - want to start their own business.


Top 10 Home-Based Business Start-ups, 1997

Business Number Started
1. General Contracting 28,887
2. Construction 21,697
3. Computer Services 17,669
4. Business Consulting 15,261
5. Cleaning Services 12,505
6. Real Estate 7,007
7. Painting 6,518
8. Crafts 5,437
9. Trucking 5,279
10. Marketing Services 5,028
Source: Almanac: Where the Start-ups Are", Inc. State of Small Business 1998 (May 19, 1998), p. 136


People Starting a Business, by Age

AgePercentage of Total
Under 2612.5%
26 - 3534.1%
36 - 4530.1%
46 - 5516.9%
55 - 654.9%
Over 651.5%
Source: Wells Fargo/NFIB series on Business Starts and Stops, cited in "Generation X Leads the Way in
Small Business Starts", NFIB Press Release, March 26, 1998

Source: "The Future of Business", Copyright © 2000 by South-Western College Publishing Company


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