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Celebrating National Home Business Week

Home businesses come out of the woodwork to celebrate National Home Business Week.

From October 12 - 18, home-based business operators will be celebrating their courage, determination and entrepreneurial spirit in New Zealand's third annual National Home Business Week.

For many self-employed people working from home, the biggest challenge is the sense of isolation and invisibility that comes with running a home business, followed by a lack of credibility. Often, not even their neighbour knows about their business - and if they do, they may not take it seriously.

National Home Business Week raises the profile of home businesses, both nationally and within their own community, and awareness about the importance of this business sector, along with some of the issues and challenges home businesses face.

Home business makes up the largest business sector in New Zealand, with more than 230,000 home based business operators spread throughout the country - in fact, a recent study by Unitec's Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship found that 67% of entrepreneurs surveyed in New Zealand were home-based.

"Home businesses contribute significantly to the New Zealand economy in two ways", says Managing Director of Home Business New Zealand, Heather Douglas. "Firstly, many of them are providing employment for themselves when no other employment options are available, and secondly, some represent the beginnings of much larger businesses. A close look at New Zealand's high profile businesses will highlight a large percentage which had their roots in the garage or spare bedroom. A surprising number also provide employment."

Increasingly, businesses do not need to be big or have a physical presence to run substantial and even international operations. The Internet and new technology coupled with a Kiwi desire for lifestyle make a home-based enterprise an attractive option. For many home business operators, wanting flexibility, to spend time with their families, be their own boss or avoid the traffic are significant factors influencing their decision to go it alone. A significant number also see self-employment as more secure than working for an employer.

A recent survey conducted by Unitec in association with Home Business New Zealand found that while 85% said they were not trading significantly internationally, for 5%, almost all their business was international and for the other 10% international business contributed a proportion of their revenue. Geographically, about 22% of home businesses in New Zealand are rural with the balance (78%) being urban.

Running a home business is not easy, and home business owners cite isolation, invisibility, difficulty maintaining a work-life balance, erratic income, credibility issues, lack of skills, compliance difficulties and not enough support as their biggest challenges. While some of these are common to all businesses, facing them alone is what home business operators find the hardest.

Home Business New Zealand launched its HomebizBuzz web site (www.homebizbuzz.co.nz) in 2000 to help address these issues, with sponsorship from companies like Microsoft, Telecom and Yellow Pages. "During that time, it's been heartening to see the home business community become much more cohesive", says Heather. "Not only do they communicate with us, they have a sense of belonging and really support each other. It's also been exciting for us to see the media, corporates and people in government starting to take home businesses seriously. Home businesses really have finally come of age in New Zealand."

To identify home business operators in your area you might want to talk to or profile: HomebizBuzz has a Directory of Home Businesses in New Zealand, which is searchable by region, industry category, keyword or any combination of these. Please feel free to use it to identify home businesses in your area, or serving your industry or niche. You will find it at wwwhttp://new.homebizbuzz.co.nz/directorysearch.php3.

Some background about Home Business New Zealand Home Business New Zealand is a privately owned (home-based) business which was established in 2000 to meet the needs of home business operators throughout the country, Through its HomebizBuzz web site (www.homebizbuzz.co.nz), Home Business New Zealand provides information, resources and tools to help make running a business from home fun, easy and successful.

Voted Best Small Business Web Site in last year's NetGuide Awards by its users, HomebizBuzz has been relaunched to coincide with National Home Business Week. While it has a fresh new look, more interactivity and a bigger focus on providing tools and resources, the site still offers lots of information on everything from starting a business, finance and marketing to technology and networking, a directory of home business operators and a popular monthly email newsletter - all at no cost to its users. Partnering with Inland Revenue, it brings home businesses tailored tax-related information, and in association with Action International it now offers home businesses the opportunity to have their questions answered by a business coach. Along with its cost-effective new Ezi-Build web site tool it offers a variety of interactive resources - and is shortly announcing a special deal for home businesses with Warehouse Stationery.

During National Home Business Week, HomebizBuzz will be running an on-site draw giving away a web site for a year to a home business worth nearly $1,000.

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