In today’s economy, many are opting to follow their lifelong dreams of owning their own businesses. By basing a new small business in one’s home, the owner is able to cut down on costs as the business navigates those early, uncertain months. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently more than 18 million home-based businesses in this country.
Recognizing that this is an important segment of the economy, StartUpNation recently kicked off its fifth annual Home-Based 100, requesting entries from now until the end of October. The competition isn’t limited to any particular size or level of business–the entrant must simply be home-based and fit into one of the categories listed on StartUpNation’s website. Those categories are:
- Most innovative–The most innovative products or services that are available on the market.
- Boomers back in business–Home-based businesses owned by those who are over the age of 50.
- Greenest–Businesses that are making a positive impact on the environment.
- Yummiest–These businesses create tasty food (or beverages).
- Wackiest–This category is for those businesses that stand out for being “way out there” while still doing well.
- Savviest in social media–Social media marketing is the new frontier for small businesses. This reward acknowledges those who have conquered the medium.
- Recession busters–Even in these tough economic times, these businesses are able to continue to grow.
- Most slacker friendly–These businesses offer solutions to those looking to do things easily, often due to busy schedules.
- Highest vote-getters–This category houses those businesses that received the most overall votes in the competition.
“We know that awareness and driving traffic to your business is one of the biggest challenges for any business owner,” StartUpNation states on its website. “Winners of the Home-Based 100 find themselves at the center of a media storm that includes recognition on national and local TV, radio, in newspapers and magazines, and on some of the largest, most influential websites on the web, MSN and StartupNation among them.”
Visitors to StartUpNation’s website can view the existing entrants. Some categories currently have no entrants and are wide open. Even entering can help your home-based business, since each entrant has a profile on the site that includes that business’s logo or a picture of the business owner(s), and a popularity meter beneath the “Vote Now” button.
To enter, businesses only need to complete the registration form at StartUpNation’s website. You’ll be asked to provide a photo and brief but compelling description of your business. You’ll be enrolled to receive a weekly newsletter that will keep you updated on the progress of the competition.
Voting and registration began September 1 and continues through the end of October. A list of winners will be published in early January 2013.
For those who aren’t planning on entering, it’s important to put in a vote. Voting is already underway and will continue through the end of October. Since winning the competition can bring great publicity for a home-based business, each vote can make a difference.