In our research of homebased business associations, one glaring question remains unanswered: Why is there no national organization representing the millions of homebased entrepreneurs doing business in the United States?
As with any complex issue, there's no simple answer. Perhaps the tendency of homebased entrepreneurs to be fiercely independent and exceptionally busy makes building a national organization especially challenging.
Another factor is that, unlike in organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers, no one profession unites homebased entrepreneurs. While manufacturers are manufacturers no matter where they are, homebased entrepreneurs are manufacturers, accountants, desktop publishers, software developers, and so on.
Consequently, if a national group were formed, what issues would it address? Are there concerns that cut across industry and geographic boundaries?
Of course there are. Zoning, security, independent contractor status, the right to privacy and tax laws impacting home office deductions are all issues that affect homebased business owners. And let's not forget the ongoing need for homebased businesses to promote a professional image.
But who would lead the group, and how should it be structured? One option would be to have an umbrella council with state representatives from industries with large numbers of homebased businesses. The council would serve as an advocacy body that promotes the interests of homebased entrepreneurs from the halls of Congress to Main Street, USA. It would be the organization people would turn to for demographic information, best practices and more.
Sound grandiose? You bet. But that doesn't mean it's not achievable. There are ample incentives for a national body to jell into a cohesive unit dedicated to obtaining the best for the millions who call their homes "the office."