Top 100 U.S. Home-Based Businesses Revealed

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Second annual StartupNation Home-Based 100, sponsored by Microsoft Office Live Small Business and FedEx Office, ranks top performers among the 16.5 million home-based businesses. Recession Busters category reveals top strategies of successful home-based businesses.

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The 2008 ranking shows that the home-based business is more relevant than ever. The current recession has spurred a new wave of home-based businesses as a response to loss of jobs, the need for supplemental income, and the sheer passion for blazing your own trail and running your own show

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StartupNation and Microsoft Office Live Small Business today announced the winners of the second annual StartupNation Home-Based 100 ranking of the nation's top home-based businesses. Organized into 10 categories such as Most Innovative, Recession Busters and Boomers Back in Business, the Home-Based 100 celebrates the passionate and resourceful home-based entrepreneurs at the backbone of the U.S. economy. The full results of the Home-Based 100 ranking are available on StartupNation's Web site at http://www.startupnation.com/homebased100.

"The 2008 ranking shows that the home-based business is more relevant than ever. The current recession has spurred a new wave of home-based businesses as a response to loss of jobs, the need for supplemental income, and the sheer passion for blazing your own trail and running your own show," said Rich Sloan, co-founder of StartupNation.com and one of the country's leading small-business evangelists. "Home-based businesses are the biggest block of all businesses in existence, and we expect numbers to grow ever greater as extra bedrooms, kitchen tables, basements and garages become host to the innovative thinking and pursuit of success by millions of Americans."

According to the Small Business Administration, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner's home, and home-based businesses contribute more than $530 billion to the U.S. economy each year.

The StartupNation Home-Based 100, composed of 10 top-10 subcategories, presents a unique look at the nation's top home-based businesses. Category winners span a wide range of revenue levels, sectors, ages and other characteristics. Categories include the following:

  •     Best Financial Performers
  •     Wackiest
  •     Grungiest
  •     Most Glamorous
  •     Yummiest
  •     Greenest
  •     Boomers Back in Business
  •     Recession Busters
  •     Most Innovative
  •     Most Slacker Friendly

Judges for the Home-Based 100 ranking included Adam Lowry, co-founder of Method Products, Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks North America, John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, Mel Robbins, host of Make It Happen radio show, and Tory Johnson, founder of Women for Hire.

Many of the StartupNation Home-Based 100 submissions revealed that business owners are bucking the current economic downturn and finding business success in these tight times. Historically some of today's most well-known businesses started in a downturn, including Microsoft Corp. and General Electric Co.

Smart recession-busting businesses implemented common key strategies that helped them thrive this year. Winning strategies included the following:

  •     Developing a strong Web site and fully leveraging the Internet and search engine optimization tactics to drive Web traffic.
  •     Outsourcing to capable external contractors to enable home businesses to get the help they needed without the overhead of full-time staff.
  •     Identifying pain points in this difficult economy and expanding services to find new market opportunities in a downturn.
  •     Paying extreme attention to building strong customer relationships. Though it is obvious that customers are the lifeblood of a successful business, only those businesses that truly placed primary priority on customer satisfaction and cultivated loyalty thrived in the tough year gone by.

Home-Based 100 Winners Highlights

  •     Recession Busters. Recession? What recession?! Joseph Pickett is growing his business in this economy and is a standout winner of our Recession Busters category. His company, Expert Briefings, markets teleconferencing and webinar services to pharmaceutical and medical device professionals regulated by the FDA. He grew his business from sales of $25,000 in 2007 under previous ownership to $250,000 in 2008. The business is recession-proof because the pharmaceutical industry has a built-in budget for FDA regulatory processes. https://www.expertbriefings.com
  •     Boomers Back in Business. For boomer Stuart Grant, creating Thunder Eagle Creations is an extension of his heritage. As Lakota/Oglala Sioux, Grant and the artists he works with create handmade sterling silver jewelry that draws inspiration from petroglyphs and bring new life to this ancient medium. Grant brought new technology to his business as well by building a Web site powered by Microsoft Office Live Small Business. Through its Web site, Thunder Eagle Creations connects with customers around the world. http://stuartgrantjewelry.com/
  •     Yummiest. It just makes sense that the winner of the Yummiest category would involve junk food! What makes this unique company especially tasteful is that it is also wholesome. Laura's Wholesome Junk Food is sold nationwide and has fans around the world. Owner Dr. Laura Trice saw many illnesses that could have been prevented with healthier lifestyle choices and provides the wholesome snacks that make eating healthy a treat. http://www.lauraswholesomejunkfood.com
  •     Greenest. Robyn Crispe has wormed her way into the top 10 greenest. Her company, Nomad Needles, makes the Worm Inn, a composting system for people who live in urban areas. Concerned about her own volume of food waste, Crispe developed the Worm Inn indoor composting system. Crispe connects with customers worldwide, through her Web site powered by Microsoft Office Live Small Business, helping them reduce landfill waste. http://theworminn.com/default.aspx
  •     Most Glamorous. The desire for luxury fashions and glamour will always be strong. But for many, prices are out of reach, and who really wants to settle for a Canal Street knockoff? Shop Around Tours offers budding and even experienced fashionistas the opportunity to indulge their desire for luxury fashion at discount prices while touring the Mecca of exquisite design: Italy. http://www.shoparoundtours.com/home.php
  •     Wackiest. Mix Match Shoes was the first company to sell shoes one at a time rather than in pairs. This greatly benefits people who have two significantly different size feet, since they can buy just two shoes rather than two pairs. It also benefits amputees because they can buy a single shoe rather than a pair. This consumer niche now has a resource to save money and reduce waste (gone are the extra, throwaway shoes). http://www.mixmatchshoes.com

About StartupNation
StartupNation (http://www.startupnation.com) provides over 175,000 pages of business advice and networking for entrepreneurs and serves millions of entrepreneurs annually. StartupNation is a free service founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with the intention of providing a one-stop shop for entrepreneurial success, including blogs from a host of experts, podcasts, forums, webcasts, eBooks, award-winning step-by-step advice, and more.

About StartupNation's Founders -- The Sloan Brothers
StartupNation co-founders and "chief startupologists," Rich and Jeff Sloan, are two of the country's leading small business experts and run StartupNation from home to this very day. They speak frequently at entrepreneurial forums and act as sources for top media venues nationwide. They are authors of StartupNation: Open for Business, published by Doubleday, and provide their insights online at http://www.startupnation.com. The Sloans are regularly quoted and featured in media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News and many others.

About Microsoft Office Live Small Business
Microsoft Office Live Small Business is the award-winning service that offers a complete, affordable set of easy-to-use Internet-based tools that help small business owners get online, attract customers and manage their businesses. Office Live Small Business has more than 1 million customers in five countries: U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan. More information is available at http://www.smallbusiness.officelive.com.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

For more information, press only:

Jesse Schumacher, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide for Microsoft, (425) 638-7000, jschumacher(at)waggeneredstrom.com
Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide for Microsoft, (503) 443-7070, rrt(at)waggeneredstrom.com
Emily Borders, Borders + Gratehouse for StartupNation, (415) 963-4174, emily(at)bordersgratehouse.com

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

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Emily Borders
Borders + Gratehouse for StartupNation
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