Starting your own business from home may seem impossible, but it’s surprisingly easy. There are many advantages to running your small business this way, especially if you work from home already or don’t have the money to lease commercial office space in the short term.
Here are some of the top ways you can run a small business from home and be successful at it.
Small Business Facts And Ideas
1. Get the right equipment.
If you’re running your business from home, there are some simple things you can do to set yourself up for success. For one, make sure you have an office area reserved for work and nothing else. Just because it’s your home doesn’t mean it’s not a professional space. Second, set your workplace up with all of the tools that you will need; if possible, invest in high-quality products because they will last longer and help you focus on work. Finally, organize any workspace or storage areas so that everything has its place; it might be tempting just to shove items anywhere they fit, but if they aren’t stored properly, then items can easily go missing, and it becomes difficult to find important documents when needed. When your office is organized, you’ll be able to get more done!
When deciding where to run your business from home, look at what resources are available in your community. Is there free wifi? Is there somewhere comfortable where you can meet clients, like a coffee shop or library? Are there meeting rooms available at low cost (or even free) at local businesses like banks or accounting firms? Be sure to ask around before deciding where to run your business. Consider what’s most convenient for clients since they may want easy access as well!
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2. Think about your internet needs
Running a small business from home means creating an internet-ready work environment. In some cases, you might even have to create an entire network. When trying to decide whether it’s possible for you to work from home and set up your own home office, ask yourself these questions: What will my monthly internet bill be? (In many cases, high-speed internet is included in your cable or phone package or only $10-$20 extra each month.) Do I have good enough wifi reception at home that won’t die when everyone comes back from school/work/the gym around 5 p.m.?
Can I replace my current telephone service with Skype and still use it for conference calls and my customer support team abroad? Will I need a printer, scanner, fax machine, and other equipment? Will I need someone to help me set everything up so that my connection isn’t interrupted when things go wrong? How much of my time will all of these things take away from running my business day-to-day? Once you’ve answered these questions and more, you’ll know whether it makes sense for you to start working from home. If so, great!
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3. Consider the security
Many businesses run from home, and while there are many benefits to doing so (not least of which is that it’s usually cheaper), running a business out of your house can also be fraught with complications. Before you pull up stakes and move operations into your basement, consider how you’ll handle security. A few options include: Having an alarm system installed and cameras or other security equipment, notifying your local law enforcement agency about your plans. Fencing off windows or otherwise making sure only employees can access work areas during work hours. Establishing separate phone lines for business calls and personal calls.
4. Don’t forget phone calls, voicemails, and mail.
If you run an online business, try to schedule customer service calls at a fixed time so that callers will be more likely to reach you. This also gives your customers something firm to look forward to and helps prevent calls from going into voicemail or spam mail. Communicate with customers about major changes: If any major changes are coming up in your business, such as closing for vacation or moving services to another location, make sure customers know about it via email. We can’t control everything our customers think, but we can at least make them feel like they’re being told what is happening in their world.
5. Have you thought about isolation?
Many small-business owners—and people who work from home—report that they struggle with isolation. It’s easy to get distracted by emails and online distractions, so having your own office can help increase your productivity. Working out of a coffee shop or coworking space can also keep you focused and energized, giving you access to other entrepreneurs. If you work from home, make sure to schedule time for yourself away from your desk, so you don’t burn out. Make a plan for how you’ll take breaks throughout your day and stick to it. If possible, try working outside in nature every once in a while; research shows that spending time in nature helps improve mood and creativity.
6. Are there local resources you need to know about?
While you may be able to run your business entirely from home, there are likely some services you’ll need. For example, if you have problems with your computer, you might have to spend time at a local repair shop. Similarly, if you have to work with clients in person (for example, if you do graphic design or direct sales), it’s important that your neighborhood has easy access to everything from good coffee shops to child care providers and other professionals who can help support your business as needed. Try looking for businesses in your area that could potentially be useful for your own small business before moving forward.
7. Know your tax obligations
Starting your own business at home can make it tempting to avoid paying certain taxes or not reporting certain income. Before you get into trouble with your tax obligations, know what you expect. You need to report all income, even if it comes from your house (no matter how much time you spend on-site versus off-site), and pay taxes accordingly. However, there are plenty of other tax issues to consider. For example, do you have employees working for you at home? Are they also running their small businesses from their homes? If so, then you may be subject to additional taxes. Consider consulting an accountant or tax professional before making decisions about your tax obligations.
Running a small business from home requires some commitment and some research. It may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly possible. Now that you have an idea of what it takes to run your own small business from home, you can decide whether or not to give it a try. Good luck!