By Korie Cantor
Thanks to technological advances, small entrepreneurs and business owners are now able to work remotely every day. Gone are the days when newbie entrepreneurs had to buy/rent an office to conduct the daily business affairs. Today, they have the power to combine their professional and home lives by operating from home.
Working mothers, in particular, have benefitted greatly from this phenomenon as it enables them to balance their career as well as personal lives. However, there are certain factors to take into consideration to ensure that your home-based business operations sail smoothly. This post highlights a few such concerns.
1. Are You at the Right Place?
Your home may be an ideal place to live, but is it conducive to your new business? May be you need to make a few adjustments. Consider your current living space and evaluate it against your business model. Do you think your home would be a suitable place to hold business meetings with clients? Will they be able to find you easily? If they come over, will they get ample parking space?
Further, you also need to factor in the zoning and permit laws that apply to your location and check whether they prohibit certain businesses. If you find that things aren’t in your favor, consider moving to a home that suits your business and living needs first, and then start your business.
2. Equip Yourself
After you’ve got your home ready for conducting business, narrow your focus down to your actual work space. Start by allotting an appropriate area of your house to your venture and convert it into your office. If you cannot dedicate an entire room, divide up a larger room and transform a part of it into your office.
Equip your work area with the necessary supplies to make it easy for you to focus and conduct business activities. Whether it is the furniture or the stationery, examine all your needs and start saving for them beforehand.
When designing and equipping your office, consider branding your business simultaneously. Personal branding for your business from the very beginning can go a long way in marketing your venture in the long term.
3. Create a Schedule
The popular notion about starting a home-based business is that it brings flexibility as well as profitability. However, this may not necessarily be true. Having a realistic schedule can help you stay on top of things, though. A few things to consider when setting your schedule are as under:
- The number of hours per day you will spend on getting your business up and running
- Your current schedule, and if you need to tweak it
- The hours in which you perform your best, feel most focussed and efficient. This could be morning, noon, evening or night. Schedule your work during your most productive hours.
- The availability of your customers and key business partners
Once you’ve made a schedule that works for you, stick to it. Tell your family and friends about it. Knowing about your working hours, even when you’re not home, will be helpful to you as well as to them.
4. Know about the Applicable Taxes
Running a business from home has its own advantages. One of them is the tax benefits. It is best to familiarize yourself with the local tax laws applicable to your business in advance, otherwise several penalties would be awaiting you.
To avoid trouble, consider investing in tax software from the very beginning to keep your books clean. Alternatively, you can hire a tax consultant/accountant. Make sure that your business operations are in compliance with IRS regulations, and you will not only keep your business protected, but also improve your credit score.
5. Know about the Applicable Laws
Starting a business comes with the fulfillment of several obligations and legal formalities. Be sure to familiarize yourself with everything there is know about the laws associated with your business. This is particularly important for businesses that use contractors or hire employees. Even a tiny error in this regard can ruin your business.
Hiring an experienced lawyer with specialization in business law can help you tremendously. You’re going to need legal help at the time of deciding on the business structure (corporation, partnership, LLC, etc.), arranging the necessary paperwork for each employee, determining who qualifies as a contractor or employee, and providing the right input to move ahead in a lawful manner.
6. Don’t Forget to Network
When you work from home, you end up spending a tremendous amount of time by yourself. Psychologically speaking, this can have unfavorable emotional consequences, especially on entrepreneurs who’re used to socializing and interacting.
One of the best ways of avoiding such a situation is by identifying local professional organizations and becoming an active member. You will benefit greatly by attending their seminars, industry events and get-togethers as doing so will allow you know more about your craft, hobnob with other people in your field, and let others know about your brand. This may turn out to be exactly what you need to thrive.
7. Keep the Personal Separate
It is easier to draw a line between your professional and personal life when you operate from an actual office. Even if you think about work after leaving your office, you leave your work essentials behind, so you can’t get back to working. When you work from home, however, you can easily mix the two up.
Even if you have a set schedule in place, situations can spring up unexpectedly. This is where you need to learn to separate your personal life. Doing so is crucial for you as well as your family to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Managing a home-based business can be extremely exciting, but not necessarily easy. While it does give you the power to do two things at once, it can also leave you overwhelmed and distracted. The above tips should help you start off on the right note and take your business to great heights going forward. Do take them into account when starting your own home-based venture and make it a success.
Korie Cantor is a finance addict, who blogs on all things finance- investment, entrepreneurship, fundraising and basic principles of steady finance. She possesses a great sense of style, and loves to share her thoughts on fashion and latest trends on lifestyle blogs.