If you’re thinking about making your business home-based, you should be prepared for lots of differences from the traditional work place. You will want to make sure, first and foremost, that your business is a good fit for the home-business model. Ask yourself a couple of questions to get started.
Is My Business a Good Fit for Operating at Home?
Consider a few of the following:
- Are you just starting your business or are you considering taking a business you’ve owned for a while and turning it into a home-based business? While starting out of the home can be a great way for new business to get up and running, it may be more limiting to a business that has been operational for some time.
- How many employees do you currently have? How many do you expect to have in the near-future? Is this kind of growth important to you in your business model? Will your employees work from home or will some of them actually work out of your home office? How big is your space?
- Does it represent a significant amount of financial savings for you and your employees to get to work from home? Is it enough to offset the benefit of meeting up daily or weekly at an actual office? How about the personal and environmental benefit of not having a commute?
- How well-equipped are you for downsizing? In most cases, businesses that operate out of the home are fairly bare-bones, so are you prepared to significantly downsize and keep your operations as small as necessary?
Once you’ve decided that switching to the home-based platform is definitely right for you, there are a few things you should do to make sure you are getting started on the right foot.
Prepare Your Work Space
The first thing you will need to do when moving your office to a home-based platform is to make sure that you actually have enough space for your operations. Designate an area in your home to be your office space, preferably a space that is separate from your regular sleeping and living area. If you’re limited on space, consider turning an extra bedroom, the garage, the attic, or the basement into an office space.
Take the opportunity to have your space professionally cleaned. Be sure that you save the receipt so you can write this off as a business expense. Next, you should start collecting the items you will need to have a successful business. Check at thrift stores, yard sales, and ask around the neighborhood for miscellaneous items like a desk, desk chair, lamps, filing cabinets, etc. Again, save receipts for all of these expenses so you can claim them as tax write-offs.
Next, you will want to address the additional costs that your home-based business will add to your home budget. For example, you may find you need a more robust Internet service, or you may realize that you will need at least one dedicated business phone line. As you make these adjustments, consider adding in a VoIP small business phone line as this is a much cheaper option for a small business to get dedicated phone lines. If you also anticipate needing to send and receive faxes, you can also add in an e-faxing service that will allow you to send and receive faxes via email, thereby saving you from having to actually buy a fax machine with a dedicated phone line.
If you live on a fairly active street, you may want to consider adding a sign from eSigns to your home so that business visitors will know they’re at the right place. It may seem odd at first to add a sign to your home, but you will be glad you did as business out of your new location starts to pick up.
How Will You Handle Various Responsibilities?
When operating a small business, you will probably find that you need more jobs done than you are able to do alone. How will you handle these other tasks that you aren’t able to complete? For example, who will take care of the books? Who will develop and maintain your website? Who will handle your marketing? Depending on the nature of your business and skill set, you may be able to handle some of this yourself, but you may want to consider outsourcing or hiring part-time employees to help you with certain other responsibilities.
Once you feel like you’re ready to open your doors as a home-based business, remember to cut yourself some slack in your first months. It will take you some time to sort things out and figure out your new system, so don’t sweat it start enjoying the benefits of down-sizing and being able to work from home.