So, you’ve decided that the 9 to 5 grind is not for you and you want to start a home based business. Well there are a few things you should consider before you begin and they are not all about the product your going to sell or the market you’re going to work in.
Many people starting a business from home start without a plan and are surprised to find that when their business begins to grow, they are working outside of the law and are not meeting statutory requirements.
Before beginning your business, start with a goal and a plan, lay a solid foundation, comply with local and international laws and keep good records.
Do You Need Council Approval?
Most people can work from home without the need to get approval from council or their landlord, especially if they are NOT going to be setting up a distribution and delivery center in their spare bedroom or garage.
If you’re going to be selling physical goods, council approval may be something you need to consider, especially if you are going to put a sign out the front of your home, are storing large quantities of goods or if you’re going to have delivery vans coming and going all the time.
Although it will not affect many home business owners, it is always wise to ask your local council if there are any permits or legal requirements that need to be acquired or met before beginning your home business. A quick phone call, could save you a lot of grief in the future.
Rental Agreement Restrictions
If you’re living in a rental property, you may have restrictions on what you can and cannot do in the home you’re renting. Rather than putting yourself in a position that could be in breech of your rental agreement, consider asking your landlord if it is OK to run the business you’re about to begin from home.
In many cases, especially if you’re selling goods and services online, but not shipping them from your home, you will find that there is no problem or even a need to ask for permission, but if your going to have people visiting your home to collect goods (customers or couriers) or if you’re going to be making noise or altering your landlord’s dwelling in any way, ask for permission.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a downloadable information package or shipping an elephant to a customer, the moment you begin selling something, you will be placing yourself in a position of risk and you can reduce that risk by making sure you have the most appropriate insurance in place.
Although your small home business may not need to cover all of these situation, this list will give you something to think about when attempting to reducing your risk of loss or being sued for negligence:
- Building & contents insurance
- Business interruption & loss of profits
- Goods in transit
- Employee dishonesty
- Personal accident & illness
- Product liability
- Professional indemnity
- Public liability
- Tax Audit
Some of these things may be covered in your existing home insurance policy, however it would be wise to check that your policy covers you now that you’re going to be doing business in the home. A quick phone call to an insurance specialist now could save you a lot of grief if you ever need to make a claim.
Separate Your Work Space From Your Home Life
I know it can be difficult to achieve this, but it is essential. You need a quiet place to work from and you need to keep your home life out of your office.
There was a time when I was working from my kitchen table, it made a good size desk and it was in an environment which was good for recording the learning videos I sell. That was until my children come home from school, the dishwasher was turned on or anyone of endless number of distractions got in my way, in this busy part of my home. In the end I had to relocate to a corner of my bedroom, but this wasn’t without it’s own temptations and distractions.
To make sure I was making the most efficient use of my working hours I had to remove the TV, close the door and isolate myself from the rest of the home. In the evening however, I had to make sure that having my office located in bedroom didn’t tempt me to work all night. I overcome this by turning off my screen at night and only using the PC for personal needs during the evening (unless I had arranged with my wife for me to be working late).
The idea of starting a business at home can be attractive, but if you fail to plan, you will be planning for failure, so please make sure you give consideration to all elements of running a business and how it will fit in with your home life and financial needs.
That’s all I have time for in this article, but I am looking forward to sharing more about running a business at home with you tomorrow.
Bye for now.
Home Business Learner