Certainly, starting your business from your home makes sense in many cases. Depending on the type of business you will operate and your aspirations for expanding your business, you may move to an outside office at some point. But in the meantime, basing your business at home has significant benefits. Operational expenses are major considerations for a new business, and running a business from home is a low cost way to get going, and you can write off household expenses proportional to the percentage of your home space you use for your office. And think of the commute time you save, not to mention the savings on gasoline!
If you’re thinking of launching your business from home, ask yourself a few questions:
- Will customers/clients need to visit your office? And if so, does your home provide a suitably professional environment?
- Does your home include a space that is both large enough for your business and separate enough from the rest of your home?
- Are you able to focus on your work without being distracted by other things or people in your household?
If, after answering these questions, you’re still considering a home-based business, read the tips in TheStreet.com on Running a Company from Home. These tips include (with some comments from me):
- Structure is essential – I know some owners of home-based businesses who still “dress for work” when working at home. It helps provide the structure to stay focused on business during business hours.
- Create your own work zone – The farther away your home office is from the hub of activity in your home, the better. I’m lucky to have a small room at the very back of the house and fairly isolated from everything else. If you have children at home, choose a work zone with a door that you can close, and make it clear to the family that when the door is closed, you’re busy earning a living.
- Know when to leave the office – OK, I’m bad at this one. I leave the office for dinner, but find it too easy to drift back in later in the evening. If you need personal time, be disciplined about your business hours.
- Keep one calendar – It took me about three years to discover this one. If you need to split up your day between personal and business activities, it is absolutely essential that you have all your commitments on the same calendar to stay on track.
The list also includes “Get help when you need it.” Good advice, but this applies whether your business is home-based or not.
[Tip of the hat to Rich at Business Opportunities Weblog]