Many people would consider running their business from home somewhat of a dream but running a successful business from home is not without its difficulties and there are some surprising legal hoops that you’ll need to jump through. So if you’re considering starting your business and are planning on making your home your new office then here are 10 tips for running a successful business from home.
- Check your home insurance
If you’re running a business from home then you will need to check your home insurance, this will most likely involve you needing to take out additional cover for any business activity conducted within your home. Purchasing additional cover isn’t usually too much of an expense and there are policies out there that cover both domestic and business use. Shop around for the best deal and remember your current provider may not always be the best deal.
- Consider taking out public liability insurance
“Public liability insurance provides cover against claims made by members of the public who have suffered injury or damage to property in connection with the business.” – Direct Line. If your business requires clients to enter your home then you may want to consider taking out public liability insurance to cover you against any compensation claims they may make. A compensation claim can be made by someone simply tripping on some loose carpet and so having public liability insurance in place an protect you against some serious financial implications.
- Have a virtual business address
Depending on the nature of your business it may be worthwhile having a virtual address and by choosing a reliable mail forwarding service you can operate under a prestigious address, such as one in Central London and then have your mail and parcels sent onto your home address. By using a known trustworthy address on your website and correspondence you can give the illusion that your business is bigger than it may actually be which can help impress prospective clients and get you off the ground until you can afford office space yourself.
- Separate home from work
Some people find it easy to switch from work to home mode, but for most of us, we need to operate in separate zones in order to maximise productivity. If possible, set up a home office and keep this free from distraction and exclusively for work activities to help maximise your productivity. Another way to keep work and home separate is to set yourself working hours, this will help focus on work when you need to and then switch off when the working day is over. If you do need to balance work and life throughout the day then write yourself a structured to-do list with allocated time for work and home activities and stick to it!
- Don’t let loneliness creep in
For those who work in a busy office, the prospect of a quiet day working from home may sound like bliss, but if you’re working in isolation, day in and day out, it can get lonely and loneliness can lead to other mental health issues. Try to speak to clients over the phone rather than simply by email, get out of the house and work from a local cafe or co-working space a couple of times a week or visit trade shows and exhibitions to network with other people in your industry.
- Have a morning routine
It can be tempting to work from home sitting in your pyjamas and this doesn’t hurt every now and then but to maximise your productivity its worth trying to maintain some sort of morning routine which includes getting up and dressed for work, eating a proper breakfast and then sitting down to work at the same time each day. Your commute may now be significantly shorter but going through the process of getting ready for work helps to set your mind up for the day ahead and will make you more productive. Similarly, don’t neglect to take breaks throughout the day and to eat a proper lunch not hunched over your desk.
- Stay organised
Running a small business from home may involve storing physical stock or organising folders of paperwork. If you don’t keep these aspects of your business properly organised it can cost you a lot of time and effort later down the line. Try to stay on top of your business administration and keep things nice and tidy. If you have to store stock at home then take a regular stock take and keep track of what’s going in and out. A lot of paperwork is conducted online so try to keep digital records to save on space.
- Invest in a good internet connection
There aren’t many aspects of business these days that aren’t conducted, in one way or another, online, and so it’s worth investing in a solid internet connection. From maintaining your business website to customer acquisition, answering client questions or simply processing payments, your internet has the power to paralyze your business. Also, be sure to invest in reliable technology, if your business is largely conducted from a laptop then its worth investing in a good one.
- Get an accountant
As a small business, an accountant may seem like an expense you can’t afford to make, however, a competent accountant could save you some serious money by helping you offset some of your living costs as a result of conducting your business from home. In addition to helping you manage your expenses, hiring an accountant will help to take the stress away from your tax returns leaving you more time to focus on generating business and not organising your receipts.
- Be patient
Rome wasn’t built in a day and a successful home business won’t be born overnight. Persistence will pay off in the end if you do all the right things, so stay consistent and focus on your goals. Did you know that it takes most startups 3-5 years to start turning a profit? So if the numbers don’t match up in the early years this is completely normal.