I. Setting Up a Home Office
Starting a home-based business can be a great way to become an entrepreneur but it is also a risky venture if you do it wrong.
If you are one of the many entrepreneurs working at home or are considering starting a home business, you will likely find our advice for home-based entrepreneurs below useful:
- Separate your home office from the rest of the house as much as possible. You don’t want a visitor to your home office to be able to see the dirty dishes in your kitchen sink. Having a separate door to your home office is a good idea as it creates a clear line of separation between your home and your home business. It’s also a good idea to engage a cleaning service for your home business. You’ll be more productive in a clean office and you’ll be ready should any customers need to visit your home office on short notice.
- Having employees in a home business is a tricky matter. If you will have workers in your home, make sure you have the necessary insurance coverage and workers’ compensation coverage. It’s a good idea to screen prospective employees carefully. After all, you are letting them into your home. You should also make sure that they will be comfortable working in a home office – it’s not for everybody.
- Relationships with your neighbors can become a tricky issue. They may object to the frequent visitors to your home business. It’s a good idea to proactively work to create good relationships with your neighbors so you have some relationship capital to draw on if something ever goes wrong. You should also educate your visitors to respect your neighbors – for example, parking in the neighbor’s driveway, even if just for a few minutes, is a no-no.
- Invest in a good phone system. Most home business transact 90% or more of their business by phone. It’s worthwhile to spend a little extra money on a professional office phone system to get that extra edge.
- Consider using local coffee shops for business meetings. Some home businesses are not set up for visitors. So, when you need to have a business meeting, why not take advantage of the ambience of your local Starbucks? These days, they all have fast connections to the Internet, so you can even be online during your meeting in case you need to access some files or a demo online.
- The most important key to success for home businesses is discipline. If you co-mingle home and business at the same time, you’ll never make any progress. When you are at work in your home business, don’t do anything but focus on your business. No wandering into the kitchen every five minutes for a snack. No TV shows on in the background. No kids to watch. Just focus on your business.
II. Running a Home-Based Small Business
Running a home-based small business is one of the best ways to get started in business. With home-based businesses, you can get started quickly and keep your expenses low. Plus, you’ve got a short commute! If you’re interested in starting a home-based business, this article is right for you.
The idea of running a business from the comfort of home is appealing to many would-be business owners.
Clearly, working from home does have its perks. But it also has its pitfalls. To be a success, consider abiding by a few basic guidelines for your home-based business venture.
Develop a transition plan – Home-based business owners sometimes run into problems because they failed to follow a transition plan. As you might imagine, home-based businesses don’t succeed overnight. It takes planning and hard work to grow a business to a level that will allow you to quit your day job. Before you polish off your resignation letter, create a transition plan with goals that will help you chart your progress.
Stick to a schedule - Once you have made the leap to a full-time, home-based business venture, it’s a good idea to establish a work schedule and stick to it. This is especially true if you are a first-time business owner. When you were an employee, someone else dictated your working hours. Now that responsible will fall to you. Your schedule is a constant reminder that you are supposed to be working, even though you are doing it in the familiarity of your home environment.
Set aside a dedicated workspace – Another way to stay on-focus in a home-based business is to establish a dedicated workspace within your home. Depending on the type of business you own, this can be as small as a room or as big as your garage. The important thing is that you have a interruption-free place that is dedicated entirely to your work.
Be professional – Working from home is not an excuse to behave unprofessionally. Some people like the idea of working from home because they can work in their pajamas. However, too often working in your pajamas is an excuse to stay in bed. By maintaining a professional standard, you are setting the bar a little higher for yourself and for your business.
Avoid distractions - Perhaps the biggest pitfall of a home-based business is the temptation to give in to the distractions of family life. Television, pets, even family members can all distract you from the task at hand. If distractions are becoming a problem for you, keep a record of how you are spending your time and make adjustments as needed.
Get connected – High-speed internet access is a necessity for every home-based business. In many ways, it will be your business’ lifeline to the outside world. In addition to providing you with a limitless source of information, high speed internet access will also provide a virtual office for clients and vendors to communicate with your business.
Get out of the house – Every now and then it is important to get out of the house. To avoid going stir crazy, take an afternoon off once in awhile to catch a movie or go to the coffee shop – whatever it takes to achieve a little change of scenery.