Running a business from home is an attractive option, particularly when you consider costs – it is much cheaper than renting an office or workspace. This applies whether you plan to run your business from home for the long term, or you want to keep costs low in the early stages of a business before you expand. Here are our tips for making your home-based business successful.
1. Check That You Can and Consider Regulations
Running a business from home is a popular choice for many people but there are some things you must check before you start. This includes checking the terms of your lease if you rent your home as it may not allow you to run a business. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to, but you will have to speak to your landlord to get agreement.
You also must check if there are legal implications. This will depend on the type of business you run and what you plan to do. A good example is childcare – if your business is in this sector there are significant regulations that apply. Another example is if you plan to make changes to your home so you can run your business – you might need planning approval to make those changes. In addition, legal implications (and tax implications) will apply if your business has employees who work in your home and/or customers that visit.
2. Understand the Tax Implications
Things like your rent, heating costs, electricity, and broadband costs are all acceptable expenses so you can include them on your tax return. However, they must be proportionate, i.e. you can only claim the portion of these expenses that relate to your business. It is best to seek the advice of an accountant to ensure you don’t claim too much (or too little).
3. Check Your Insurance
The first thing to check is your home insurance as it may not cover you if you run a business from home. You also need to consider business insurance policies. This includes public liability, professional indemnity, and employer’s liability insurance.
4. Plan Your Workspace Carefully
The workspace you create is essential to the successful running of your business. It needs to be distraction free, although that can be difficult in busy households. You also need to make sure it doesn’t encroach on your family life – either physically by taking up too much space, or by placing restrictions on how your family uses the house.
5. Learn How to Switch Off
One of the downsides of running a business from home is that you are always at work. This often makes it hard to switch off. You will have to develop skills that help with this such as finishing work at a reasonable time every day, not checking the emails on your phone during family time, and ensuring you take time off.
6. Manage Your Accounts Properly from the Start
You should always keep your business and personal finances separate, even when you run your business from home. You should, therefore, make sure you run the accounts side of your business correctly from the very beginning. An accountant can help you do this.
7. Work on Building Your Network
Working from home often means working alone. You need to have the right personality to do this but it is always important to work on building and nurturing your network of contacts. This will help you find new clients, new ideas, and new suppliers. Your network is also a source of support.
For more help and advice with running your home-based business please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.