When it is practical, running a business from your home can provide a number of very material – as well as eco-friendly – advantages. This includes the fact you will not have to pay for additional premises, a non-existent commute, and easy access to all the amenities of your home. If you intend to run a business from your home, there are several steps you should take.
The Early Stages
Most businesses that operate from a person’s home will do so from the very beginning, though it is not unheard of for an existing business to be moved into someone’s home.
If you are setting up a new business, there are certain processes you need to go through. This involves getting in touch with HMRC and, if setting up a limited company, registering with Companies House. You may also have to get permission from your mortgage provider or landlord, and there could be implications for your home insurance if you want to ensure your business is covered (particularly if you are having visitors to your home in connection with your business).
It will also be necessary to make some decisions about the way your business will operate. For example, which pieces of equipment will you need, and which part of your home will they reside in? It is also necessary to consider issues such as whether you will need an accountant. The Guardian has a handy guide to some of these useful steps when getting your business ready to trade.
If your business is already underway, there are still certain things to consider. For example, are you aware of all the tax allowances to which you may be entitled? People who operate a business from their own home will usually be entitled to offset a portion of their household bills against tax, but this is an allowance that frequently gets overlooked because to many people it does not seem natural to see household costs as a business expense.
If your business has been operating from home for some time and is proving successful, you may think about making improvements to the business or expanding its operations. When this happens, you might need to think about whether your business could continue operating from home after such an expansion and, if not, whether it would ultimately be beneficial.
You may also have to think about how such an expansion will be financed, and this is one of the most common reasons to seek out a business loan. Quotes and general information about business loans can be obtained from the websites of most major business loan providers, such as Everline.com. You should bear in mind that information from loan providers will not always be impartial, but nonetheless there is a lot of useful information on these websites (Everline’s ‘business loan guide’ being an example of this). Obtaining quotes from providers, of course, is always helpful when considering business finance.
Work / life balance
Get your work / life balance correct. When working from home, it is easy to “dip in” and “dip out” of work no matter what the time of day. Stories of homeworkers not being able to sleep at 3am so getting up to work are not uncommon.
If you had a standalone office elsewhere, typically this wouldn’t happen. So, try and stick to set working hours; get a separate telephone line for business calls; and, if you and your spouse / live in partner run a business together, make it a rule not to talk about work outside your home office.
Finally, try not to let your neighbours / local parcel delivery man know that you work from home. You may be surprised how many people see this as an excuse to have parcels delivered to you / drop in for a chat!