CEO OF SIMPLY BUSINESS
Running a business from home can be a great way to start building your empire – but it comes with its own set of unique challenges. At Simply Business we specialise in helping sole traders and microbusinesses, which form the backbone of the UK economy. I want to make sure that you get the best possible start, so here I’m pleased to set out some of the key factors you need to consider.
Many people start a business from home because they either can’t immediately afford or don’t need an office space. There are some clear advantages here, but you still need to make sure that you have the space you need. I know all too well that avoiding distractions is a big part of running a business.
A single email can throw you off track, so imagine how hard it is having all the distractions of the home at your fingertips. If possible, try to dedicate a room to your work. This will help to separate you those distractions, even if they’re as simple as the kettle or the toaster.
Even if you don’t have your own office, insurance should still be a key concern. I know it’s not the most romantic part of running a business, but it really is crucial. If you employ people, even on a part-time or casual basis, you’re legally obliged to take out employers’ liability insurance. Even if you work on your own, your insurance cover will provide peace of mind, letting you get on with running the business. A policy will be tailored to your needs, protecting you against compensation claims, theft, accidents, and many other risks. It’s also particularly important if you keep stock in your home, as this will be one of your key assets.
Cashflow is king for businesses of every size, but it’s particularly important when you’re starting out. You’ll need an accurate way of recording and predicting it. Cashflow forecasts should factor in your business plan, but you should also make sure that you keep on top of it as your business grows.
There’s a range of software available to help you do this. However, it’s crucial that you remember the human element of this – in order to know how your business is performing, you need to keep on top of invoicing and receipt management on a day-to-day basis.
You can’t hope for your business to succeed unless you are making a great offer to your prospective customers. There is a range of simple but effective marketing tools that you can use to boost sales, including building a website, using social media, direct mail, local newspaper adverts, trade press listings, and more.
Finally, as a new business owner working from home, it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself, especially when money is tight. However, it’s vital that you learn when DIY is best, and when to delegate.
By contracting with other businesses or freelancers, you can entrust some of the administrative side of your work to others, and free yourself up to get on with providing a great service. An accountant should be a key consideration for any small business, but you might also want to talk to marketing experts, designers, web developers, and more.