Starting a home-based business is increasingly common, and many people are eager to take advantage of the benefits that it can provide. From stay-at-home parents and college students to aspiring entrepreneurs and more, many people are deciding to take the leap and move forward with their at-home business plan. After all, being your own boss from home gives you the ability to be closer to your family, to potentially enjoy a higher level of income, to create a healthier work-life balance and to enjoy many other exceptional benefits.
Regardless of the type of at-home business that you plan to launch, you understandably know that you need to have a solid business plan, a reasonable startup budget and an excellent marketing plan to get started. However, there are other important steps that you need to take as well. These are some other essential steps that you should not overlook when preparing to launch your new business.
1. Assess Your Business Idea
While you may already have a good business concept, take a closer look at it to determine if it is a good fit for you. Do you have the skills or knowledge to be successful with your business concept? Can it reasonably be launched from home? After all, it is not reasonable to expect to host clients in your home regularly. Another important factor relates to profitability. Is there a demand for your products or services? How much can you realistically charge, and is this enough to turn a reasonably profit? As you can see, not every seemingly great business idea is actually worth pursuing through a home-based business.
2. Explore the Legal Aspects
There are many legal aspects associated with starting and running a business. For example, you need to determine the business entity type, such as a partnership or corporation. There are different legal and financial ramifications for each business type, so consult with an accountant and attorney before finalizing your decision.
You also need to be aware of licensing and insurance requirements. Explore if your business complies with local zoning and if your HOA permits a home-based business. Be aware of patent and copyright laws, and seek protection in these areas if needed. Another aspect to consider is taxation. Home-based businesses are often audited more frequently than other types of businesses, so work with an accountant to ensure that your taxes are prepared properly.
3. Create a Dedicated Workspace
When you launch a business from home, you may be inclined to save money required to outfit a home office and to simply set up camp at the dining room table or on the couch. However, a dedicated work space can keep you more organized and less distracted. It can also create a necessary division between home and business activities.
After you have confirmed that your neighborhood permits the type of activity that you plan to do, choose an area of your home that is suitable for carving out an office space. Pay attention to the need to have a professional space close to the front of the home to consult with clients, if you need storage space for inventory and more. Any workspace should have suitable organizational and storage features, adequate for productivity and comfortable yet functional furnishings.
4. Focus on Security
Security is a hot button for many businesses, and your home-based business is not immune to security issues. For starters, update your property insurance coverage to include benefits related to your business-use of the home. Invest in a post office box rental to keep your home address private from customers and vendors. The last thing that you want is to have a disgruntled customer knocking on your front door.
Your physical location also needs to be secured. This should be accomplished by investing in a security system with surveillance cameras and remote viewing. An intercom system for the front door, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are also essential. Cyber threats are another concern for any type of business. Take every step possible to protect yourself online. This includes creating strong passwords, protecting your system behind a firewall and keeping your antivirus software updated. Using cloud-based storage may also be wise for some home-based businesses.
5. Understand Your Technological Options
Home-based business owners are at an advantage today in comparison to predecessors from decades ago. There are now more technological tools and resources available than ever before that can be used to improve efficiency and to level the playing field. For example, you can use VoIP technology to save money on voice communications and video conferencing. Social media marketing, financial management, group collaboration and more are all facilitated through technology.
Spend time researching the apps and resources available. You cannot feasibly use all technological tools on the market, so try out a couple at a time to determine which options are a good fit for your needs.
While it may seem like launching a home-based business would be easier than launching a business outside the home, you can now see that there are many factors that must be planned for and addressed regardless of how and where you launch it. Many home-based entrepreneurs overlook these important steps, and their oversight may unfortunately lead to serious issues down the road. If you want to get your business launched the right way, focus your attention on each of these important factors so that your business is established on a firm foundation.