More and more people are choosing to start a business from home, attracted not just by the idea of being their own boss but benefitting from a more flexible work/life balance too. If you’re interested in running a business from home, you’ll be pleased to hear that in most cases you can get set up and start making money pretty quickly. Read on to find out how to start an at home business.
What Can I Do?
There are almost endless home business opportunities to choose from. One of the most popular options right now is running an online store. Setting up an online store is relatively straightforward, requiring you to choose an ecommerce platform, design the store, add products, and integrate payment options and shipping tools. Most importantly, you’d then need to market the store. Other good ideas for starting an online business from home include teaching classes via video calls and selling digital products such as videos, eBooks, logos, animations and graphics. Always remember though that your website is your shop window for all your potential clients. Always make sure you have a great website design and this will have a huge impact.
Running a service-based business is worth considering if you have skills and experience in a specific field. Dog grooming, floristry and cake-making businesses are popular options for people wishing to work from home. When deciding what to do when starting a business from home, ask yourself firstly, what are you good at, and secondly can it generate an income? If the answer is yes, you have the beginnings of a home business plan.
What Does Running A Business Mean?
Running a business refers to the process of directing, overseeing and managing a company. In theory, anyone can run a business and be successful. It’s not necessary to have a degree, a large amount of cash saved up, or even previous experience in the business world. However, what you will need to succeed is a solid plan and the motivation to see it through. It’s easy to focus on the more exciting aspects of starting a business. However, in the early days, there are likely to be many tedious tasks to be completed, including lots of admin and accounting.
Starting Your Business From Home
If you want to know how to start a business at home, keep reading. The first thing you’ll need to do is set out your working from home idea. Once you know what your product or service will be, you’ll need to carry out detailed market research. Work out who your competition is and start learning about how they operate. Even though you’ll be competing for business, you may be able to learn from them, particularly if they are a home-based setup. They could be the potential to collaborate on joint projects or gain referrals.
As well as researching your competition, you should also learn about your target customers. Are they local or mainly online? Where are they most likely to see your advertising? Does your pricing work for them? Knowing and understanding customer needs is central to business success. You can use this knowledge to persuade new and existing customers that buying your products or services is in their best interests.
You’ll need to decide what hours you’ll work when running a business from home. For many people, flexibility is a big motivation for starting a home-based business. It allows you to be much more adaptable with your schedule, allowing you to work around other commitments such as your family. Of course, whilst you can set your own hours, it’s a good idea to stick to clear working hours. This will help you to maintain a healthy balance between your work and your personal life. If you’re not careful, these boundaries can become blurred when working from home.
Home Business Plan
Although it can be tempting to jump in head first when starting a business from home, it’s important to set out a plan. Drawing up a home business plan allows you to check that your idea makes sense; set out your marketing strategies; identify problems and how you will overcome them, and establish your objectives and the financial returns you expect. A business plan can help to keep you focused and on track to achieving your goals. It’s also essential if you think you might need to obtain funding for your business in the future.
Make Your Home Business-ready
If you’re not sure how to start a business from home, begin with your working environment. You need to make sure your home with business-ready before you begin trading. It’s unlikely your home will require significant structural changes, although it’s possible you’ll need planning permission. Planning permission will be necessary if your home isn’t being used primarily as a private residence or you have several customers coming in and out of it. If your business activities are likely to cause disturbance to your neighbours, for example, due to noise, cooking smells or parking problems, these are good indications that you’ll need to seek planning permission.
You’ll also need to consider your mortgage arrangements when finding out how to start a business at home. Whatever business you want to run, you’ll need to tell your lender. This is to make sure you’re not in breach of your mortgage terms. Since some residential mortgages ban you from running a business from home, it’s essential that you check and get permission to do so rather than risk the consequences.
Health and safety is another aspect to consider when running a business from home. If you’re starting an online business from your laptop, this isn’t so important. However, if customers will be coming to your home or you’ll be preparing food, you’ll need to make sure you’re adhering to the required health and safety regulations.
Home Business Insurance
Insurance for a home-based business is vital. There are various types of cover to look into when setting up a business at home. Some of them are essential whilst others aren’t necessary but can provide added security. Public liability insurance is required if people will be coming into your home. This insurance covers you if someone was to get injured or their property was damaged due to your business activities. Professional indemnity insurance is there to protect you should you make a mistake or provide poor services or advice whilst working with a client. Claims covered by PI cover include libel and defamation, errors, negligence, misrepresentation, omissions, breach of confidence, loss of money and loss of information.
Product liability insurance may be necessary if your business designs, sells or supplies products or goods. This cover protects you against claims for injury or property damage caused by these products or goods. Employers’ liability insurance will be required if you employ staff as part of your business. If an employee gets injured or becomes ill, or their personal property is damaged whilst working for your business, they may be able to claim compensation from you. This insurance is intended to cover this, as well as any legal costs that you could incur.
Register Your Home Business
Every new business in the UK is required to register with HMRC. If it will be a limited company, you must also inform Companies House. Sole traders can skip informing Companies House, as well as all the extra admin. You should also keep in mind that businesses with a turnover of more than £85,000 need to be VAT-registered for VAT. You may need to pay home business rates as well, although these will only be applicable if you’re working in a room that’s used solely for business purposes, for example, a massage therapy room or a workshop. If you’re working from your kitchen table, you won’t need to pay rates.
Marketing Your Home Business
Marketing your business is essential for its long-term success. Although it’s possible to do your own marketing, in most cases it’s best to seek expert help. There are many marketing companies that specialise in supporting small, home-based businesses, offering web design, SEO, PPC, branding and social media management services. Developing an effective marketing strategy can help you to drive your business forward and achieve your goals more quickly. There are many marketing firms out there, so take your time to choose one that’s reputable, reliable and has experience in working with businesses like yours.
Now that you know how to start a business from home, there’s no reason why you can’t get started with your venture and begin making your dreams a reality. The number of UK adults starting their own businesses hit record highs in 2022, with 13% opting to work for themselves – the highest percentage since the late 1990s.