One of the best things about starting a business in 2018 is the fact that all these technological innovations now make it possible to run a small- to medium-sized business as a home-based operation. Still, this requires a lot of organization, skill and adequate tools in order to work. As for the perks, they are more than obvious. For starters, you avoid having to lease an office and pay utility bills. Then, you aren’t restricted to the local workforce, seeing as how you can freely employ freelancers and remote workers. Finally, it gives you a much wider market to work with. So, with all these advantages in mind, here are several tips on how to successfully run your business from home.
Set work-life boundaries
First of all, every new entrepreneur knows just how hard it is to separate their personal life from their business. This causes your phone to ring while you are having a dinner with your family or you checking your email every minute when you are supposed to be spending time with your kids in the park. Unfortunately, once you start working from home, this line will get even blurrier and, for most people, this makes it impossible to tell the difference between work and their private life.
The best way to handle this is to treat your home office as if it were a regular office and set your work hours. Of course, the work-day of a business owner doesn’t end at the same time as those of their employees. However, you need to set aside some me-time. Keep in mind that maintaining these personal relationship plays a vital role to your mental health, which means that by neglecting it, you are putting your business at risk, as well. Simply introduce the rule not to check your mail after 7 PM (or something like that). This can often serve as a great start for reestablishing control.
Create an IT system
As a home-based business, your operations will heavily rely on technology. This is why you need to create an IT system that can bring it all together. For instance, communicating via Skype might be great, however, it could also be quite distracting seeing as how your team-members might also be using it for their personal contacts. Now, if Skype is bad for professional communication, the less we say about Facebook and Viber, the better. Therefore, you might want to pick an alternative conferencing and video call tool. Luckily, there are so many great alternatives out there for you to choose.
Apart from this, you also want to pick the right collaboration tool. For some of the most basic tasks, like file sharing, Dropbox can work just fine, however, in order to get your operations to the next level, you might need to look elsewhere for answers. The greatest advantage of these collaboration tools is that they make it easy to set deadlines, reassign tasks and access all files, comments and date changes if the need arises. Overall, before you even start bringing people in and establishing the infrastructure of your company, you need to make the right choice for your IT system.
Don’t be afraid to outsource
The next thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that while running a home-based business, there really isn’t any logic behind starting new departments. You see, most people see in-house departments as a direct opposition to outsourcing, with their greatest advantage being the fact that they are on-spot. Here, however, this wouldn’t be the case, which plays even more strongly in favor of outsourcing.
Not to mention that outsourcing your cyber-security, HR and storage are even more cost-effective in the short run. This is mostly because it wouldn’t require you to hire, train and equip your own team. Furthermore, the last-mentioned issue of storage gives you a greater opportunity for deal negotiation and customization. For instance, you wouldn’t be forced to share a warehouse with someone in a case where your space appetites aren’t that great.
Keep your books clean
Finally, keeping your books clean is important no matter what kind of a company you run. However, with a home-based enterprise, things might get a bit tricky. For instance, it might become quite hard to distinguish all tax deductibles your home is eligible for. Imagine a scenario where you have a room that you use for business exclusively. In a scenario where this room is 8 percent of your entire home, you might be able to apply for 8 percent of your utility bill as business expenses and make them deductible. Still, this differs from state to state, which is why you should probably consult a professional accountant beforehand.
At the end of the day, running a business, any business, is a difficult job. Now imagine how much harder is to do so without ever leaving your home. Sure, the benefits are great but so are the challenges. On the other hand, the recent statistics are talking about a massive boom in popularity of this trend, and even with all these difficulties, the majority of aspiring entrepreneur still finds the rewards worth all the hassle.