You’ll always be met with a healthy dose of envy every time you tell someone you operate your business out of your home. While attractive from the outside looking in, it’s actually more complex than most people realise, with Netflix and pyjamas very rarely featuring in your day-to-day. If you’re on the precipice of starting your business, or wishing to scale your existing operation, here is what you need to consider before you open up shop at home.
Get your tech up and running
When we think of business, our thoughts wander to packaging options, postage, and where our helpers will sit and stand on the production line. Beyond the tangibles lies the real meat of the operation – the technology that makes all this possible. A reliable and intuitive POS system will do wonders for your workflow and will tighten up operations throughout. If you have a small team working with you on your home business, you may also benefit from communicating and delegating through some workflow platforms. You can also facilitate payments to your workers and suppliers through a range payroll and invoicing software solutions, saving you the headache of counterproductive spreadsheets and systems.
Keep everything above board
In all the excitement of building a dream into a business, you might scoot right past those legal requirements that ensure the safety of you and the public. Receiving the green light on commercial zoning should be one of the first steps in a chain of events that allows you to operate your business. Commercial zoning will give you the facts on what you can achieve within your home business, and what your opportunities and limitations are if you decide to grow further. If you use the right software, you can also get a greater lay of the land (literally) so that you can plan your growth around other developments in your immediate vicinity.
Work ‘on’ your business, rather than ‘in’ your business
If you were to ask every business owner if they had a robust business plan and strategy, you would find more guilty parties than not. Operational issues and opportunities also seem to get in the way of the ‘bigger picture’ thinking, which is a glaring irony that you need to face. Failure to spend time building and thinking deeply about your brand could place you years behind your goals. Carve out time in your schedule to brainstorm, dream and capture your plans on paper so that you are accountable to your mission even when times are turbulent. When you’re operating your business from home, this becomes even more critical as the lines tend to blur and it’s too easy to get stuck in producing mode over planning mode.
Continue to assess the feasibility
There is a multitude of reasons why some business types cannot solely operate from home. That might not be your business now, but it’s important to continually assess the feasibility of your business at home and act accordingly. Decide what would need to happen for you to realise you have outgrown your home, and consider a hypothetical plan if this were to happen. A growing family or a new rental lease could prompt a shift in your business operation, so make sure you are not caught off guard if this were to happen.
There are many considerations to ponder when operating a business out of your home, each of which will highlight opportunities and threats at different points of business maturity. Ensuring your technology and legal compliance first will save potential hurt later down the track, and will govern how large you can grow and what sort of planning you should expect when this occurs.