There are always a few things to prepare for in advance of starting your home business. Even the best ideas can be doomed to failure without proper planning. If you’ve never been in a management position or run a home business, you may have little idea about where to start when preparing to launch your business.
Every home business is different and start-up factors will vary from business to business. However, some principles are fairly universal. Consider whether any of the following factors apply to you and your business.
Who will do the bookkeeping? This question applies to every business, regardless of nature. Accurate record keeping is important, and failing to do an adequate job of it may come back to haunt you at tax time. Knowing how to write a computer program or build a home from scratch does not mean that you know how to balance a ledger. If numbers frighten you then you should consider hiring a bookkeeper. Even if you can’t afford a full-time bookkeeper, there are many freelancers out there who will charge you a fair rate to do your books. If your business has a complex financial structure, a Certified Public Accountant may need to handle your financial affairs. If you plan to keep your own books, schedule a consultation with a CPA or experienced bookkeeper who can help you make sense of tax laws, give pointers on deductions, do accounts payable/receivable and prepare for a possible tax audit.
What municipal laws apply to my home business? Keep yourself on the good side of local officials. Find out if the type of home business that you plan to launch is in compliance with municipal regulations and zoning by-laws. Certain types of home businesses may not be allowed in your area of the city. Find out if you need to apply for a business license. In fact, even if a business license is not required in your case, it may help to obtain one anyway. This lends credibility to your home business in the eyes of your customers and may give you a competitive edge when trying to advance your reputation. A quick visit to your local municipal affairs office will probably answer all of the questions you may have about running a business out of your home.
What will the neighbors think? Maybe it never occurred to you that your neighbors might be affected by your home business. For example, if you plan to receive a lot of UPS deliveries to your front doorstep and you happen to live on a small cul-de-sac with limited parking, your neighbors may begin to resent the regular appearance of a big truck taking up precious space in front of their homes. If you anticipate having customers coming and going from your house throughout your workday, your neighbors may be similarly annoyed by this. Though it seems like a minor thing, getting support from your neighbors will go a long way in helping you launch and grow a successful business. Invite your neighbors over for coffee and share your home business plan with them. Be respectful of their concerns and be courteous with the noise and traffic that you generate in and around your home.
Will I be a power-hog? Home business owners don’t always realize how much electricity they will be using once they get their businesses going. While many home businesses do not generate a lot of extra power usage, some do. Those that require the use of multiple computers or other electronic devices or that constantly run appliances do send the power meter into orbit every month. If you think you’ll be using extra power, check with your local electric company to see if they have suggestions. Some electric companies actually flag homes that generate more than what is considered “normal” electrical power consumption and this may lead to an investigation by local authorities who want to make sure that nothing is amiss in your house. This can be disruptive to your business, cost you time and possibly even money. A phone call to your power supplier ahead of time may eliminate some future hassle.
These are only a few of the considerations you’ll want to perform before you launch your home business. The best opportunities will only be that much better when you take the time to plan ahead. And while it is difficult to foresee every possible problem, you’ll certainly boost your chances of success with some long-range planning.