Some Thoughts On Operating A Home Based Business
Although a home based business can have huge advantages, especially in respect of cost, convenience and flexibility, there are issues to be considered.
People think you are always available.
People will take advantage of your availability. This includes clients as well as friends and family members. This can be at any time, night or day, weekend or holidays. They just know you are at home.
- Have firm rules in place with family and friends. Make them realise that you are at work at certain times.
- Have different phone numbers for home and business. Have an answering machine on your business phone when you are not at work.
- Do not publicise your mobile phone number. This will be treated as though you are always available.
Remember you are in business
- Make your work environment professional in function as well as appearance. Just because it is home based, does not mean it has to look cheap.
- Have a business like area to meet clients free of normal household clutter, especially if there are children in the household.
- Ensure that you behave professional. Dress appropriate to the occasion. If you know clients are calling change into professional attire.
- Adopt a professional behaviour when dealing with banks, accountants, financial advisers and other professional support providers.
- Be professional to creditors. Have firm credit policies and procedures, including a policy when to resort to collection agencies if necessary. There is a danger that some clients may see you as a soft touch because you work from home. Provide clients with a copy of your Terms of Trade.
- If you want them to take you seriously, take yourself seriously and look and behave professionally.
Be aware that there are many temptations to waste your time, rather than selling it. Map out a time table for your work day. If you want to watch a daytime movie, schedule it.
Things to consider
- Separate business equipment from home equipment. Have different phone and fax numbers. Have a separate computer system. Separate your finances, including bank accounts, credit cards etc.
- Your household insurance may not cover your business activities. Household fire and theft may not cover loss or records, data bases and client lists etc.
- Ensure your insurance will cover you if a visiting client has a fall on your premises.
- Your household insurance may not cover many business activities, such as client’s goods that you are holding or repairing.
- Ensure that you have product liability insurance that covers your business activities.
- Private car insurance and registration may not cover your business activities.
- Residential homes are soft targets for break-ins. You may need to consider professional security systems.
Just because you are the only one who runs the business does not mean that you should do everything. Consider the cost effectiveness of using a book keeper, accountant, computer repairer or cleaner. This not only provides you with more time to sell, it provides you with a more professional approach and these items probably will get the attention that they deserve.
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