Whether you’re still working another job or don’t have the funds to get your own space yet, running a business from home is a great option for most startups and SMB’s to get their business off the ground.
By staying at home, you have the ultimate flexibility in where and how you work, while keeping your overheads low while you build up your customer base and profits. If you have the space for it, it’s a win-win situation.
So if you’re currently running your business from home, or are after tips on how to make it work, we’ve got all the information you need in this guide. So, buckle in and find out how we can help your business succeed without ever leaving your front door.
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Do you need permission for running a business from home?
If you want to run a business from home, generally speaking, there’s no one stopping you. However, there are a few situations where you may need permission before you get going.
This mostly depends on the type of home that you have (if you’re renting, you may need permission from your landlord) and the type of business that you’re running.
If you’re going to have customers come into your home, for example, if you’re running a beauty business, then you may need to apply for a license from your local council. Similarly, if you’re planning to make structural changes to your home or add an extension to run your business, you may also need planning permission from the local planning office.
Do you need insurance running a business from home?
It’s only a legal obligation to have business insurance if your business enters into contracts that require it, such as public liability insurance or cyber and data insurance.
You can find out more about business insurance you may need as a sole trader here.
However, we’d recommend that you’ll always get insurance if you’re running a business from home. Insurance protects you in case the worse should happen, gives you that peace of mind and can also help you win client contracts.
And if you’re running a business from home, it’s worth remembering that your normal home and contents insurance won’t cover any business losses. So you’ll need to add your business to your current policy or take out new insurance that provides the right level of cover for you.
There are many different types of insurance, but you might be interested in taking out:
Public liability insurance
It covers any claims against your business if it causes an injury or property damage. This is especially useful for those that work in trade.
Personal indemnity insurance
This one covers you in the event that your advice or service fails to work for a client.
Personal accident insurance
It protects your income in case you have an accident that prevents you from working.
Building and contents insurance
It protects your home and equipment from damage or theft. Remember, ordinary residential home and contents insurance won’t cover your business – you’ll need to change or take out a new policy to help cover you while running a business from home.
Tool and equipment cover
This one specifically protects the equipment and tools that you need to do your job. This can be anything from a computer to automatic drills.
It’s worth noting that if you do any driving or travelling for your business, you’ll also need to make sure your car insurance covers business use as well as domestic travel.
Can I register my business using a home address?
In order to form your business and register as a limited company or LLP, you need a business address.
This address is where all your official communication will be sent and must be a physical location in the country that you’re registered in. For example, if you register in England, you need an English address. If you register in Scotland, you’ll need a Scottish address. You can find out more about business addresses here.
As well as sending you communication, this address will also be publicly available on the Companie’s House online register – which may cause some problems when running a business from home.
If you don’t want to use this address, there are alternatives. If you employ other people, you can use the address of the person who managed your Corporation Tax (with permission, of course!).
However, the best and possibly the easiest solution to use is a company formation agent, who will provide an address for you to use and scan, forward and email all communication to you. Find the best company formation agents using our reviews, or get started with our top pick 1st Formations.
1st Formations offer a range of address services as part of an easy formation package, or as stand-alone services depending on your needs. You can read our full review of 1st Formation’s services here.
Top tips for running a business from home
Ready to make the most of running your business from the comfort of your own home? Follow these tips to turn your idea into a well-oiled machine.
1. Create a dedicated working space
Running your business from home can have a lot of benefits. There’s no commute, awkward office friends or reason to dress up. If you want to complete your working day in a comfy dressing down and slippers, there’s no one stopping you.
However, most mistakes from working from home come when there’s not a clear division between your work life and your home life. If you want to make running your business from home a success, you should consider building a dedicated workspace that you physically use to run your business. Then, at the end of the day, you can leave this space and go back into the ‘home’ part of your life to relax.
This will help with your concentration and create a more healthy and balanced work/home life.
2. Think about coworking spaces
If you’re not ready to rent out or buy an office, but can’t concentrate at home, there is a halfway solution that you can take advantage of – coworking spaces.
Coworking spaces are flexible shared offices that people can come to work in, no matter what type of business that they work for. No one business owns the space – it’s a shared community that you can come and use at the times that suit you.
Coworking spaces are a lot cheaper than buying your own office, as you only pay a small rented fee or membership to come and go as you please. All bills, including power and wifi, are taken care of.
But more than that, coworking spaces also provide a great opportunity to connect with other business people and form connections that you just can’t get at home. They also might have more equipment than you have access to at home, including printers, scanners and more.
A lot of coworking spaces also have their own relaxed areas or meeting rooms, so if you want to meet a client you can also take advantage of this space rather than try and squeeze them onto your kitchen table.
Find out more benefits of coworking spaces and if they’re a match for you here.
3. Dream big, plan small
We know you have big plans and ideas for your business. But one of the common reasons why 60% of new businesses fail in the UK is that they try and achieve too much at once and don’t plan the small steps.
This is especially true for those that are starting a business while still employed.
No matter how many all-nighters you pull, you’ll burn out quickly without a proper plan. Rather than concentrate on those big milestones, break everything down into small, achievable steps towards your main goal. This will help keep you on track, as well as give you the motivation, drive and commitment to get your long term goals.
Looking for more advice on business planning? Discover our step-by-step guide on how to write your business plan here.
4. Keep costs low
One of the biggest benefits of running a business from home is that you can keep your overheads relatively low. There’s no extra office space to rent or extra utilities to pay.
For some people, the temptation might be to then go crazy on expensive equipment or fancy decorations for your space. And while it might be beneficial to have a nice space, it’s not ideal to go cash crazy.
Instead, keep your costs low and invest in the essentials rather than lavish toys. There’ll be plenty of time for treating yourself later, but right now your business is the number one priority.
5. Don’t neglect your marketing
Marketing is how businesses get noticed and what makes customers buy from them. Running a business without marketing is like owning a shop, but barring all the doors so people can’t enter.
If you’re running your business from home, then there’s not much networking opportunity that you’re getting to grow. That makes your marketing even more important than ever. But when you’re busy focusing on the daily ins-outs and goals of your business, marketing can fall under the radar.
But before you panic, marketing doesn’t need to be a hard, full-time job. There are many low-cost or free tactics that you can take advantage of to promote your company. And at Business4Beginners, we’re here to tell you all about them with the hottest advice so you can start using them to your advantage. This includes:
- Creating a great website with these 17 design tips;
- Building email lists and increasing sales through these 11 small business email tips;
- Driving a profit through these 7 PPC tactics;
- Making your website rank higher on search engines with these 7 affordable SEO tips;
- Getting your business noticed online through social media marketing.
And much more. Whatever you need, the Business4Beginners team has you covered.
6. Keep going
Running a business is hard work. But running a business from home requires that extra dedication, concentration and determination to get things off the ground.
Whatever you do, be proud of all that you’ve achieved so far and keep treading the same path. This hard work will pay off.
Need more help running your business?
We’re here for you at Business4Beginners with the latest news, tips, advice and ideas to get your business off the ground and flourishing.
- Accounting software, formation agency and website builder reviews to get a winning toolkit;
- Legal advice and guides to keep your business above board;
- Online business, marketing strategies and tips to get your business noticed;
- Inspiration and ideas to ignite that creative spark and take your business to the next level.
And much more. Until next time.
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