For many new businesses, starting as a home based business may seem the perfect way to explore the market, without having to make any long-term commitments in terms of purchasing premises or committing to long-term contracts.
In practice, home based business are often developed alongside part or full time working hours as a way of testing the viability of the business venture, before finally giving up a regular income. For this reason, home based businesses tend to be smaller or new businesses with very few additional employees.
Clearly, one of the major advantages of running a home based business is that there is no need to find alternative premises or to enter into lengthy tenancies from which it may be difficult to extricate oneself should the business fail, or if the business grows quickly and is in need of additional space.
Another advantage is that there is much less time wasted commuting or travelling and you are readily available for deliveries or other business / domestic tasks. This is particularly useful for those who are juggling a busy personal and professional life and may find it difficult to be in two places at once!
One of the main disadvantages that those operating home based businesses state is that it becomes increasingly difficult to split work time from family time. The ‘office’ is part of your home and, as such, the business can spill over into what should be leisure time. This can be alleviated by ensuring that you have a completely separate work space that can be closed away when you are no longer working.
Some people may find that running a home business is a lonely experience, particularly if you are a sole trader. Ensure that you have regular meetings scheduled or that you make a point of maintaining a social calendar to alleviate any potential loneliness that you may feel. There are numerous networks available for those who run home based businesses and it is a great idea to join some of these, not simply to obtain additional advice, but also to allow you to communicate, and share experiences with others in a similar situation.
Another alternative for those wanting the flexibility of running a home based business, but without the intrusion into their personal life is to consider an office share or an office rental. There are plenty of companies now that offer ‘suites’ to new businesses whereby they are able to hire an office for a month at a time. This way, you will have the benefit of separation but with the advantage of a recognised address or location, while at the same time enjoying the company of other likeminded people.
Running a business from home is often seen as an excellent way to juggle a busy domestic and professional life;
In reality, it can actually be very difficult to maintain the necessary separation between home and business and can cause both aspects of your life to suffer;
Clear cost advantages exist for running a from-home business such as no long tenancy or additional rental;
Consider alternatives such as short-term office hire or becoming involved in an online network to ensure that you do not become isolated.