This year might finally be the time to take the plunge. So many of us have the seed of an idea for a business yet hold off from following the dream. If you want to cast aside your doubts and go for it then beginning from your own four walls is an attractive option.
About 60 per cent of people starting a new business choose to do so from home, benefitting from the connections that modern technology gives us and the lack of overheads required in operating from home.
Plan, plan, plan
That seed of an idea needs to be fleshed out. That means thorough research to identify and understand your target market. A strong idea alone isn’t good enough – it needs to be an idea that will serve a base of customers.
Fine tune the idea for your product and service and then ensure you choose the right time to launch both in terms of the impact you are able to make on the market and for your own circumstances.
Make sure you are in the best financial shape to move forward and factor in a contingency fund in cash things take longer than you’d hope to get moving.
If you’re working from home, then you’ll need a dedicated space to operate from. Make sure this is fit for purpose. Sitting with your laptop on the sofa is fine when just checking your emails from home but when you’re setting up a business you need a proper space.
Invest in transforming a room into an office by using a home improvement loan from Avant Credit, for example. This will ensure you’re equipped to get your work done – and are also able to shut this away from the rest of your home life to avoid blurring the lines between the two. Talk to an accountant about the tax benefits and implications of investing in a home office.
That last point is important. While you can separate out the rooms in your house it is important to adopt the right mindset and separate your time and thoughts as well. Keep to a work schedule, put in as much – if not more – effort into your operation as you would if you were an employee and don’t see this as ‘time at home’. Make sure friends and family are aware of what you’re up to and support you.
Businesses and paperwork go hand in hand – accept it, sort it and move on. Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation and StartUp Britain explained to Start Up Donut that some home-based businesses may need a licence, depending on what they are, and significant changes to a property to turn it into a workplace may require planning permission. You should check these before you begin. All businesses should inform the taxman and register with Companies House and it’s probably a good idea to get business insurance too. Identify someone you trust who can help you with your accounts.
Why now? Well, as suggested earlier, an important factor is the technology that we can now call upon in the home. About 90 per cent of homes can now tap into superfast broadband – a figure that will rise to 95 per cent next year as the process rolls out – meaning that most people have a quick and reliable internet connection on which to base their business. Such connections support video calls, hosting of websites and most associated functions of a start-up home operation. In short, we have the technology to make home working much more possible.
New tax breaks
Some people looking to make money at home will benefit from a tax break announced by George Osborne in his 2016 budget.
The Chancellor offered two tax breaks of up to £1,000 each, one for ‘trading’ covering the selling of goods on sites such as eBay and another for ‘renting’ to cover those who make money from a spare room or a drive.
He told MPs that this was a ‘tax break for the digital age’. This might well be a boost for you when it comes to your home business or perhaps a sideline you are pursuing to help make money as you get off the ground.