How to start a business from home: 6 top tips to get started

According to The Home Business Guide by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, record numbers of people are starting a business and becoming their own boss, and over 60% of these businesses are started from home.

This is no surprise when the positives to a home-based business outweigh the negatives - no commute, flexibility around family life, and reduced overheads without commercial premises. If you have an idea and you're keen to start a business from home, below are six tips to help get you started:

​Write a business plan

You have your idea, you've done your research and you want to get started. Writing a brief business plan is important as it will act as your map, guiding your business from start to growth. The plan should include how you intend to get started, what your business objectives are, and how you aim to reach them. You'll also need to refer to resources and finance; what you have already, what you'll need and how you'll pay for it, whether that's with a loan, your own savings or a combination of the two.

​​Have a dedicated working office

​If you are serious about starting a home-based business, it is important that you have a dedicated private area such as an office to work from or at least somewhere where you can deal with your admin. Ensure it will be free of noise and distraction. You'll also need to consider space if the nature of your business requires meetings, advanced technology, and large equipment.

Deal with household and company admin

Upon starting your business from home, there are a number of people who you will need to information including your mortgage provider, insurance firm, and potentially the local authority if you need planning permission for any reason. You may also need a health and safety check if you plan on having customers visit your home, and it's wise to inform your neighbors too. You'll need to register your business with HMRC and Companies House.​

Establish professional business practices

If you're not employing an accountant to do it for you, set up a bookkeeping system to keep track of all your accounts, business expenses, and income. It may also be worth going on an HMRC workshop or registering for a webinar to get some free advice.​

​​​​Get technical

​​​​To operate properly, you're going to need to get fully equipped with a computer/laptop, working landline telephone, printer, external hard drive, and possibly a webcam for those virtual meetings. You'll also need a superfast broadband service to avoid downtime at those crucial moments.​

Consider marketing

A mix of offline and online marketing efforts is needed to get your business out there.
Join professional associations, hand out business cards, send out brochures to potential customers, and place adverts in local magazines and newspapers. It is also worth joining professional networking groups in your local area.

It's a great way to build your connections and spread the word about your business locally. Online, you should list your business on directories, set up accounts on social media, and start blogging about relevant topics. LinkedIn is another great network where you can share your knowledge and promote your business. 

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