All new businesses need to create dedicated space. Whether that’s a bricks and mortar business with a shop or office or a virtual business that will always be run from home.
Even for the former in the pre-start-up phase it is likely that you will start from home. Whichever it is, it is always worth keeping home sweet.
The Spare Bedroom
A significant number of businesses are run from home. For many the spare bedroom is the start from which some graduate to a smart dedicated ‘shed’. If your spare room becomes your office then ensure you do the following:
- Tell your insurance company so you don’t invalidate your home insurance. For a number of insurance companies if it is a start-up, there is limited or no stock, no business visitors and nothing hazardous, there is usually no change to your insurance. If you rent check your lease or rental agreement as most landlords don’t like businesses being run from their property.
- Makes sure it is an office/workshop not the spare room in which you perch and in which guests often stay. Why? Because you need to get a sense of separation between your business and home. More importantly so does your family!
- Lay it out as an office/workshop, which means redecorate. Go for light colours and put up a board on the wall on which to pin images of your business and personal goals and successes. Sitting in a ‘business space’ is proven to focus the mind on business.
The good news is on 15th August the Government announce its intentions to make home start-up easier including a new model tenancy agreement to reduce landlord concerns on residential tenancy, planning guidance that a change of use is not usually required and that most home-based businesses should not have to pay business rates.
The Address Issue
Many people have a concept of a ‘business address’ and dislike the perception of home-working as a stain on the brand they are trying to create. Here there are 3 options:
- Be creative on your address, but avoid being confusing eg Unit 3, Lydney Road will merely mean you never get anything by mail or courier unless you happen to live at number 3. However you need to recognise that at some point if you have business visitors, they will come to your home so no hiding then!
- Consider a virtual office such as Regus. Here you would get a physical address for your mail and can have your phone always answered. To get your mail, you will need to visit regularly.
- Consider a served office such as those of the University of Gloucestershire’s Enterprise Hub at Vantage Point. This give you access to offices shared with others starting new businesses, meeting rooms and a business address. If you outgrow the hub then it’s a simple step to another served office.
By all means start on the home computer, but soon a dedicated laptop will be necessary for most businesses. As your business grows so you will collect more valuable information some of which will be confidential and need to be secure. A budget laptop costs around £300, but can last 3 years so always go for the best you can afford.
With the spread of Fastershire and upgraded broadband, using the cloud is becoming more of a sensible solution for the Forest of Dean. If you get a gmail account and a google drive, you have the simplest way to back up your files so they are accessible across your multiple devices, anywhere you can connect to the web.
Remember that there are numerous technology tools, but all require time to reap the greatest rewards so make sure the ones you choose bring you real business benefits.
But more on that next time on Building Business Basics.
Tags: business start-up, Forest of Dean