Knowledgeable SCORE advisors offer free business advice and helpful how-to’s in order to help small businesses succeed in the Williamsburg community. Have a business question you’d like answered?
Home-based businesses have become a popular way to operate a small company; reducing expensive start-up costs, such as leasing space and utility deposits. Thousands of people are finding that working from a home office and earning an income, while having the flexibility to work when it is best for them, can be ideal. Here are some good points to review for people who already operate a business from home, as well as people thinking about starting a home-based business:
- Check with your local zoning office to determine local and state requirements for licensing and zoning regulations. Determine what will be required for your business and file the necessary forms.
- Rent a post office box and use that address on your promotional mail, stationary, etc; doing this will make it less obvious that you are working from home. The professional image you portray is very important to you and your clients.
- Have a separate phone line for business calls and use an answering machine for incoming calls when you are not in the “office”
- Carefully organize your work space to ensure you have sufficient space to meet your needs, away from the distractions of family life so you can maintain focus.
- Establish boundaries. This is space dedicated exclusively for your business, not a hobby room or family room. This is a key point for potential tax deductibility of the home office.
- Plan your meeting space. When scheduling appointments with clients, consider meeting at your client’s office or rent a conference room to maintain a professional image.
- Establish contacts, meet your competitors, and join associations pertinent to your business for networking. Ask your clients to recommend your services.
- Keep complete and detailed records for all business expenses. It is felt that the IRS tends to audit home-based businesses frequently. Consider the services of a book keeping firm or CPA, or investigate record keeping computer programs such as Quickbooks.
- Establish a separate savings account to provide a financial cushion for those times when your business could have to sustain a slump.
- Discipline yourself. You must be a self-starter with a strong work ethic and, be able to establish and follow a work routine, just as if you were working for any other business.
If you have questions about this or other business subjects Call SCORE (757-229-6511) or email, to arrange for a free and confidential appointment. The Williamsburg SCORE office is located in the Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance Building 321 N. Boundary St.