Seven tips for setting up a home based startup

If you’re starting a business from home, you can get set up fast with very few overheads as long as you get the basics right. Debbie Mann gives her top 7 tips for home based start-ups.

16th January 2009 at 9:13 am

The following advice is for startups like mine – run from home around your lifestyle however some points can be used by larger firms. Keeping things simple, make the most of local resources and keeping overheads low are all vital.

1. Once in business talk to everyone about your venture – this is the most simplistic way of networking and guaranteed you’ll find someone with a contact for new business or someone with an idea to help promote your business. Remember to to be passionate about your venture and speak with confidence – belief in what you do will come across.
2. Use on line stationary – Vistaprint offer some great deals for start up businesses which means you do not have to pay massive amounts of your start up funds to a designer and printer. Remember – whilst image and logo are important they can always be changed in the future when you have the capital available for investment. Don’t scrimp on the paper though and print your headed as you need it.
3. Website presence. This does not have to be expensive and remember if you need a number or want directions etc do you grab the yellow pages or a map or do you go on-line? There are many sites which allow you to list your details and company information on line and they do the work for you. I have found Freeindex the best for my business but there are many more including askyourneighbour.
4. Websites. Needn’t be expensive – just a front page with the main details of your business, what you do, how you do it and how it will benefit your clients is a good enough starting point. It does not have to have to be all singing and dancing with things moving across the page – content is the key.
5. Know your target market. Research isn’t the most fun of jobs but it is worthwhile. If you are not aiming your sales/services at the right market you will not suceed or if you do it will be by chance.
6. Use your local resources – you willl no doubt have a local enterprise centre sponsored by the Government to help start ups. They offer free/subsidised training courses, counselling, help with business plans etc If it’s free take it.
7.Keep it legal! Remember it will always come back to bite you – ignorance is no defence. You must register with HMRC and ensure you are paying your National Insurance even if you have PAYE employment as well. Self Assessment is great but if you can find a local accountant working from home with minimal overheads and is qualified they can not only be reasonable but save a lot of money as you may not be aware of eveything that can be offset against income. Insurance these days is paramount so get quotes from local firms for public liability/professional indemnity where applicable.

I have been trading for two years from my home. My clients generally feel I am able to provide a more personal and thorough service as a result of minimal overheads and distraction of a busy office.

Good luck to you in your venture

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Independent Property Inspections was set up two years ago from home to work around my family life with two children under 5. I have little overheads, work in my own time which in my mind costs nothing and thoroughly enjoy being my own boss with the ability to still provide a comprehensive service to Landlord, Tenants, Letting Agents and property management firms alike. The perfect balance!

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