Today people love the idea that they can run their own business from home. But it was not too long ago that the idea was viewed with suspicion. People believed that a legitimate business could only operate from a commercial office space.
Technology has closed the gap between a commercial office and a home business office. There is nothing that you can’t do from a home office, and you can even run a microbusiness, one with five or less employees, from one.
So how do you set up a home business office that can provide the same quality of work as a commercial office? Think about your strategy and the equipment you will use to execute it.
Here is a basic 3-part strategy to keep you on the right track.
- Keep monthly expenses low.
While a home office does not require additional rent, you can save even more by using low cost resources to run it. For a business phone line, you can use Google Voice; for accounting software, Freshbooks; and for invoices, PayPal’s invoices.
- Delegate by outsourcing.
People can work on your projects without having to work in your office. There are many job sites—Elance, Guru, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and so on—where you can farm out the work to independent contractors. This frees you up to work on the business rather than in the business.
- Reinvest your money on marketing
Once you start making money, the best place to reinvest it is in marketing. The more clients or customers you bring in, the more money you can make. With outsourcers handling an increased influx of work, you really don’t have a capacity problem.
While most of the items on this checklist are obvious, there may be one or two that you have overlooked.
Let’s start with furniture, then take a look at technology.
You will need the following:
- File Cabinet
Try to focus on ergonomically correct furniture and the same color scheme for ambiance.
In addition, pay particular attention to lighting. Try to get as much natural light as possible and avoid fluorescent lighting as it has some negative health effects. Poor lighting will cause headaches, eye strain, and fatigue.
Beside the short equipment list, you may need a fire safe box and a paper shredder. These could be very useful.
- Computer system
A computer is essential for your business. You may need a desktop and a laptop. A desktop will allow you to comfortably spread everything around you—tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. A laptop can be used to watch a tutorial that you can follow along on your desktop. It will also allow you to take your files with you when you work out of the office. Another alternative is to use dual monitors.
- High-Speed Internet Access
It’s amazing how people managed to live with excruciatingly slow dial-up connections when the Internet was created. At the time, they didn’t know any better. Today, the Frontier internet service can give you fast, inexpensive Internet connectivity so you can start “experiencing the worldwide web to the fullest.”
Although you can always get a landline, you probably won’t need one. Internet-based telephony using VoIP technology as well as advances in mobile phones is making the idea of a landline obsolete.
Naturally, you will need a variety of software to run your business. If you like, you can use many cloud based services, to avoid the hassle of installation. Try Software as a Service (SaaS) if you need to rent highly sophisticated software for your business.
- Network Router
You will need a network router if you are using several computers and want to have a home business network. This way, you can work from any part of the house. For instance, you could use your desktop in your office while you use your laptop in your living room or bedroom.
- Surge Protector
It’s highly recommended that you use a surge protector to keep your computer equipment safe from fluctuations in electric current.
- A Multipurpose Machine
Even if you plan on running a paperless office, it’s useful to have the ability to print, scan, or fax documents.
- Backup Drive
There are multiple options available for backing up your data. One is to use online backup services to do it automatically. The other is to use an external drive or a personal server. Backing up your information will save your business data from being lost in the event of a computer failure.
- Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
If your electricity ever goes out, a UPS can allow your computer to run for a short time. This will give you enough time to save all your work and safely shut your computer down.
A Wonderful Way to Work
All things considered, setting up your home-based business is relatively simple and inexpensive, and it’s not uncommon to find some entrepreneurs, working either alone or with a small team, running a six figure business from home.