Starting a home-based business


Most new businesses start from home. It’s a great way to keep overhead costs low, reduce travel expenses and blend family and work life.

However, you’ll want to take these steps to create a successful home-based operation:

– Separate your space. Working from the kitchen table is a mistake. No matter how small your home may be, carve out a workstation for your new business in a spare bedroom, basement or garage.

– Set office hours. It’s too easy to turn on the TV or throw in a load of laundry when you should be working on your business. Set office hours and schedule breaks for coffee, lunch and dinner. Communicate your office hours to family and friends who otherwise might think it’s okay to interrupt you.

– Investigate bylaws. With so many home-based businesses popping up, some municipalities have passed bylaws that may restrict your operations. These bylaws spring from concerns about mixing commercial and residential activity in suburban neighbourhoods, where things such as courier deliveries, customer parking and business signs were not intended. Check in with your local city hall.

– Go mobile. You likely won’t want to meet clients in your living room, so buy equipment you can take with you. PDAs with e-mail, notebook computers with wireless Internet and portable printers will enable you to work at a client’s location or conduct meetings within your favourite coffee shop.