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Home Base: The Ultimate Checklist for Starting a Business from Home

 

Since you’re the type of person who wants to start a home-based business, you clearly don’t have a lot of time to read articles about checklists. So let’s jump right in:

Business Address

There are countless reasons why you don’t want to use your home address as your business address. For one, you don’t want random strangers who might have a grudge against your company knowing where you live. Remember that it is not just you, but your entire family.

There is any number of new solutions to address this burgeoning need. iPostal1 online PO box service is just one example of this new set of solutions designed to provide a real address for home businesses. 

You can have all your business mail and packages sent to that address near you while maintaining secure remote access to your mail. Packages can be picked up or forwarded to your home if you prefer. There are also concierge services like fax and secure shredding. If you want to look like a real business to the outside world, it starts with getting a real business address.

An Idea That Practically Sells Itself

There is no such thing as an idea that sells itself. That’s why we need salespeople. But there are some ideas that are so obvious and appealing, that you don’t need a huge corporation backing it. Those are the ideas you want for your home business.

Dedicated Computing Hardware

This is one of the hardest things to get across to new entrepreneurs. Your personal computer and personal smartphone are lousy business tools. It is not because of the technology, but because of the inevitable mixing of business and personal.

Separate devices are a good idea if only for purposes of security and taxes. You have to learn to treat your home-business devices the same way corporations treat their business devices. 

While many have BYOD policies, they are backed up by top-level enterprise software and a dedicated IT department. Unless you have that, you should be using a dedicated computer and smartphone for business, and nothing else.

Dedicated Workspace

The kitchen table where your kids eat and play board games is no place for your business setup. You are dealing with paperwork that cannot be lost or damaged, and other sensitive information for and about clients.

To the extent that any of it lives on your desktop unsupervised, it has to be firewalled from facility activities and general chaos. You need a space where things are guaranteed to be exactly where you left them, and handled by no one else.

A Place to Meet Clients

It is fine to run the behind-the-scenes aspects of your business in your home. But you need a better place to meet clients in person. Again, it is unprofessional to mix business with family. 

You are much better off renting a conference room in a coworking environment. A local coffee shop will work, too. Make an arrangement with one of the local restaurants to use one of the tables for meeting clients on a regular basis. All of these ideas are better than using your home where your family should be firewalled from work.

A Security Plan

Security has been the underlying theme of all the other suggestions. The reason you want a separate business address is for security as much as professionalism. You need a dedicated space so that your work is more secure. You need a separate computer system largely for data security. 

The thing to remember is that no business is too small to be a target for data thieves. And good security is never by accident. Security has to be considered alongside every other consideration. 

Because a paperless society is a long way off, you still need a secure file cabinet and paper shredder. You need communications that are end-to-end encrypted. You need digital best practices that make malware unlikely and ransomware of no effect. You need a security plan, not a vague idea.

There are plenty of other things you need to make your home business a success. But you will get things off to a good start by securing a business address, a great idea, dedicated business hardware, A dedicated workspace, a place to meet clients, and a security plan.

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