How to Set Up Your At-Home Business Office
Starting a new business is a big step for anyone, but with the new tools and features that you can access right from home, the upfront costs are significantly lower. This doesn’t mean that you can or should try to operate with what you have, but the fact that you can start without having to find and then pay for rent on an office or workshop can help out a lot during those crucial first months or even years.
It can take time for your business to kick off, so saving where you can is crucial. When you set up your office or workshop at home, you can save on rent and on the commute. What you should not try to save on, however, is function. Setting up your office or business needs to be a commitment so that you can offer your customers the highest level of service or product that you can.
This doesn’t mean going into debt to buy the best possible tools, but it does mean having a working solution for the time being.
To help you get started, use this guide:
How to Save When Buying Equipment, Materials, or Furniture
There are many ways to save. You can buy used or refurbished to save a lot off the top of electronics, furniture, and more. You can also rent. Renting is a great option if you need a certain piece of equipment but cannot afford it upfront, and buying used is either not possible or not advisable. Renting, on the other hand, can help give you the capabilities you need to operate your business without committing right away. You may only need an item for a short period of time.
In some cases, it may be cheaper to outsource than to make or do the action in question yourself. If you sew clothes, for example, you wouldn’t also want to make the clothing tags since this can be a very time-consuming, expensive venture that will always be cheaper to outsource.
Office Essentials Every Business Needs
There are a few essentials that every business needs to have in their office.
Comfortable Computer Setup
For the most part, every at-home business is also going to be an online business. If you sell products, you will either be using the Internet to sell directly to customers or, alternatively, you will use it to manage stockists and other suppliers.
No matter what, you cannot operate a business without a robust computer setup. Today this means the computer itself, which could be a unit you already have or even your laptop. You should also consider getting a second or even third monitor so that you can keep better track of everything and improve your workflow all at once.
Though the computer itself will depend on what you need it for (someone who is using it for simple bookkeeping will need a far less powerful computer than someone that does 3D design, for example), there are a few common tips that will improve your office.
The first is ergonomics. You need to be looking at the right angle to support your back and neck. You need to be sitting at the right height. You may want to consider the curved keyboards that support your wrists if you are going to be working for a long period of time at the desk.
You need to customize your setup to make it as comfortable as possible. Always focus on how the body needs to rest to minimize repetitive strain injury, neck pain, back pain, stress pain, and more.
You need your home office to be as organized as possible. A great way to do this is with label printers. Labels make it visually easy to see what is on every shelf, what is in which filing cabinet, and so on.
Staying organized isn’t just important to keep as little of your business from bleeding out into your home. It’s important so you can always find what you need when you need it. Get shelves, folders, labels, and boxes, and move and decide on a system and stick with it. If need be, you can even create a master document that explains where everything is (in particular, your stock) in case you ever bring someone in, from a family member to a new employee.
Your workshop needs to be organized. You also need the space to comfortably manage your stock if that is what your business is based around. While you can make due in the beginning, you should start looking into offsite storage options so that you can keep your workshop clear without stuffing the rest of your home to the brink.
If you have the space, you can create a watertight shed on your property. Alternatively, you could rent out a storage unit.
When you operate a business, you need to be exceptionally organized. This is important for managing customers well and will be crucial during tax season. Not only will you want a home business printer from Lenovo you will also want to have a good filing system.
This filing system needs to be both digital and in print. Printing out your records is a good way to back them up in case something happens to your computer, and if you ever have to deal with government agencies, they usually request paper receipts over digital ones.
It is recommended that you keep records for at least seven years (or longer, depending on what country you are located in). Have a digital and physical filing system set up that can accommodate these records and a printer that can keep up.
When to Expand
Working out of your home is great when you first start out, but once business picks up and you are busy enough to warrant hiring help, it’s time to look for a new place of operations. If you sell products, you might be better off opening a store, for example, or moving your workshop further out where you have a larger space where you can make more for your stockists.
If you offer a service, particularly if it’s web-based, then you may be better off looking for a hot desk or other shared workspace so that you can increase the level of professionalism you offer your clients and can pay for any additional employees to join you without the price of full-time rent.
There are options, so always consider your budget and your needs so you can find the best next destination for your business.