How to start a business from home

6 min read
Will Stevens

Learning how to start a business from home can seem like a monumental task. After all, there's so much to do.

But although we can't guarantee your business will go on to be a roaring success, we can help you get started.

Here are the things you need to do to start a business from home.

Check your position with work

If you're currently working and want to launch your own business, you need to make sure that it's okay with your current employer.

Although it's unlikely your employer will stop you from starting your own business, you may find that there are limits on what kind of business you can start - for example you're unlikely to be allowed to set up in competition to them, or launch of project that makes use of their customer data.

Being honest about what you're doing will stop any nasty surprises.

Consider your tax position

Choosing the right option when it comes to tax is an important step for your business, and it can be confusing.

Many people choose to register as a sole trader, which is the simplest option although it does mean you're personally responsible for your business's debts.

Another popular option is setting up a limited company. This option means that you won't be personally responsible for the business's debts, but you will have more responsibilities when it comes to things such as reporting.

You can learn more about registering your business here.

Check with your mortgage and insurance position

Often, there are clauses in mortgages and insurance policies which state that starting your own business is not permitted.

That's not always the case, and even when it is lenders and insurers often only bar certain kinds of business.

But you won't know how you might be affected until you've checked your mortgage agreement and insurance policies, and spoken with your lender and insurers.

It's never too early to seek advice

We've dealt with some complex issues already, and we haven't even looked at things such as getting your business online.

But remember, it's never too early to seek out advice to help you get your business up and running.

You can find a list of small business advisers here.

Make sure you have a viable work space

If you plan to start a business from home, you need to make sure you have a suitable work space in your house - one that allows you to get on with things free from distraction.

It might be a spare room or a shed, or somewhere else. Just make sure you won't face constant interruptions.

Draw up a business plan

Creating a business plan is a step that many people leave for later, or in some cases skip entirely.

But drawing up a business plan early on can actually help you develop your business idea.

That's because it makes you think about what your business will be doing, what your goals are, who your customers will be, and how you'll be reaching them.

You can learn more about creating a business plan in this guide - and don't forget if you have a small business adviser they'll be able to help you with your plan.

Think about possible sources of funding

All businesses need some sort of funding, but the amount can vary greatly.

Exactly what your startup costs are will depend on the kind of business you're planning to launch.

In some cases, you won't need to spend much more than the cost of setting up a website and advertising your services.

But if you're planning to sell a physical product, you might need to buy stock before you can launch, which adds to the costs.

If money is tight, you can read this guide to starting a UK business with no money.

Or, if you think you might need extra funding you can check out this guide on how to get a business loan.

Plan your online presence

Almost every business has a website these days, and the sooner you start planning your website the better.

You need to understand what your website will need to do so your business can function properly.

For example, if you're planning to sell a physical item then your website will need an ecommerce function, but if you're running a consultancy business then you'll probably want people to be able to book appointments with you online.

One of the easiest ways to get your business online is by using GoDaddy's Website Builder - it's a quick and easy way to create your own site, which you can update whenever you need to.

You can learn more about how the easiest way to create a small business website here, while this guide explains how much a website should cost you.

Get to grips with online marketing

If you're planning to run your business on a tight budget, you'll need to do lots of things yourself and one of the most important of these is online marketing.

You'll need to understand search engine optimization, which will help potential customers find your website in the medium to long term.

You'll likely also need to understand paid forms of online advertising, including Google AdWords and social ads, as these will help potential customers find your business from day one.

The good news is that a good business plan will help you understand the kinds of people you should be targeting with your advertising, but there's still plenty to get to grips with.

This guide will help you get started with search engine optimization, while this guide will help you understand paid advertising.

Even if have to resources to have an agency do your marketing for you, you should still consider learning about the online marketing techniques you intend to outsource, as this will help you choose the right agency.

Still struggling for home business ideas?

The focus of this article has been on the practical side of starting a business from home, rather than the creative side.

But coming up with the right idea can be one of the most challenging parts of starting your own business.

So if you're still in need of inspiration, here are ten small business ideas you can start from home.