You have the best business idea in the world, with a product or service everyone is simply going to eat right up. Better yet, this great product or service can be provided from a home-based business, so you don’t have to figure out where to set up shop or deal with the associated overhead. There are 38 million home-based businesses in the United States, according to Business for Home, so you’re in good company as you start yours up. Just make sure to put the necessary legal and security practices in place to ensure you’re off to a great start.
Zoning laws are specific to your particular city or county, so talk to the local chamber of commerce or the zoning board to determine whether you’re able to have a home business at all. Some reasons your local zoning laws may prohibit home businesses is due to increased street and foot traffic, retail sales and employees within your home.
Once zoning is cleared, Startup Nation says to choose your business structure. Many home-based businesses use a sole proprietor structure for simplicity, as you do not need to do any additional registration. However, business structures such as LLCs and the various types of corporations offer a separation of your personal and business assets, which is useful in the event your business gets sued or goes bankrupt. Check into any appropriate state or federal licensing you need to operate your business, as well as any permits the zoning board requires you to have.
Chances are good you’re not going to have your own IT department on hand, so get familiar with the best practices to keep your network secure against cyber-attacks. Establish good security practices before cyber-attacks become a problem. Head off issues like phishing and trojans by being careful about the activities you do on your computer. Ensure the emails you open are safe by carefully checking outgoing links and email headers before downloading or logging into anything.
Put a security system in place to protect your home and business. The FBI reports 23.8 percent of property crimes in 2010 were burglary-related. Your computers and other business equipment have sensitive data and may be worth a great deal of money. Don’t protect your systems from cyber-attack and then leave them wide open to burglary.
Check your homeowners’ insurance to see if you have any coverage for home-based businesses. Bankrate cautions against hoping your homeowners insurance will cover any claims on its own. All it takes is one employee or customer getting hurt at your home-based business for you to have a major issue. Talk with your insurance company to add home-business insurance. Most homeowner policies are not going to give you enough coverage right off the bat to cover business loss and equipment.