13 Seemingly Unimportant Items to Start a Small Home Based Business!
This article is great advice and asks very important questions for you to consider long before you start your business.
So take the time to read it throughout and take notes.
Remember that this article was written by me a Bookkeeper that knows first hand how to set up an in home office. My Office is pleasing to work in, very inspirational along with calming effects. Love it!!
1 Computer/Surge Protector
One would think this is a no brainer, but it’s not. Why? Because you need to know or at least understand what you are doing for a business. To purchase the wrong type of computer is a waste of your money, time and expertise. So, ask yourself the following questions:
1.1 How mobile is my business?
1.2 Will I need my computer with me when I am at a client’s for demonstration purposes?
1.3 How old is my current equipment?
1.4 What will I use my computer for?
1.5 Who requires access to it?
1.6 Do I need surge protectors?
1.7 Small businesses usually write this off all at once depending on the initial cost, should you write this off 100% the first year?
1.8 Do you need a battery backup surge protector?
Surge protectors do several things for example; they regulate the amount of electricity delivered to your computer. If, there is a battery attached to it great; if not consider getting one. The battery will keep your computer on at least until you have saved your work.
For myself I have a desktop and a laptop that will function with a HDMI cable on a TV screen so I can present to all interested parties at the same time.
Answering these questions before you purchase a computer will get you started into the right direction and you will have some idea what you want when you are talking to a computer tech about purchasing.
2 Monitor/Size Matters
Well this pretty much goes with the first need. Yes, if you purchase a desk top you will need a monitor. Then you need to decide how big – if you’re a blind like me then you will want a large screen. (Small joke) The larger the screen the easier it is to see but you have to keep in mind desk space. Will this larger screen hang on the wall behind your desk or will it sit on your desk?
2.1 Do you really need a large screen?
2.2 Are you going to watch Netflix instead of work on it?
2.3 Once more; are you aware that this is a 100% write off?
2.4 What are your needs for a screen, resolution, LCD etc.?
Choose wisely, sometimes larger is not better. Then we have a wonderful option of touch screen usually for an extra $100.00 or so plus taxes. Personally, I have an all in one and didn’t get the touch screen. Sometimes it would have come in handy, but my lap top is touchscreen.
Really the choices are many but it comes down to finances and personal choices.
3 High Speed Internet/Router
Now here is a good question for you.
3.1 HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN YOUR HOME THAT USE YOUR INTERNET SERVICE WITH ALL THEIR ELECTRONIC GADGETS?
Are you aware that for every cell phone, I pad, tablet, computer, TV, printer, etc. you own, they all use up your bandwidth and will significantly reduce your download ability; may even stall it.
Are you aware the for every downloaded movie, game, software etc. it will take up your data usage. One movie can create up to and above 20,000 pieces of bites on your plan. If you have a basic plan, it would be wise to increase it to a more appropriate size allowed for data transfer.
3.2 The question here is how important is the speed of the internet and reliability to you and your business?
3.3 Do you need a router that will divide off your internet?
3.4 How important is security for your business?
3.5 The internet is an ongoing expense and you will have to pro-rate the portions for business and personal, how will you estimate that?
3.6 Ask a tech, not a box store specialist about routers.
3.7 Ask. Ask. Ask. Be informed!
Personally, I have unlimited. I do not use that for myself however, when I have guests on I log them on to save their data. For the extra $10.00 a month it costs me, I save my guests several dollars more.
It’s critical to have the correct desk. Its fine to use what you have at first but over time you will find yourself getting back fatigue and neck issues and then you will develop a reluctance to sit at that desk to work.
Is the desk too high when you sit at it? And it is equally important to have a chair that is perfect not only for your desk but your body as well.
4.1 Ask yourself this – Do I need a chair that is therapeutic?
4.2 Will an average chair work for now?
4.3 Here are two items that are tax deductible did you know that?
4.4 Some people use a yoga ball, will that work for me?
4.5 Desk height, how tall does it need to be for me?
4.6 Table top size, do I want a large area or will a smaller area work just as good.
Measure and re-measure so you are comfortable.
5 Adequate Lighting
Well I usually fall short on this one, hence the above mentioned comment about being blind. Lighting is so important that you need to have due diligence on this topic. There is nothing worse than sitting down and finding out that you have placed a lamp that shines directly into your eyes. It is both disturbing and annoying, as you have to distract yourself from your project to fix it. So, here are some questions you’ll want to ask.
5.1 Do you need a floor lamp, desk lamp, table lamp – they are all different.
5.2 How much light do you need?
5.3 Do you like subdued lighting or daylight type lights?
5.4 Tax Tip: Did you know that this would be a part of your office expense write off?
5.5 Is a lamp shade needed?
5.6 What is the style preference?
5.7 When you sit at your desk how high does the lamp need to be to be effective.
Décor can go a long way to enhancing your work at home office. If it is appealing, then you will work easier and significantly more efficient.
Phones are an integral part of any business. They represent the necessity of using it to purchase items or to contact prospects. As mentioned in number one – how mobile is your business and how much do you need to be in contact with your business.
6.1 What is my budget for this?
6.2 What kind of phone do I need / want?
6.3 Is it better to have two phones? One in my home or office (a land line) and a “cell phone”?
6.4 If a cell phone – Do I need a smart Phone?
6.5 Are you aware that if you use a cell phone for all calls you must go through each bill and tally up personal and business then subtract to arrive at a total to claim for business expense?
6.6 If a Land Line Needed – What services do, I put on and or need?
6.7 Is it in my budget for two phones?
6.8 How accessible Do I want to be to my clients?
Having two phones can be and expensive proposition that does little for your rate of return. Unless, you are using the phone a lot usually one phone is enough. Having a cell phone can be more than what perhaps you have budgeted for but in the long run, being connected to the social media and your emails just may offset the cost. Webinars will be more successful if you have a reliable phone connection.
Comes down to: “How do I intent on acquiring clients and staying in touch with them?”
The meat and potatoes of your business.
7.1 What type of software do you need?
7.2 Do you need to upgrade?
7.3 Is new software required for this business?
7.4 How much is the software and is it subscription based?
7.5 Did you know that software can be written off as a business expense?
7.6 Do I need a anti-virus, malware and internet protection?
All sound and good questions that only deep thinking and planning will give you any answers. Having the wrong software is like wearing your clothes backwards. EWWW! So, some forethought is required here and perhaps getting some expert advice.
Don’t go and buy simply because you are referred to it, buy because it will enhance your business and create a good experience for you.
8 Printer / Paper Shredder
A few really good questions you will want to ask yourself are:
8.1 How much printing am I going to be doing for myself?
8.2 Is it worth my while to purchase an inkjet all in one, or laser?
8.3 Will I only be printing the odd page or two and who will it be for?
8.4 Do I need to consider the expense of the ink or is laser more economical?
8.5 Does my time have any constraints that makes sense for me to send out my printing?
8.6 Shredding there are two type straight and cross cut, does your business require one?
8.7 Does your specific business deal with personal information?
8.8 Do you deal with printed documents that have financial information?
8.9 Shredder costs vary, can you expense this 100%?
8.10 Do you keep your own personal information safe?
These and many more questions should be asked as the cost of the ink is sometimes more than the printer itself. I have found that if I spend $50.00 for a printer when the ink runs out, I’m far better off and its economical to do so is buy a new printer and sell the old / new one.
At the end of the day though it is your decision and only yours once you have complied all the data you need to make an informed decision.
By the way, did you budget for this as well? Not budgeting can cause your business to go over its expenses.
9 Office Space
I would like to think that this has already been chosen or decided upon plus it has been put into a budget for your business. The office space is critical for several reasons, one of which is if you are not happy with your work environment you simply will not work well or efficient.
For myself, not only did I repaint my office with colour I like but I have rearranged it to suit my left handed desires. I also, removed the carpet and put down laminate flooring (Myself with my daughters help) with a colour that is pleasing.
9.1 Have you measured the space you have chosen? You can take a percentage of that space and deduct the house hold utilities.
9.2 What colour’s make you smile and you can sit back and look at the walls without cringing.
9.3 What inspires you?
9.4 Paintings, Pictures, bare walls left for the imagination to create?
9.5 Natural lighting what gives you pleasure; windows that face North, South, East or West?
9.6 Window coverings are equally important, black out, heat in cold out drapes.
I also, put in an overhead ceiling fan with variable speed and a light. To put a bit of luxury I chose a unit that has a remote that I can operate from my desk. Makes me smile. Put your needs first in this area, you will not regret it. The most important thing to remember is you have to work in that space so it might just as well be a happy place specific to you.
I have written this to give you a little food for thought before you start anything. Hope, it not only saves you mistakes but time. Some mistakes can be quite costly. Remember, this is for a home office only, but some of this and maybe all it applies with some additions to rented space.
While technology is great what is really special are the people who create and use it to their advantage. Keep in mind that none of it will work very well on its own; however, I am seeing some technological advances that suggest that day is coming and it’s not very far down the road. It appears they are going to start with a self-driving car. Sounds exciting? I don’t know on that, I am leery on “man’s concepts and creations with technology”, time will tell and when we wake up it may be too late to turn the clock back. If, it’s good who would want to?
Take comfort in knowing that your financial records are safe and secure. If you want a free consultation, please call me or email.