3 Challenges Anyone Running A Business From Home Will Face

Developments in technology have meant that, for more and more people, running a business from home is now a viable proposition. No longer does owning a company mean renting premises and commuting to a second, business-dedicated location each morning; instead, your home becomes your office, and you can enjoy the benefits of setting your own schedule and working in an environment that is quite literally surrounded by home comforts. 

With that said, running a business from home is not necessarily plain sailing; it’s still a wonderful choice, but there will be the occasional challenges that rise up and need to be addressed. In this piece, we’ve identified three of the most common issues that home-based entrepreneurs face, as well as advice on how you can successfully find a way through…

 

#1 – Domestic needs bleeding into working hours

Spending time working away from home is an effective distraction from all domestic chores, responsibilities, and tasks on your to-do list; you literally can’t be distracted by these issues because you’re in a completely different physical location. However, when you’re working on your business from home, domestic necessities are ever-present, to the point where you find yourself cleaning the kitchen floor or repairing a leaky tap at 1.30pm. 

The conventional way to address this issue is to simply be disciplined; you work a full day, pausing only for lunch and short breaks, and your to-do list and other chores wait until you have finished for the day. However, you may find it easier to actually work in short blocks of two or three hours, then complete a chore, then go back to work – this may mean that you’re working a little later into the evening, but it does mean that when you finish for the day, everything (chores and professional tasks) is complete, so you can fully relax.

 

#2 – An excessive workload

Most – if not all – home-based entrepreneurs will, at least initially, be solely responsible for the running of their business, which inevitably means that they have to wear many hats. The entrepreneur has to be the customer service department, the receptionist, the financial analyst, and so much more, which can lead to a very heavy workload that results in many, many late nights and working weekends. Over time, the cumulative effect of so much work can result in the development of burnout and similar issues.

In a non-home-based business, the solution to this issue would often be to hire staff – but such an option is rarely viable with a home-based business, not least due to space constraints. However, you can still access the assistance your company needs by exploring options such as outsourcing financial management to accountancy firms, using the likes of virtual reception services to ensure all enquiries are dealt with in a timely and professional manner, and hiring customer service reps who work remotely rather than in-house; this should reduce the number of ‘hats’ you have to wear, and ensure your workload becomes more manageable. 

 

Challenge #3 – Feeling stir-crazy 

When you work from home, you will – of course – spend far more of your day in your own property. Most people tend to imagine that all those hours at home will be nothing but enjoyable; that they will work happily and more productively from their home environment, benefiting from the ability to relax and set their own working conditions in a way that simply isn’t possible in a conventional workplace. The reality, however, tends to be quite different; many people who work from home find themselves feeling a little “stir crazy” from time to time – and it’s easy to understand why, given that they are now spending all of their professional time and a significant amount of their personal time in the exact same space. 

The best way to address this issue is to spend more time outside of your home during the workday, simply taking your work with you if you find yourself needing a change of scenery. After all, running a business from home does not mean you always have to be at your home. You could take your laptop to a local cafe or coworking space for a few hours, or go for a walk around your local neighborhood while you mull over a business decision you need to make or listen to messages from your clients. 

 

In conclusion

Running a home-based business can cause a few potential challenges, but the advice above should help you to find a way through each issue so that you can instead focus on all the benefits of running a business from your own home. 

 

How to Manage Your Business’ IT

All businesses are reliant on IT to some extent. IT is the best way to collate and analyze business information, it keeps your website up and running and makes customer service much easier. The better your IT system, the more efficient you will be, the more profit you are likely to make and the smoother your business will run. But given all of this and the high responsibility that comes with IT management, what is the best way to manage your systems? 

Outsource to a Specialist

IT is a pretty broad term for a whole heap of different functions. This means that while you might find plenty of IT companies advertising, not all will be suitable for your needs. Some IT companies specialize in particular industries. So, you can see more about an IT company specializing in education but you could also find IT companies for manufacturing, marketing or any number of other industries.

The benefits of outsourcing to a specialist is that they will be familiar with your industry’s requirements and may even be able to suggest ideas you’ve not heard before. Specialists are also more likely to be able to tailor their services to your exacting needs. 

Find a Freelancer

If you just need some help setting up and occasional project work, you might benefit from hiring a freelancer. The main benefits of hiring a freelancer are obvious: you don’t need to worry about paying a salary or any maintenance to keep the company’s services. Freelancers are also more likely to go for casual work so could easily do an afternoon as and when you need. 

Freelancers often work within a network so you may find that one good freelancer can lead to another, allowing you to experiment with other services. Working with freelancers is a brilliant way to facilitate growth in this way as you can work on short-term projects first before committing yourself to the investment.

Train an Employee

If your tech is central to your business, you might be better off training an employee to manage your IT needs or even hiring someone specifically for the job. Even if your employee only works on your IT part time, this can be a good investment, especially if you have other functions to fulfill such as office management or digital marketing. 

It’s a good idea to provide on the job training for all your employees on a range of subjects but IT is particularly useful. If your employees can deal with some of the more basic problems themselves, you won’t waste any time waiting for a call out or an appointment with a company. The more skills your employees have, the more efficient they are likely to be and the more value they can bring to their role so it really is a win for everyone. 

Whatever you do, you must ensure that someone is looking after your IT needs. Leaving your IT unattended is very likely to lead to problems from viruses to security risks. Keeping all your soft and hardware up to date is essential maintenance and shouldn’t be overlooked. 

 

All You Need To Run Your Business On The Road

Whether you’re a solo freelancer doing your business from place to place, or you’re running an office that you’re never in, it has never been easier to do your work on the road. We can always stay connected and almost always bring the tools of the trade with us. Here, we’re going to look at some of the tools and techniques that will help you stay on top, no matter where you happen to be during your work day.

Managing from afar

If you have a whole team and office to contend with, you can try delegating and leaving someone in charge, but that only works for so long. For your own peace of mind, you need a way to keep in touch, and the best solution for just that can also help improve communication and workload management in the office, too. Instead of relying on direct calls and instant messengers, embrace technology and implement a project management or team management software in the workplace. Your team can easily share resources on different themed boards or tabs, and you can keep track of where the work is at, while communicating with different groups in a manageable, easily tracked way.

 

Get paid on the spot

If your business goes from door to door, or from area to area, servicing customers in that specific location, then you need to consider how and when you get paid. It can be inconvenient, for instance, to accept cash only when your customer might not have it readily available, whether they’re at home or passing your stall on the street. For that reason, it’s worth looking at whether tools like and iPhone card swiper could be the convenient, accessible solution that you need to ensure you get paid. Make sure that you’re not missing customers who would be glad to pay up, if only you had the means to accept their money in the first place.

Keeping your finger on the pulse

When you’re running a business that has you visiting and meeting clients in person more often than on the phone, then being able to remember all the key details about those clients is crucial. You need to be able to form a relationship with them and that’s much easier when you have the help of a customer relationship management system. There are plenty of mobile device-friendly CRM software suites, such as Zoho or Nimble, which allow you to store, edit, organize, and update records for each customer you do business with. It can even offer reminders of when you should next call or what your next task should be, so you don’t forget one customer amongst the mix.

 

Make sure you have access to the resources you need

Regardless of whether you have an office back home or not, you need to consider making use of Cloud servers. If you do have an office and a team that you’re leaving behind, Cloud storage allows you all to share the same digital assets and resources much more easily by uploading and downloading at will. If you don’t, then Cloud storage is still a vital way to backup your most important digital assets. After all, it could be easier than you think to lose your laptop or tablet that has all the vital data on it. If you don’t have a backup, it could be lost for good.

Make sure you’re handling all your employment responsibilities

If you’re running a business on the road and leaving your team behind, then you need to ensure you have the means to fulfil your duties as an employer. Most important of all is payroll. A quick way to get in trouble is to not have the employees paid on time. There are online payroll apps that let you manage that from wherever, however, so you don’t have to race back to the office just to get it done. Some of these modern payroll apps can even automated a large portion of the work for you, removing a lot of the admin work from your day and letting you return to the efforts that help your business grow.

With the tools above, it’s going to be much easier to manage your business, whether you need to ensure you can offer customers the convenience and service they deserve or you need to keep in touch with the team back in the office. These are only a few examples, too. You’ll find plenty more tools to help with a little looking.