A home business allows you to earn a substantial income while minimizing overhead. By working from home, you’ll have the flexibility you (and your family) need. With these and other benefits, it’s no surprise that the US Census reports that over half of all small businesses are home-based.
However, using your home to conduct business may result in some unpredictable situations. You may face awkward moments and serious risks, but most of these can be avoided. With a bit of planning and these tips, you’ll be able to minimize some of the most common hazards of running a home business.
Remember, Safety First
Taking the appropriate safety measures will help you protect your company from liability. If clients or employees visit, be sure to keep walkways clear and de-iced during the winter. Add more lighting, inside and out, and keep your stairs and handrails in good condition. Depending on the type of company you’re running, you may wish to set some boundaries, such as asking friends and family to drop by after business hours or suggesting that clients keep their small children at home.
Check Traffic and Zoning Laws
Another thing to consider before opening a home business is your parking situation. Is there enough space on your street, or will you need to change your landscaping to create additional spots? It’s crucial to note the local planning office’s restrictions; many put limits on the number of workers or visitors you can have in your home at one time. By staying on the right side of the law, you will protect your company.
Consider Getting a Private Mailbox
Though ransomware detection is a crucial security measure, so is keeping your home address private. And, while post office boxes are one way to do it, they also lend an air of unprofessionalism. Private mailboxes give you a physical address rather than a box number, and in most cases, these services can also receive shipments on your behalf.
Protect Your Digital Privacy
Consider keeping your business and personal computers separate, as a way of setting boundaries. It’s also a good idea to keep your operating system, ransomware detection, and browser up to date, which the FCC says is the most effective defense against malware, viruses and other threats. If you haven’t already, secure your Wi-Fi network and create a system for backing up, purging, and securing business files.
Don’t Count on Homeowners’ Insurance
Many home business owners assume that their homeowners’ insurance policies cover their businesses as well, but that’s not the case. For example, if a delivery driver falls while bringing a business shipment, your insurance policy likely won’t cover his or her medical bills. Or, if a natural disaster strikes, how would you restore customers’ lost data? A business owner’s policy will help you prepare for all possibilities.
Starting a home business is an excellent way to escape the drudgery of a 9-5 life, but it’s full of unexpected risks. By following these tips, you’ll be able to protect yourself from personal and professional liability.