In today’s world where technology is openly available to most, many people consider setting up a small business a relatively easy thing to do. The internet gives you access to anything you need, whether that’s information or customers and tools such as social media and blogging mean you can reach out to your target audience, engaging and interacting with them to continually expand your customer base.
As this is apparent, for many small businesses, there actually isn’t any need to leave their home to manage their business. They have everything they need to be able to develop their business effectively in the form of their computer, an internet connection and their cell phone.
But this doesn’t mean that just because you could work from home that you definitely have to or that you should not consider an office. The truth is, a decision still needs to be made as to where you manage your small business form.
There are various reasons behind this and numerous things you have to consider, but one of the more notable things that has to be questioned is your ability to work alone.
Many people believe that they could easily work from home. They will get up early, work the full day and finish later than if they would work in an office. Sure, they’ll have the occasional sleep in or early finish, but a lot of small business owners are actually more productive when working in the environment they know and love.
However, there can be a huge lack of human interaction. Talking to your partner or children about television or music is one thing, but you have no one to discuss business with. No one to bounce ideas off or no one to give you another view on a work-related situation. You don’t even see any different faces or hear any new voices.
Whilst problematic in a business sense, as you essentially have to do everything yourself and make all decisions on your own, this could happen even if you worked from an office – the real problem often comes in the form of a negative impact upon yourself.
As a small business owner, you need to be confident. You need to be happy to speak to suppliers and customers and you need to feel comfortable when put in various situations. When you work from home every day, you don’t get the chance to physically interact with people you don’t really know and you therefore don’t challenge yourself. Even if you rented an office in a shared building, you would be able to say ‘morning’ to the security guard, receptionist or other business owners – it might only be one word, but it ensures that you’re constantly engaging.
The cost factor also needs to be taken into consideration, as although working from home can seem like the cheaper option, you often fail to realise the extra money you’ll be spending on utility bills.
You’re using your computer more and will likely have lights or lamps on more, which increases your electricity bill. You may have the central heating or air conditioning on, which could see you pay more per month for the related utility bill. You might have to upgrade your cell phone package, take out a second business telephone line or improve your internet connection, all of which costs money. Don’t forget insurance, either, as your house and / or content insurance is very likely to increase when working from home.
This isn’t to say that you won’t have to pay out these (or similar) costs when you’re working from an office, but the difference could very well be negligible.
Working from home without doubt has its advantages, but it’s important you don’t write off working from an office without researching the costs and possibilities first. It might be too costly or not suitable for some small business owners, but it could prove to be just what many others need to fully develop and succeed.
This article was originally featured on August 21, 2012.