By: Emily Klaus | Marketing Associate
When you think of a small business, mostly likely the image that comes to mind is that of a cute store in your city’s historic downtown, complete with a billowing awning out front and the same cashier who’s been there for years. However, that picture is not necessarily an accurate representation. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, over half of all small businesses in America are actually home-based businesses.
Running a home-based business can be a great experience. You work where you are already comfortable, your commute is nonexistent and your coworkers might be a family pet! However, distractions are plenty around your home, and this can be ultimately detrimental to your business. Here are 4 tips to help make your home-based business the most successful it can be!
Structure Your Home-Based Business Day
One of the biggest problems home-based business owners can face is a lack of discipline. With no other coworkers or supervisors around, it can be tough to find the motivation to get your day started or keep it going longer. This is where making sure your workday is structured can help, so treat your home-based business as you would an office job. Wake up at the same time every day, take a shower, and put on some clean clothes. Keeping a standard routine like this will help your day feel like an actual workday and not a comfortable day at home.
When you actually dive into your work, set aside specific time slots for specific tasks. Experts say that mornings are best for checking and responding to emails and making phone calls. This way, your contacts have the rest of the business day to get back to you should they miss your call or email. Also, try tackling your most difficult task first thing in the morning. You will feel more accomplished and ready to finish other activities later on in the day.
Designate a Space
When you’re running a home-based business, it can be tempting to tackle your day from your bed or your couch. Resist this temptation! Create a specific space in your house for working. If you have the space to commit an entire room for your in-home office, go for it! If you only have room for a desk and a bookshelf in the corner of your bedroom, that works too. Decorate your space, no matter how big or how small, to fit your personal tastes and working aesthetic. Try adding pictures of family and friends, a dorky bobblehead, a coffee mug with a meaningful quote, or a plant! All of these items make your working space personal and will help motivate you to actually use that space for work. You’ll be surprised how much more you can accomplish at a desk than in your bed.
Also, be sure to ask your family to respect your working space! This can mean telling your kids not to play in your office or around your desk or simply having the understanding to leave you alone when you’re in your designated working space. This will not only create a firm boundary between your work and home life, but will also reduce distractions and help you to be more productive.
Research Tax Deductions
Although it may be hard to believe, yes, you can be eligible for tax deductions as a home-based business owner! These can include utilities, repairs, insurance and mortgage interest. However, as you can imagine, the IRS is very strict about what qualifies as a home office and what does not. Here are the two basic requirements to qualify for this deduction:
1. Regular and Exclusive Use
This one is self-explanatory. You are required to regularly and exclusively use part of your home for your small business.
2. Principal Place of Your Business
The burden of proof is on the small business owner to show that you use your home as your main place of business. Even though you may do business at another location, you can still deduct for the parts of your business that are carried out inside your home. You may also deduct for a free-standing structure that you use specifically for your business. Examples can include a garage, studio or barn.
In general, you can expect the deduction to be proportionate to the percentage of your home used for your small business. Again, the burden of proof is on you as a small business owner to determine just how big or small that percentage is. For more information on tax deductions for a home-based business, click HERE.
Invest in Technology/Equipment
Something you might not think about is all of the technology and supplies a home-based business might need. Sure, you have a laptop or a tablet, but in this day and age, that just isn’t enough. Invest in a good-quality printer, scanner, and fax machine, and make sure you and any other employees know how to work this technology! This will help you to be more efficient in completing your tasks.
The big pieces of technology aren’t the only items your home-based business will need. Think of what you would find in a corporate supply room, then go out and buy those items! Sticky notes, printer paper, extra pens, staplers (don’t forget the staples!), thumbtacks and paperclips are just a few of things you might want to keep in your desk. Having on hand the supplies you need will save time and help you stay organized.
This might sound like a big out-of-pocket expense, but items like office supplies, technology and software are usually tax deductible, so be sure to keep and file your receipts!
Jet Capital is here as a trusted resource and partner for all types of small business owners. We offer a fast, flexible alternative to traditional small business loans. If your small business is in need of working capital, apply for a merchant cash advance today at www.jetcapital.com or by giving us a call at 866-845-9674.
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