Many wedding businesses are very suitable to run from home. With low overheads and the flexibility to work around family and other commitments it’s often a sensible choice, particularly when starting out.
As an added plus, couples appreciate being able to make evening or weekend appointments with suppliers and this can be much easier to manage if you are based at home.
However, don’t treat your home based business any less seriously than you would if you were taking on a shop or office. Before you go ahead, do your homework and make sure you have covered the following key points:
Legal and Admin
Before you set up a business working from home, you need to check that there is nothing in your mortgage or lease which prevents this.
Your insurance may be affected – many home policies today allow for the increasing numbers of people working from home, but you may also need liability cover (especially if customers visit you in person) and cover for attending wedding fairs.
Talk to your local tax office or an accountant to ensure you understand your tax position.
UK businesses should visit Business Link which has a comprehensive checklist.
A properly thought out business plan is essential for any business, but it’s something that is often overlooked for a home based start-up. You will need one if you are looking to borrow money from the bank and if you aren’t, it’s just as important – it’s your money you are going to be risking!
It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, but at the very least it should specify:
- what you are selling (your product or service)
- who is going to buy from you
- how your customers are going to find out about you
- why they are going to buy from you rather than the competition
- your financial projections for the first year
Will potential customers be visiting you in person? If so you will need to have an area you can take them which gives a professional image. A dedicated room is ideal as you can then showcase your work for maximum effect. Wherever you decide to take your customers it MUST be clean, tidy and free of all clutter, pets and children.
You will also need space to carry out your actual work – an office area and probably a working area where you create your products. If you are short of space, then you will need to be very organised and arrange your files, supplies and work in progress carefully.
Working from home, particularly if you have a demanding family, can require considerable organisation and negotiation skills. You will also need to be disciplined and strict with yourself.
Get yourself a large desk diary or wall planner. As well as your appointments, set aside chunks of time when you are working – and make sure everyone knows that you are busy and must not be interrupted.
You should also set aside time when you don’t work. It can be hard to switch off when your urgent project is just next door, but its essential for a balanced work/family life and you will be much more effective if you give yourself breaks.
Discourage your friends, mother or anyone else from ringing or dropping in for a chat during your working times. Be assertive with this! Many people still assume that working from home means sitting around gossiping.
If your family will be answering your business telephone while you are out or busy, train them in the appropriate way to answer and take messages.