So, you’re thinking of scaling your home based business?
What steps would you need to take in scaling your home based business, and which challenges may lay ahead of you…
When you started your own home based business – had you planned for its growth, your personal capacity for production, storage, increased orders or increases in seasonal volume? The idea of starting your own home based business is appealing because it can give you flexibility, more time with your family, no horrid commute to work and so the perks seem awesome!
But what if your home based business becomes a steady growth success?
Without expanding into ready made business premises, you may find it a struggle due to the lack of space and resources as demand for your product or service increases. However, moving to a business premises is a big step – a giant leap if you will – and it will bring with it all kinds of associated increased costs and possibly additional complications. We work with business owners who have erected a log cabin in their garden to use as their working environment, which works well for some businesses. But for other business owners it can be a hefty initial expense.
At some point in the future, moving into business premises may be your only (and most sensible) option, but for now there are plenty of “steps to growth” solutions out there to ease the growing pains that your home based business may be experiencing.
First of all – consider outsourcing
Many owners of small and medium-sized businesses share their time (with family and) buried in administrative tasks. For example, issuing invoices, paying suppliers, completing paperwork, email responses and updating various databases. These administrative tasks are, of course, essential to running your home based business, but allocating large chunks of your time like this leaves you little time for more important strategic planning. And as your home based business continues to grow, this becomes increasingly challenging.
Great news! There are plenty of companies and virtual assistants available to help (for a fee). Maybe surprisingly you can achieve relatively low-cost assistance with online administrative tasks like customer relationship management, finance and marketing. Many Virtual Assistants (or VAs) also work from home and, in the main, communicate with you online, so they can provide an extra pair of hands without you needing to provide any additional desk space. In addition, Virtual Assistants offer flexibility – providing assistance on an ad hoc basis.
Or there’s shared workspaces
Why not explore the option of new flexible working spaces, which offer desk space or “hot desks” and additional resources without the long-term cost commitment of having your own business premises. Typically, the way it works is you pay a monthly membership fee and for that you gain access to a shared office with high-speed WiFi. There are usually meeting rooms available for you to book and printing facilities you can use for an additional charge and many of these facilities also run regular networking events, which can be an excellent way of promoting your business.
Shared Workspaces can also provide a human interaction that you may feel you miss when working from home on your own.
How about storage solutions to help with growth
Are you beginning to get overwhelmed with business stock or your home space is filling up with business-related bits, then a local storage unit could be an ideal “stepping stone”. Storage facilities normally offer flexible options, so you can pay by the week – or the month, and you can select a unit size that suits you, which you can add too with additional units or move to a larger unit. This option should be a much small cost than that of renting a business premises – and you’ll be able to finally free up your home-working space. A simple cost-effective way of scaling your home based business!
TOP TIP: Check the insurance cover provided by the storage facility, as your own insurance for your stock is unlikely to cover items that are stored at third-party premises.
We worked with a client who ran a lighting design and distribution business from “premises” within a storage unit, so it is very possible to fully run your business from a storage unit.
Your “work-life” balance juggling act
When scaling your home based business, consider that working from your home can be amazing but it can also bring certain challenges when it comes to juggling your work/life balance. This is especially true when your business is experiencing a spurt of rapid growth. Many business owners find it difficult to justify taking any real time off, and you may find that juggling your work/life balance becomes increasingly challenging or the balance even becomes non-existent.
The best way of “solving” the work/life balance juggling act is to set boundaries – clear and solid boundaries. Keep space in your home that are non-work zones (the sofa and the dining table, for example) and don’t touch work when you’re spending time there even tasks that are achievable using a smartphone. Maintain the space where you do work at home by keeping it tidy, organised and clutter-free, so that you’re immediately in a work-ready mood when you get there and enabling you to stay as focused as possible.
Try to be strict about your timekeeping too! You won’t necessarily be the most productive from 9am to 5pm, but when allocating the hours you choose to work, keep some time free for doing other things – and force yourself to take regular breaks. Whilst working for yourself and from home can be immensely enjoyable and satisfying – remember to take time for a break as this is as important as ploughing through loads of work!