Home-based businesses are a large part of the Australian business community, with nearly one million people running a business from home. Working from home can offer flexibility and convenience, and can often be a great opportunity to start a new career.
If you're thinking of starting a home-based business or are currently running one, you can maximise your chance of success by ensuring that you understand the risks and government requirements that apply to you.
These include taxation, employment, business finances, insurance for home-based businesses, council approval and licensing requirements.
Operating a small business is not just about working for yourself, it's also about having the necessary management skills, industry expertise, technical skills, finance, and a long-term vision to grow and succeed.
Things to consider before starting a home-based business
A successful home business requires an owner who is able to handle a wide variety of issues. In many cases, identical home-based businesses can have different levels of success due to different approaches to planning. By thinking through the establishment of your business carefully and taking the time to research and plan your operations, you can create a competitive advantage while also helping secure the future of your business.
If you're starting a home business, developing a thorough business plan is the best place to begin. To develop your business plan, you need to consider these points about operating from home:
Is your home the best location for your business?
Can you conduct the type of business you want under local council regulations?
What are your legal obligations?
Will your home-based business allow you to balance your work and family life?
What are the town planning requirements of your local government authority?
Don't be afraid to ask yourself hard questions about your business. It's much easier to plan for the future than to react to the unexpected.
Taking the first steps and getting advice
When you're taking the first steps in starting up a home-based business, take a look at the wide range of government advice and support available. Most state and territory governments provide home-based business kits and fact sheets, which are great for establishing the foundations of your business.
You can access a range of advisory services from the Australian Government. Use Advisor Finder to get in touch with your nearest business advisor service.
Networking is also an important way to keep up-to-date with business trends and to create business opportunities and relationships. If you're operating a business from home, consider joining a business association, check newspapers and business publications, and search Event Finder to find events relevant to your business.
As well as advice and support from government and those within your network, you should also consider consulting an experienced business adviser, accountant or bank manager. These business advisors are valuable as they may be able to share the experiences of others and provide guidance to you when making important decisions.
Meeting government requirement and regulations
Like all businesses, home-based businesses need to register for business and company names, taxation, and other business licences and permits. Using your home as a place of business may also mean complying with particular state, territory and local government regulations.
The impact of your business activities on the surrouding residential area, particularly pollution, energy use and parking, can all require special permission. Depending on your type of business, you may need special permits relating to zoning, signage, noise levels or health issues.