In my previous article I gave some tips on beginning the journey into being an entrepreneur from the comforts of your own home. While that article covered the basics of business in general, what about the nuts and bolts of YOUR business?
Your dive into the world of starting a business at home should include a business plan. And I’m sure you have explored all the options of writing the plan itself, but have you thought of everything that needs to go into your plan? Really?
No? That’s what I am here for.
Dedicated office. Have you considered all aspects of your office space? According to IRS guidelines, you can only claim a tax deduction if you use a part of your home “exclusively and regularly” as a home office. (As always, check with a tax professional for a full explanation of the IRS guidelines) For example, your kitchen won’t count as your office if you also use it to eat dinner with the family. Your sofa doesn’t count if you also use it to cheer on the Denver Nuggets with your pals. So, consider setting up a "For Work Only" area of your home which means you will need a full scope of office furnishings and electronics.
Meeting space. Where are you going to meet clients? If your dining room table doesn't convey the right level of professionalism, there are office suites available for conferences and other types of formal meetings. Will you need to calculate that into the expenses side of your business plan?
Childcare. Unless you are a master of intense multi-tasking, I suggest childcare for your children while you are working at home. While you may not be able to expense such a thing in your business plan, it is still a consideration of your bottom line.
Utilities. Have you looked into how your utilities will be affected? Everything from the electricity needed to power up office equipment to the extra phone line for the fax machine adds up to a pretty penny by year end.
Marketing. What have you included in your expenses for marketing? Hopefully you have thought outside the box of business cards and brochures. Factor in any membership dues for local organizations, meal expenses for networking lunches, and how about a marketing consultant? These items are critical for your overall success.
These often-forgotten expenses are a handful of many. In fact, I think I have already forgotten several start-up costs that surprised me as I started my at-home business. But perhaps this will help you brainstorm and think of miscellaneous costs so you can prepare a comprehensive business plan.