Staff Writer Vertical Leap
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Has running a business from home become easier?

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8th Oct 2014
Staff Writer Vertical Leap
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Despite Marissa Meyer's best efforts, remote working is becoming more commonplace. Tom Chapman takes things a step further - why not run your own business from home?

The last few years have shown exceptional growth in new businesses starting up in the UK. In July 2014 alone there were a staggering 2,900,000 home businesses. The statistics show that home businesses are becoming an increasingly common phenomenon and, in this article, we’ll take a quick look at what elements have made starting a home business both easier and more attractive to prospective entrepreneurs.

The power of the web

The internet has undoubtedly changed the face of the business world; it’s very difficult to think of a company or service which doesn’t have at least some presence online – and it’s even more difficult to imagine a company in 2014 becoming a success without somehow utilising the World Wide Web. IBM popularised the term 'e-business' in 1997 and the ability to shop online, or even just read about the services offered by a particular company, quickly became a novel and effective tool in the hands of businesses. Progress never stopped, and new ways have been found to monetise the information super highway ever since – from advertising products, to aggregating reviews for the same product, to selling second-hand copies of the product... all the way to selling advertising space during a video satirising the product in question.

The utility of the internet is not the only reason why those looking to start a home business find it so useful; it also makes setting up a firm quick and easy. Indeed, the relative simplicity of starting a business online, combined with how quickly an entrepreneur can start to see a return on their initial investment, have greatly assisted with the growth of home businesses. Furthermore, the internet makes marketing exceptionally easy for even the newest of companies. Creating a website for your new business is simple and inexpensive, while finding interested parties and cultivating customer loyalty can be accomplished by establishing a social media presence. Locality and logistics are no longer major problems in an internet-connected world; home businesses now have a potentially worldwide audience within extremely easy reach.

Legislation on the side of entrepreneurs

The 70% of new businesses which start from within the home contribute a total of £300bn to the UK economy. With this in mind; it’s no wonder that the Government has taken an interest over the last few years in making it as easy and financially non-demanding as possible to start a new home business. One of the best examples of the Government’s ongoing commitment to the development and growth of home businesses is the Companies Act 2006; an update to the existing UK company legislation laid out in the Companies Act 1985. Despite being one of the longest pieces of UK law in existence, its aim was to simplify and encourage public involvement with business and, more importantly for this article, promote the formation of new companies.

The ongoing support of parliament for the creation and growth of home businesses can also be seen in new legislation introduced last August. In essence, this document reduces the complexity of forming a firm within your home, while also reducing the business rates of those who run a company from home. Furthermore, there is now generally no need to gain planning permission to start a business from home and landlords have far fewer ways to interfere with someone who chooses to do this.

The ready availability of mobile devices, as well as the increasing popularity of cloud-based storage methods, have made working on the go exceptionally easy. Such easy access to work systems and documents, as well as an easy means to maintain contact with co-workers outside of the office or work hours, have become a major bone of contention for those employed in larger companies. Indeed, expectations about the working hours of such employees are now higher than ever. However, to those running a business from home, the potential of current technology to facilitate easier mobile work can be a real boon. Considering that, to start a successful business you’ll often be working longer hours than as someone else’s employee, and that there will usually be no one to cover lunch breaks or holidays on your behalf, being able to connect to projects and clients wherever you are is really good news. When you’re in the early stages of starting a business from home, the ability to make important choices and check essential information wherever you are is tantamount to success.

Fortunately for entrepreneurs running businesses from home, professional mobility is becoming easier by the day. While generous data allowances on phone contracts, and the ability to tether phones with internet access to other mobile devices, have made access to the internet exceptionally easy for those who need to, more services which deliver similar or superior functionality are cropping up to assist consumers whose data limits are still too restrictive. Companies such as The Cloud provide fast and effective Wi-Fi access in a variety of public locations, such as restaurants and train stations, ensuring that budding entrepreneurs need never fear missing out on crucial information and leads when they leave the house.

Conclusions

It truly is a better time than ever to start a business from home; the internet allows for the easy identification of business ideas, and the establishment and marketing of the company itself, while parliament has gone to great lengths to allow small companies to sprout and flourish in the UK economy. Once a home business is established, cloud storage and internet connectable devices in the hands of the public ensure that it’s easy to keep up with work, no matter where you are.

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