When your business is young, the most sensible decision is often to work from home. There really is no need to rent out office space, especially if you are the only person currently employed by your company.
However, even though your business doesn’t have its own premises, that’s no reason not to take it seriously. Your marketing, insurance, and contracts should all reflect the fact that you’re a proper business because you are. Unfortunately, many dads who set up their own home offices tend to forget this simple reality, and the results can be catastrophic.
Reality Check #1: Mixed Spaces Don’t Work
If you think that you can work and live in the same space when you’ve got children, you’re deluding yourself. No matter how hard you try to both work and live in the same space, there will always be distractions which will take you away from your work.
Because of this, it’s essential for dads to create their own separate spaces to get on with business, even if that means working out of your bedroom. Ideally, you’d have a separate building you could use at the end of your garden, but, of course, not everybody has one of those. Alternatively, you could convert an unused bedroom into a study, providing a clear demarcation between your work and leisure areas in your home.
Reality Check #2: You’re Still Responsible For Customer Data even if You’re Small
The rules governing the use of customer data, according to the Oasis Group, apply just as much to small companies as they do to large. As a result, the decisions your business makes regarding customer data need to be good ones. With the authorities cracking down on companies that don’t take care of customer data correctly, there’s a risk that your business could get fined or worse. Dads who are starting their own businesses from home need to make sure that their laptops remain safe, that they manage their records properly and that their data are protected. Whatever you do, don’t leave your laptop on the train!
Reality Check #3: Just Because You Set Up A Website Doesn’t Mean You’ll Get Clients
Some startup dads get lucky. Their website goes live, and a week later, people find it on Google and start demanding services. But more often than not, it’s a slow process, often taking many months or years. In the meantime, you’ll have to find other ways of advertising your services. If you’ve got savings, PPC advertising is one option, although you’ll have to be in a very lucrative business to make it pay for itself. The other option is to contact people you think will benefit from your services directly. But again, this involves a lot of work and a high tolerance of rejection.
Reality Check #4: Does A Market For Your Service Exist?
There’s a big difference between a service that people want and a service that they’re willing to pay for. Take Deliveroo, for instance. Before the company began, it was possible to pay a courier to fetch you whatever you wanted from the local corner store or take away, but it was expensive. Then along came Deliveroo and made it cheap, thanks to bicycles, workers who work for practically nothing and integrated apps. Although many people doubted it, Deliveroo created a market for its services by lowering costs to the point where it was worthwhile.
As a dad starting up a business, you need to ask yourself whether your product is something that people are really willing to pay for. Will buying your services take away their pain to such an extent that they will readily part with their hard-earned cash? If not, then it’s time to move on to your next business venture.
Reality Check #5: Without Intellectual Property Protection, Your Business Won’t Fly
If you’ve got a great idea for a business, it’s essential that you get IP protection for it as soon as possible. If you don’t, somebody else will see that you’ve had a great idea and copy you. What’s more, they’ll probably have a lot more capital behind them than you do. Getting a patent on an invention or copyright on a piece of media is surprisingly cheap and easy.
Reality Check #6: Are Your Costs Realistic?
If it’s just you working on your business, you might think that your costs will be low. But when you factor in the cost of insurance, software, and other expenses, will you still be making money at the end of the year? More importantly, are you making enough money for it to be worth your while not taking a regular job?