ENTREPRENEURSHIP / FEB. 03, 2014
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How to Run a Business From Home in the UK

Some of the UK’s pioneering entrepreneurs work from home acknowledging that is not only a lifestyle benefit but also a competitive advantage. For the modern professional, flexibility is a higher priority than status and money are. The Telegraph reports that one in six Britons operate as an 'online business from home', either reselling goods for a profit or making their own products to sell.

Among the UK's top 25 businesses running from home are:

1. Online transcription service OutSec

2. Travel agency Future Travel

3. Marketing agency Total Marketing Network

4. Luxury fashion brand Izzy Lane

5. Legal firm Keystone Law

6. Marketing agency Golley Slater

7. Electricity suppliers Spark Energy

8. Data consultancy firm Jaywing

9. Ecommerce provider Actinic

10. Dancing school Jo Jingles

It's a win-win Situation

Denise Pritchard who set up Total Marketing Network in 2003, argues that working outside the formal office environment can significantly benefit both the business owner and the clients alike. “From the business owner's perspective, having a virtual organisation means growth and contraction is driven by market demands, and good profit margins are maintained as overheads are very low. From the consultants' perspective we can choose to work where and how they like, as long as we deliver and meet deadlines. From the clients' perspective, they can achieve much more with their budget”.

Home working Requires Planning to Work

Richard Philips, CEO of online transcription service OutSec, argues that “Home working is the way forward” adding that “There is a huge potential, highly experienced workforce to be tapped into”. However, flexible working is not easy as “it requires a clear plan to work effectively and constant monitoring of personnel. Motivation and self-discipline are vital to anyone who chooses to work outside an office”.

Thinking of Running a Business from Home? Here is What to Consider…

I got all the relevant information from the UK government site to make sure you are well informed about all the details that need to be arranged before setting up a home business.

In brief, you may need permission or separate insurance and you’ll need to check if you have to pay business rates.

Permissions

Bear in mind that you may need permission from your:

- mortgage provider or landlord

local planning office - e.g. if you’re planning on making major alterations to your home

local council - e.g. if you’re going to get lots of customers or deliveries, you want to advertise outside your home or if you need a licence to run your business

Insurance

You may need insurance for your business. Home insurance may not cover your business (eg stock, computers, customers visiting your premises). You can find an authorised insurer on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) website.

Tax Allowances

You can include your business costs in your Self Assessment tax return if you’re a sole trader or part of a business partnership.

You can claim a proportion of the cost of things like council tax, heating, lighting, phone calls and broadband. You can use a flat rate to calculate your simplified allowable expenses starting from the 2013 to 2014 tax year.

You may need to pay Capital Gains Tax on the part of your property you used for your business if you sell your home.

Business Rates

You may have to pay business rates on the part of your property that you use for your business. This depends on whether the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) (local assessor in Scotland) has given a rateable value to a part of your home.

You’ll still have to pay Council Tax on the rest of your property. To check if you have to pay business rates, contact the VOA (or your local assessor in Scotland).

You may qualify for small business rate relief if your property has a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

On the whole, home working is becoming a mainstream trend for the majority of UK entrepreneurs as it gives them numerous benefits, including no office rent, no daily commute to work, and boosting employee loyalty. However, there should be a clear plan on tracking employee engagement to make sure all team members work effectively.  

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