Many older entrepreneurs are choosing to put their expertise and knowledge into practice and are starting businesses from home once they have hit their fifties. All too often they have been on the receiving end of commercial incompetence throughout their lives, and know that they can do a better job if they go it alone.
Whether the business is developing and selling products, designing websites, or writing advertising copy there are a few basic guidelines that will need to be followed in order to manage the company effectively. Once the general structure of the business has been decided upon, stock suppliers identified, and a business bank account set up, it is a good idea to visit the IRS website and learn as much as is humanly possible about tax filing dates and other legal requirements, as well as how the IRS will classify your company. These definitions will determine the future tax and Social Security payments for which you will be liable.
Some companies set up a special deposit bank account aside from the main business account in order to save funds for future tax payments; by doing this, the year-end bill from the government doesn’t come as such a massive shock. Late tax payments and delayed tax returns can result in severe penalties, so it is imperative to stay on top of IRS payments and paperwork. If the business is a sole proprietorship, or if the business owner would prefer not to deal with the majority of tax and other inevitable financial matters him or herself, one option is to use the services of an umbrella company, which will be able to deal with the company finances on your behalf.
The home office
Any business being run from the home will need a specific room that can be designated as the home office. This room should be as aesthetically pleasing and comfortable as possible, since you will be spending a lot of time there. It will also be a good idea to only use the business computer for business purposes, and to have a separate telephone landline and cell phone number for the company.
A lot of entrepreneurs think that by working around the clock they will be better able to beat the competition, but this is not necessarily the case. It is usually a far better idea to draw up a weekly plan and allocate both work time and time with the family. The work calendar might change based on the specific needs of an individual client, or if the business is seasonal in nature, but at least the framework will be in place. Liaise with the rest of the family, and try to ensure that ‘office time’ is respected; just because the daily commute to the office has been abolished doesn’t mean that working from home is any less serious than working elsewhere.
Computers and the internet
If at all possible try to invest in the best equipment available, including a top of the line computer. If computer literacy is an issue, see if there are any courses at local colleges or universities that will promote efficiency and IT skills. For most businesses today, a good working knowledge of how to use a computer and the internet is essential. In many cases, you will be able to promote the business via the internet and, increasingly, affiliate marketing is being used as a cost-effective advertising tool. Understanding and utilizing these promotional techniques will go a long way towards helping to ensure the success of your business.
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