Make your home suitable for a home-based business

Wednesday February 05 2020

A home that also functions as a grocery shop. Photo by ismail Kezala.

Running a business from home might be the best option for somebody thinking of becoming self-employed. This can enable you get your business up and running without worrying about renting, buying business property, and space.
Whether it is a small scale or large scale business, there are things you need to put into consideration before you begin. Working from home can affect your home insurance, your tax situation, other people living in your house and even your neighbours. However, if done in the right way, the negatives will out way the positives.
First, it depends on the kind of business you intend to undertake and how it will change your home appearance. These are factors you need to take into account to successfully run a home business.

Be considerate to your neighbours
If you set up a home business, whether big or small, your home will no longer be used mainly as a private residence, your business activities will lead to increased traffic or parking in a residential area. Be mindful of your neighbours.
For businesses that involve loud sound that might affect your neighbours, tell them about it in advance. You could also restrict the noisy activities to day time when your neighbours are away at work.
Planning permission
If running your business from home entails building changes, or the activities that you undertake have an effect on the area where you live, you may need to apply for planning permission from your local authorities.
After working at a firend’s school for some time, Regina Musoke, a primary school teacher decided to start up her own school. She saw no need to rent and decided to use her home.
First, Musoke intended to use her garage plus some rooms on her large house. However, she was cautioned by KCCA planning authorities to build classes some of which she connected to the house.
She was also forced to level the compound to make children’s play grounds with swings and tyres, build more latrines and also set up a separate kitchen for the school as per the authority’s directive. With logos on all the walls, she was good to go.
Musoke has no regret in regard to this endeavour. It saved her from early morning treks in the name of going to work. She just wakes up, prepares herself and then waits for the children to appear. She adds that, the society welcomed her initiative with open arms. Parents reach her at any time they need, she can also keep the children safe before their parents pick them.
However, the only challenge she has encountered is, parents exceeding their limits.
She says: “Normally children are supposed to report to school at 6am but you find a parent knocking at your door earlier than this because they know you are always available.”
Some parents pick their children very late since they are assured of snacks. This retards some of her late evening programs since she cannot leave home unless all the children have been picked. However she finds delight in all the above. For her business to run smoothly, she has to separate work from home.

Asses home for health and safety risk
If you use your home as your business workplace, you must carry out a health and safety risk assessment to identify any possible hazards to yourself, workers, visitors and other members of your household.
For businesses that employ more than five people. Risks such as using work equipment at home including electrical appliances, work station set up, handling loads, hazardous material, fire, slips and falls, noise if you use machinery can be faced. However you must work tirelessly to curb them.
If you have to use hazardous substances or materials in your home-based business, you should check the safety data sheets or product labelling provided with the materials or substances to find out what specific threats they pose. You will need to make sure that hazardous substances are safely stored and correctly disposed of.
Protective clothing, such as gloves and masks should be worn and windows opened during use to control exposure to substances.
Even some common substances used in office work, such as glue, can be hazardous in the wrong hands.
Create a separate work area
The area that you use for work should be completely separate from the rest of your home. It helps if you can avoid being disturbed when you are working. You also want to be able to relax during your time off without being interrupted by work. A spare room with a door that locks or an outbuilding such as a garage is best, so that: risk of accidental damage to your work or equipment will be reduced, helps to shut off from home life so you can deal with your clients in a professional way, work equipment won’t be a risk to members of your household and even demands from other family members can be resisted.
Mastullah Nassiwa, who makes confectionery at her home knows this best. She says, at the start of her business, she had grandchildren at home who used to sneak into her workplace just to find out whether there was something for them to eat.
By doing this, they ended up disorganizing her stuff and even getting hurt by the equipment she used, however the quick solution was putting a door at the entrance of her baking area which barred children from accessing the place. She normally keeps the door closed in her absence. Some businesses are associated with a lot of untidiness, for such businesses home smartness must be considered first. You should construct either permanent of temporally structures outside the house for such businesses. An example of such is trading in charcoal, raw food stuffs and fire wood among others.
Lydia Mugabi who deals in such a business says, “Remember you are not deserting your home, you need to make money while your home remains desirable to you and the rest.” She adds that equipment used in such a business should not cross over to the house, here it needs a lot of keenness.

As stated before, a home-based business has positives that exceed the negatives. It can be the ultimate solution to the hyper unemployment in our country.
Basically, a home-based business gives people with limited funds and resources a chance to create a successful company.
With a home business, opportunities are endless, you can work on an inborn passion you might have e.g. crafts, baking, teaching, and making exercise books, grocery among others.
It is also less risky as you can easily pull out in case it is not working out as required to start something else in the same place without incurring big losses.