Table of Contents
- Why Run a Business from Home?
- How Much Does it Cost to Start a Home Based Business?
- How to Start a Home Based Business?
- Buying an Existing Business
- Home Based Franchises
- Home Based Business FAQ
When the COVID pandemic hit the UK, employees were told to work from. A luxury for many, a lot of people decided to resign rather than go back to the office. Seeking to continue pursuing the home based lifestyle, but still, stuck in employment.
But to work from home, you don’t necessarily need to be in employment – you could own a business. Generally when people think of running a business from home, the first thought that comes to mind is starting one up from scratch. This is fine if you want flexibility but if that thought is the only one that crosses your mind you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes – because there are actually several routes to business ownership.
There are three main routes to business ownership that we will cover in this article, and those are starting a business from scratch, buying an existing business and franchising.
Aside from the work life flexibility, there are actually many benefits of running a business from home. Let’s take a look at these.
Reasons to Run a Business from Home
Whilst not for everyone, running a business from home has many benefits.
Greater Work/Life Flexibility
Maybe you enjoy a run in the mornings, or are adamant in that you find the time to take your kids to school. Or perhaps you have a big family and are keen on spending as much time with them as possible. Owning a business gives you greater control over how much work you put in. It also enables you to manage your schedule effectively, not working under the constraints you otherwise would in employment. Provided you put in the work and are eager to make the business a success – after all failure will negatively affect your career – running a business from home means you’re closer to the things you love.
Work Scalability and Earning Potential
Going down the solo business start up route, the business is yours to control and which direction it takes falls to your judgement. That said, how much effort you put in is up to you and whilst it is possible to run a business on a part time basis, whether you should or not depends on how much you plan to do to make the business a success. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the more you put in the more you’ll get out. Many home based businesses have the potential to turnover more than £1,000 a week. Ran on a part time basis, this figure may struggle to exceed four figures, especially in the early days when lack of input will be eating away at your working capital.
Ideally as a business owner you should spend no less than 20 hours a week running the business. Once the business gains traction it may be possible to reduce input as customers will find you naturally and marketing will sell itself, but it is important to remember that running a business involves hard work and passion.
A World of Opportunity
What do you want to do? What do you enjoy? There are many businesses that can be run from home – more now thanks to COVID causing many businesses to adapt to remote working.
Here are some home based business ideas!
Set up a cleaning business and employ a small team cleaners who will do the cleaning work, whilst you manage the workforce and marketing of the business. Or a tuition business – employ tutors for various academic subjects whilst you market the business from home. Management businesses are where you oversee the business running but not actually carry out the hands on tasks.
Internet Based Businesses
If you love creative marketing and digital design, why not set up your own web design or digital marketing company? Many businesses prefer to outsource their marketing now and many local businesses equally choose local companies to work with. The B2B sector is very lucrative.
Dog walking and pet sitting are one of the biggest types of business individuals choose to set up. A passion for pets means these entrepreneurs love what they do every day, and get to spend time with their own loved ones – their pets!
How Much do Home Based Businesses Cost?
Home based businesses a considered one of the most affordable. Obviously this statement will vary business to business, but generally running a business from home involves minimal overheads. These days, broadband doesn’t cost a great deal and is usually integrated with your home running costs. There are very few overheads when it comes to running a business from home, franchised or not. The main overheads of a home based business are staff (in the scenario of running a management type business), and software/equipment.
Normally the investment will be low as well. Home based franchises will usually cost less than £25,000 and if you’re setting up a business from scratch you should expect to invest a similar amount in getting it off the ground.
How to start up a Home Based Business from scratch
Firstly you need to think about what you enjoy and what you want to do. If you enjoy travel, or property investment, explore the market and see what the demand is like. Spend time thinking about your USP and what your business will offer.
Produce a business plan, detailing about the business, what you aim to achieve and prepare a SWOT analysis that covers strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A business plan covers just that – a plan of the business, what it aims to achieve and why the business is needed in the market. You should also spend time looking at profits, losses and financial projections.
Establish a brand, by designing some logos, straplines, colour schemes and marketing materials. You should work with a business consultant and lawyer to ensure these do not infringe any trademarks and are safe for commercial use.
All businesses should have a website, and as a home based business, this is where the bulk of your investment will be spent. You’ll need to cover many bases, including:
- Website design – Make sure that it follows your brand guidelines including logos, colour schemes and strapline
- SEO – Search Engine Optimisation is essential for home based, online businesses – poor SEO means you won’t get found online
- Digital marketing – Promote your brand online with infographics, images, social media posts and videos. Create a Google My Business account and get yourself on the map. Millions of people use Google Maps to find local businesses and tradesmen, and is something you can’t ignore.
Buying an Existing Business for Sale
Starting up a business from scratch, whether franchised or not, comes with many risks not to mention the fact that cash flow isn’t always positive from day one. Many businesses can take a while to get back a return on investment and break even can take months.
Buying an existing business can come with staggering upfront costs because of the fact the business is set up, trading and has an established customer base. Buying a business that is already trading and has a local presence, will often cost a six figure sum – although this figure may be less for a home based business. However the advantage here, is that there is a business model in place that works and once you learn the ropes, the turnkey operation means you’ll be getting money into the bank sooner rather than later.
Reasons to consider buying an existing business
Costs aside, there are many reasons to buy an existing business. Firstly, most of the hard work is done for you. That means you’re not spending too much time in the early days finding clients. Locally, people should know who you are, what you do and familiar with the brand. Ideally the business should have a strong online presence and social media following, plus strong numbers in website traffic. Social media and website are the tools of a successful home based business, if these are failing you should reconsider buying the business. After all, these are the mediums in which your clients will find you.
Unlike starting up a business alone, purchasing an already-trading business means cashflow is usually instant from day one. Called a “turnkey” purchase, the business is already running and simply needs a new owner to take over it.
Franchise resales are a type of business for sale, where you purchase a business that is already trading, except you’re also becoming a part of the supportive framework that is franchising.
How to buy an existing business
Similarly to starting up a business, you’ll need investment to buy the business, and capital to keep the business running until your investment is made back. Because the business will be cash positive from day one, you won’t need too much working capital but it is always a good idea to set aside enough incase there are any issues, or if you go down the route of a rebrand.
Speak to a professional business lawyer or consultant, and go over all of the paperwork and background of the business. Delve deeply into the historical finances and business operating history. When buying a business, you need to know its background like the back of your hand. You should also speak to your bank to discuss the prospect of a loan which can be paid back, if you need help with funding.
Running a Home Based Business with Franchising
Franchising is very much like buying an existing business, except you still need to do a lot of the leg work to get the business operating. When you buy a franchise – a term called “investing”, you are buying the rights to trade as a brand in your area. A good example of franchising is McDonalds. Franchisees purchase the rights to trade as a McDonalds in their own area, the business is theirs under license from McDonalds.
When you invest in a franchise, you’ll become known as a “franchisee”. The franchisee is the individual or company investing in the franchisor’s brand. The “franchisor” is the individual or company which owns the brand itself, along with trademarks, systems and the right to franchise.
A common misconception is that franchising is just paying to be employed. That is far from the truth. When you invest in a franchise, and the investment can vary from a few thousand up to six figures (although home based franchises will very much be less than £30,000 investment most of the time), you get the rights to trade under a proven brand name, but the business itself is very much yours. You’ll need to follow the operations manual – detailed information about how the business should operate in-line with the brand and other franchisees, but provided you follow the guidelines and make the business a success, it is yours.
When you become a franchisee, depending on the nature of the business, you’ll get full training and support, plus everything you need to launch the business. That might include a presence on the company website, it might include marketing campaigns, software and marketing flyers.
The investment you pay is not only used to fund your training, rights to the brand but it is also to provide you with what you need to get started.
Reasons to consider franchising for self employment
Franchising offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to be their own boss “for themselves, but not by themselves”. Franchising has proven to be not only highly successful but a highly supported sector. The British Franchise Association Natwest Survey 2018 reports 93% of franchisees claim profitability, whilst just 1% of franchisees failed due to commercial failure. Because of the scalable framework that is a franchised business model, franchising enables business owners to expand their successful system utilising the same structure, same setup for each franchisee, delivering a streamlined method of growth.
There are many reasons to consider franchising, which we’ll look at below. However first, many of the benefits we outlined in “starting up a business alone” apply here too, including scalability and unlimited earning potential.
A Supported Sector
When you become your own boss via franchising, you’re joining a network of franchisees. Although each franchisee owns their own territory, everyone operating within a franchise network is part of the brand’s family. Everyone contributes to the success of the brand, and everyone benefits.
Besides the training and support of the franchisor, franchising is well supported from the minute you start exploring opportunities. From franchise associations to franchise exhibitions, the industry is thriving. The franchise sector has many consultants, lawyers, partners and lenders who all aspire to help the franchising sector. Because franchising is considered a more successful route to business ownership than the startup counterpart, banks favour franchising and can lend up to 70% of the franchise investment in many cases. There are also many businesses that offer franchise finance with low interest loans repayable over a number of years. What’s more, there are many startup schemes backed by the government and businesses.
A Business in a Box
When you start up a home based business from scratch, part of your list of things to do will find partners and suppliers that will work with you. When you invest in a franchise, you get access to partners and suppliers that are trusted within the network and may even offer discounted products and services – a setup known as group purchasing power. In addition to partner networks, you’ll be provided with everything you need to get the business off the ground. If it’s a cleaning management franchise, this might include staff uniforms and support recruiting a workforce. If the business is web design and development, you will be given access to the development partners who carry out the work. Or in the scenario of an entertainment franchise such as bouncy castle hire, you’d be given equipment and products to lease out. Everything you need is provided. You’ll just need to set aside working capital to continue marketing the business ongoing.
A Proven Brand Name
Becoming a franchisee means you’ll be a part of a business model and brand that not only works, but has been tried, tested and successfully replicated in countless territories already. As the franchise network grows, so does awareness of the brand and the reputation it carries. McDonalds started life as a small single unit business, but has grown massively to become the fast food giant it is today, and other fast food franchises started life in a similar manner. The same can be said for other types of franchises.
How to invest in a home based franchise
The first step to becoming a franchisee and running a home based franchise is exploring the opportunities available. Using a franchise directory like Franchise Planet enables you to discover home based franchises for sale in the UK, request more information and learn more about the costs involved. If you’re keen on investing in a franchise, the first step will be to request information from 5-10 different businesses. They’ll send you their franchise prospectus which will include more information. Other ways of finding out about different opportunities available is to attend franchise exhibitions and explore franchise associations.
One you’ve made a list of opportunities of interest, carry out due diligence. This means exploring each one’s demand, finding out if the demand is met in your area and whether the business is necessary, plus carrying out checks into the franchise itself. How many franchisees do they have? Who is the franchisor? What is the background of the business? Are their franchises financially sustainable? Deeply explore each one and identify each of these points.
You won’t have answers to all of your questions, much of the information will be behind an NDA. So your next step from this point is to attend a discovery day, or at least a discovery call where you can ask more questions. Speak to the franchisor and take time for both parties to explain what they’re looking to achieve within the next 5 years. Eventually at a discovery day you’ll be asked to sign an NDA and both parties can be more open about their goals and how they plan to achieve them.
Once you have your sights set on a franchise you wish to run from home, the next steps are to go over the franchise agreement with a lawyer or franchise consultant. The franchise agreement sets out the rights, responsibilities and obligations in a legally binding document. Make sure you have read it, read it again and understand it. Should you wish to progress from this point onwards, you will be offered to put down a deposit, enabling you to secure your territory. (This step may come before or after getting access to the franchise agreement).
Once you have raised the funds, invested and are ready to launch the business, your franchisor will provide you with all of the training and support you need to launch the business and get it trading effectively as possible.
Home Based Business Frequently Asked Questions
First you need to understand what you enjoy, what your skills are and how you can apply this in the form of business ownership. There are three routes to business ownership: franchising, starting up alone and buying an existing business. Once you’ve understood how you want to get into business ownership, you can then run a business from home.
Home based franchises often cost less than £25,000 initial investment. The actual investment will vary by franchise, but thanks to the low overheads and minimal equipment, home based franchises are amongst the cheapest franchises to run.
Franchising is a method of business expansion where franchisees invest in the rights to trade as the franchisor’s brand. A home based franchise is a business that follows the principals of franchising and can be operated for the most part, from your home.
Becoming a business owner means you’ll have full control of the amount of work you put in. Therefore the more you work, the more you’ll turn over and the greater the profitability of the business.
Travel franchises, pet franchises and dropshipping franchises are the best businesses to run from home, offering a healthy mix of flexibility, profitability and support. Many other top franchises can be run from home, but ultimately the best home based businesses will be those that you enjoy and can see yourself running.
Management franchises are businesses that can be run from home where you manage a work force of employees, but never actually carrying out the hands-on practice the business specialises in. Cleaning franchises are a great example of management type businesses. You manage a team of cleaners never doing any cleaning yourself. The working style can be applied to a number of types of business, including tuition, cleaning, windscreen repair and freight logistics and courier franchises.
All three methods of starting up a business from home can be successful if you put the effort in, but franchising minimises many of the risks – both financially and operationally, thanks to the support that is out there.
Becoming a business owner is hard work and can be costly, but if you’re looking to be your own boss, getting into business ownership needs to be done correctly. Franchise Planet is a directory of franchises for sale and on the website you’ll find a number of home based opportunities. Take a look around the website and discover a world of franchises.