Original post : 15 Aug 2013

Home working hits a new high

An astonishing press release hit my desk this morning as I was preparing to write this week’s post which I just had to share with you.

It came from Direct Line for Business and the overall message is to make sure you have proper insurance if you are a small business. But alongside the sales message there are some very interesting facts and figures. 

The release claims that there are 2.5 million people working from home which represents 52% of the total  number of UK small businesses.  Let’s just digest that figure – MORE THAN HALF of UK small businesses now operate from home. The researchers have taken Office of National Statistics Figures on Homeworking and Federation of Small Business data to arrive at their figures.

If you would like the breakdown here are the ONS figures

 

The FSB estimates that there are 4.8 million businesses in the UK of which 62.7 per cent (three million) are sole proprietorships. But those figures may not include many small businesses who are so small they aren’t even registered for VAT - the numbers could well be much higher. We know that in the current economy self-employment has been on the rise for the last few years which hints at  a ‘hidden’ economy, generating an income but often overlooked.

Sound familiar?  Look at the problems earlier this year with the DCMS wanting to take crafts off their list of creative industries because they couldn’t measure us, while BIS had mapped the Heritage Craft Industry as employing around 200,000 people across 80,000 businesses.  From this data around 60,000 businesses are potentially sole traders or self-employed and I bet a large number of those craft’s people are working from home. Are you one of them?

Now that I’ve bombarded you with figures what does all this actually mean.  Well, according to the research many home workers may not realise the implications and responsibilities of running a business. Do you?

The table below shows the priorities that home workers have when setting up their business. What an ambitious lot – expansion plans before marketing, hmm. Organising insurance comes below office layout, well down the list– ouch!  Of course, Direct Line for Business stress that home business insurance is a must have, but they do have a point. If you are holding a lot of stock in your house it may not be covered by your home insurance and what if something happened to it?  How would you replace it? Could your business keep going?

 

 

But look how far down the list sorting out your tax comes.  Assuming this includes your national insurance contributions, it should be a business priority and very easy to sort out.  HMRC Revenue website has so many helpful documents that make the whole process very easy  After all you want to make sure the taxman is on your side, don’t you?

Just because you run your business from home (which includes the garden shed) it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a proper business.  A professional approach from the beginning will give you the format and discipline that you need to be the success we know you can be.

 

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