Some of the most well-known names in business were born in basements. If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, now is a great time to look into launching your own business from home. You’ll enjoy the flexibility of being your own boss and the freedom to grow as much as you want. However, as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Learning how to protect your home-based business in the event of a threat is critical to its success.
Is running a business from home as popular as it seems?
The recent rise of people starting a business from home can be attributed to a few different factors. One of the biggest drivers has been technological advances and the rise of the internet, making it easier than ever to start and run a business from anywhere with an internet connection. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend as many businesses were forced to operate remotely, and people looked for ways to supplement their income or start new ventures from the safety of their own homes.
In fact, according to a study by Incfile, 60% of new entrepreneurs used time during COVID lockdown to learn about starting and running their businesses. For those looking to start a home-based business, exploring personal loan services can provide the financial flexibility needed to turn their dreams into reality.”
The most popular home-based businesses
Home-based businesses offer many advantages, such as lower overhead costs, increased flexibility, and the ability to work from the comfort of one’s own home. However, there are also challenges, such as maintaining a work-life balance and dealing with potential distractions from home life.
Some of the most popular home-based businesses are professional services that require little or no equipment.
Freelance writing and graphic design. Freelance writers and graphic designers can work from home and offer their services to clients remotely.
Virtual assistance. Many businesses and entrepreneurs need virtual assistants to handle administrative tasks such as email management, social media posting, content creation, and scheduling.
Childcare. Running a home-based daycare or providing in-home childcare services can be a popular choice for those who love working with children.
Pet care. Many people start pet-sitting or dog-walking businesses from their homes, as it is a flexible and rewarding way to earn income. This is especially popular in areas with high concentrations of workers being asked to return to work, leaving lockdown dogs alone more than ever before.
Personal training. With more people focused on health and fitness than ever before, personal trainers can offer their services from home through online video platforms or in-person training sessions.
Photography. Many photographers start their businesses from home, offering portrait, wedding, or commercial photography services. Photography is a particularly popular side hustle for those with other jobs or caretaking responsibilities, as the hours are very flexible.
Consulting. Businesses often need consultants to help with things like marketing, accounting, or business strategy, and many consultants work from home. This is another popular side hustle option for professionals with deep experience in their field.
Food-related businesses. Starting a catering or baking business from home can be a great way to turn a passion for cooking into a profitable business.
Learning how to protect your home-based business
Nowadays, it seems like everyone has a side hustle or is an entrepreneur making money in their spare time. Whether you’re selling print-on-demand shirts on eBay or Etsy, styling hair in your home salon, or even consulting from your home office, it’s critical that you take the right steps to protect your home-based business and yourself physically, legally, and financially.
Just because your business is run from your home doesn’t mean that your home insurance is enough to protect your operation. Insurance for home-based businesses can vary depending on the type of business and your insurance provider. Generally, homeowners insurance policies provide limited coverage for business equipment and liability for home-based businesses but are unlikely to cover everything. For example, they may not cover damage or loss to your business property outside of the home, business interruption, or professional liability.
To ensure adequate protection, be sure to reach out to your insurer, who may suggest purchasing additional insurance coverage, such as a business owner policy (BOP) or a commercial insurance policy. A BOP typically includes property insurance, liability insurance, and business interruption insurance, while a commercial insurance policy can be customized to meet the specific needs of the business.
All homes are vulnerable to physical security threats. As a business owner, you likely have more to lose regarding business equipment, files and documents, and your ability to operate out of your home. The threat of burglary and vandalism is real, and it’s a good idea to take measures to protect yourself.
Security measures for company files and equipment
As home-based businesses often operate in residential neighborhoods, you may be more vulnerable to these kinds of threats. Consider installing home security cameras, smart locks, and window and door sensors to reduce the likelihood of a bad actor accessing and harming your company.
Security measures for employees
Not all small businesses have employees. But if you do, especially if those employees operate out of your home, they also can be a security risk. Social engineering attacks rely on human interaction to trick people into revealing sensitive information or gaining access to your home. You also risk a disgruntled employee causing damage to your home or stealing company resources. The same security measures discussed earlier can help mitigate employee risk.
For home-based businesses, it’s important to consider fireproofing measures to protect yourself. Fire can quickly destroy expensive equipment for businesses like landscaping and beauty, ruin irreplaceable physical files like consulting contracts, or even computer equipment that almost every small business relies on. For that reason, fire safety measures are an important step to protect your home-based business.
- Make sure your home has working smoke detectors on every floor and near every sleeping area. You should also have a smoke detector installed in any room where you use equipment that generates heat or fire, such as a kitchen or workshop.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand and know how to use them. You should have one in your kitchen and one in your office or workshop.
- Make sure your electrical system is up to code and that you are not overloading your outlets. Use surge protectors for your equipment, and avoid using extension cords whenever possible.
- Store flammable materials, such as cleaning supplies and paints, in a cool, dry place away from sources of heat or fire.
- Have an emergency plan in place for your business and your home. Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do in case of a fire, including how to escape and where to meet outside.
Additionally, it’s important to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage for your home-based business.
Most business owners, regardless of where they operate, store some data that is sensitive. It’s important to consider data protection to ensure your safety and that of your clients.
- Create strong passwords for all your accounts and enable two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
- Install anti-virus software on your computer to protect against malware and other cyber threats.
- Use a VPN to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data from being intercepted by hackers.
- Change the default password for your Wi-Fi network and use encryption to protect your home-based business against unauthorized access.
- Create a cybersecurity policy that outlines best practices for data protection and train employees, if applicable, on how to follow these policies.
- Consider purchasing cyber insurance to protect your business against losses due to data breaches or other cyber incidents.
A note on backing up your data
As a business owner, it’s crucial to back up your data and files regularly. Data loss can occur for various reasons, including hardware failures, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and accidental deletion. Losing important data can be devastating for your business and can result in significant financial losses and reputational damage. Create a data protection plan, including regularly backing up your data to an external hard drive, using cloud-based backup services, and implementing data recovery software.
Software automation acts as a dependable guardian that will help you protect your home-based business, providing a comprehensive shield against an array of potential threats while simultaneously streamlining operations. This protective prowess operates on multiple fronts:
Automation’s proficiency lies in curbing human errors, greatly diminishing the possibility of security breaches and data loss by meticulously following predefined protocols.
Furthermore, it integrates a fortified security framework. Real-time threat monitoring, intrusion detection, and malware scanning work in tandem to create a vigilant line of defense against potential vulnerabilities.
Automation also empowers swift incident response by instantly pinpointing irregularities and promptly executing countermeasures, thereby mitigating the impact of security breaches.
Additionally, automated backup systems ensure the consistent and secure preservation of critical data, proving invaluable in instances of data breaches or hardware breakdowns.
Access control gains an extra layer of precision as automation deftly manages user permissions, effectively reducing unauthorized access attempts and thwarting potential breaches.
Routine patching and updates, enforced through automation, bolster system resilience against emerging vulnerabilities, thereby narrowing the window for exploitation.
Furthermore, automation aids in upholding industry regulations by automating compliance checks and generating requisite documentation.
Automated fraud detection swiftly identifies patterns indicative of fraudulent activities, thereby preventing financial losses.
From real-time network monitoring to preemptive email filters against phishing, automation further fortifies security measures against a spectrum of potential threats.
By optimizing resource allocation, automation indirectly contributes to reinforced security by maintaining system stability and averting overloads.
Consistent policy enforcement, automated incident logging, round-the-clock monitoring, and continuous employee training collectively enhance the overall security posture.
In essence, software automation emerges as an indispensable guardian, offering a robust defense against diverse threats, from data breaches to fraud attempts. Its proficiency in error reduction, real-time security reinforcement, swift incident response, and regulatory compliance collectively form a potent safeguarding network.
Financial and legal protection
Last but not least, small businesses run from home can also face financial and legal risks if you don’t do your research. Here are a few key best practices to remember as you set up your business
- Be sure to get the necessary permits and licenses. Depending on the type of business you run, you may need to obtain certain permits and licenses to operate legally. Check with your local government to determine what is required.
- Use a separate business bank account. Keeping your personal and business finances separate is important for both legal and financial reasons. A separate business bank account makes it easier to track income and expenses and helps protect your personal assets in case of legal issues.
- Create and maintain proper legal documentation: Make sure you have proper legal documentation in place, such as contracts, terms and conditions, and privacy policies. This can help protect your home-based business in case of legal disputes.
- Always consult with legal and financial professionals. While they may be expensive, asking a certified legal or financial pro about bookkeeping, taxes, contracts, and other critical fiduciary components of your business can save you a world of hurt down the road. It’s good to ask for assistance as you set things up, not after identifying a problem.
LLCs vs. sole proprietorships
There are legal and financial implications for how you set up and run your business. Most small business owners will choose between either a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a sole proprietorship, as each has different legal and tax implications.
A sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business structure, where the owner is the business and has unlimited personal liability for the debts and obligations of the business. The owner reports business income and expenses on their personal tax return, not a separate one.
An LLC is a separate legal entity from its owners, providing limited personal liability for the debts and obligations of the business. The business itself files its own tax return, and the owners report their share of the business income and losses on their personal tax returns.
Small business owners may want to consider forming an LLC to protect their personal assets from business debts and legal claims. However, forming an LLC involves additional legal and administrative costs and requirements, so you’ll want to weigh the benefits against the costs and consult with a lawyer or tax professional before deciding.
How to protect your home-based business image
A business image is how people see and think about a company. It’s important because it affects how customers, investors, and others view the business. To protect your home-based business image, you can use press releases. A press release is a written message that you send to the media to announce important news about the company.
Using press releases can help in the following ways:
Control the story: Press releases let you tell your own story. You can share positive information about the company and make sure the right message gets out.
Build trust: When you share news through press releases, it shows that the company is credible and trustworthy. This helps people believe in the business and its products or services.
Handle problems: If something goes wrong or there is bad news, a press release can help manage the situation. You can address the issue and provide explanations or solutions.
Using press releases is an effective way to protect your home-based business and improve its image. It allows you to shape public perception, build trust, and handle challenges effectively.