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Weigh pros, cons before starting home-based businesses

By KAREN BIERS
Utah State University Extension

Starting a home-based business may be a good way to test an idea, but people should weigh the positives and negatives prior to jumping into a venture.

Carbon County residents who are currently employed may decide to begin home-based businesses while still working.

Maintaining present employment will provide income during the start-up period.

If local residents have health insurance through current employers, they will also be able to maintain coverage during the startup time.

Owning and operating a business can be very time consuming. It is important that families are supportive of operating a business from the home.

Local residents should determine if family members will be involved in the business operation and what their roles will be.

Research has indicated that women who operate a business from home may need to arrange for child care, depending on the age of youngsters and the type of company being operated.

Carbon County residents may want to consider several tips when starting a business from home.

The recommendations include:

•Determining what the personal goals are for starting the business.

Research has found that personal/peer recognition as the best in the field was the goal of women who owned soft-goods businesses.

Other goals may include supplementing or replacing income, realizing a dream or being able to provide care for a family member while working from home.

•Defining business ideas or concepts.

The definition will be the mission statement for the business.

The statement should include services/products, who the customers are and the benefits the business will provide consumers.

The statement should be brief and to the point.

•Checking local zoning regulations for home occupations.

The regulations may be available online or through the appropriate city county office.

Some businesses cannot be operated from the home.

Businesses that represent a danger to the neighborhood are typically not allowed.

Regulations vary from town to town.

Signage and amount and type of traffic are two items typically addressed in most zoning regulations.

Some types of food businesses are required to be operated from an approved commercial kitchen.

New regulations regarding food production in a home kitchen are currently being developed.

•Deciding where the business will be located in the home.

It is best if the business can be situated in an area separate from family living space.

If the business requires inventory, people should determine whether there is room in the house or the items will need to be stored elsewhere.

•Reviewing homeowners policies and talking with insurance agents to determine whether a business will be covered.

People should have adequate liability insurance coverage in the event of business-related accidents.

`•Keeping business finances separate from the family's finances.

People should develop a system for keeping records of expenses and income.

Most startup home-based businesses are organized as a sole proprietorship.

But local residents should check with an attorney to determine the legal structure that is best for the businesses.

Operating a home business requires people to have a mind set that they are working.

When at home, it is easy for people to let family chores interrupt the workday.

As local residents think about starting a business, they should make a list of the pros and cons involved in the venture to determine if the home is the work environment that will best suit their needs.







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