As parents, we get pretty used to the passing of time and the inevitable changes that come with it. While many of us would love to keep our youngsters at the newborn stage forever, we certainly get used to embracing each age, focusing on the positives rather than the potential loss of closeness and control that inevitably sits in the background. Unfortunately, we aren’t always quite as good at embracing change when it comes to our businesses.
Whether you started a home business to be around when your kids were younger or used this as a way to get yourself back into work once they started school, the chances are that, in many ways, building an empire has been your way to get back to yourself. This only makes it all the harder when you start seeing signs that your business, too, has started to outgrow its surroundings.
However, just as our children growing up is ultimately a positive sign that they’re coming into their own, the need to take your business out of the home is a sure indication that you’ve fed, watered, and worked on it until it’s finally started to flourish and find its own feet. Sure, the idea of buying commercial premises is daunting with its potential need for a large investment, construction work, and a smart outfit each day instead of your PJs. That said, seeing the kids off on their first day at school was equally scary, and look how far they’ve come. Your business could flourish, too. You simply need to look out for the following signs that it could benefit from taking its first steps out into a much wider working world than that corner of your living room.
# 1 – A lack of work/home boundaries
When you first embarked on a home business, the need to set clear boundaries for both working and living spaces was probably one of the first pieces of advice you were given. This is a standard essential for keeping your sanity in both aspects of your life, especially when you have kids at home and risk a repeat of the now infamous Robert Kelly BBC interview by neglecting this pointer. Furthermore, being able to better concentrate, set clear start and finish times, and generally perform as well as you need to succeed is all dependent on having a dedicated work office that you can arrive at, and leave, each day.
Unfortunately, even if you were able to carve out this space in a family home to begin with, a growing business that requires more and more stock onsite can quickly start to take over. When that happens, it’s not unusual for even your clearly defined boundaries to become blurred when your living room turns into a secondary stockroom. As well as being bad for you, the fact that this additional stock can quickly become a safety hazard for young kids means that you need to act as soon as you notice this issue. Self-storage solutions for businesses provide a quick way to address this, but they aren’t the most sustainable or affordable option in the long term. Instead, continually overflowing stock is best handled with either the rental or purchase of dedicated commercial spaces/warehouses/studios, which enable you to finally get your house back and generally improve output that meets demand as a result.
# 2 – An increased need to work past 5
Regardless of the physical size of your business, a continual need to keep going well past set working hours is yet another sign that you could benefit from growing your efforts. After all, excessive hours are one of the leading reasons for entrepreneurial burnout, not to mention that they negate the idea that you get to spend more time with your family by working like this. Putting in a little extra work to get things off the ground is inevitable, but if you notice that even your established company is calling for continually extended hours, then you could benefit from furthering your reach.
The good news is that this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to kiss goodbye to your home office for good, with remote employees or even outsourced assistance where necessary all offering a great way to keep on as you are and still keep the load off. However, considering that you ultimately want your business to keep growing from strength to strength, this is often the first sign that it’s time to think about an out-of-house setup that’s able to accommodate employees who are a little closer to hand, and who can work with you on projects that never get too badly out of hand or leave all the pressure on your shoulders.
# 3 – ‘No’ in your business vocabulary
Being able to refuse work that either doesn’t appeal or that you don’t have time for is one of the benefits of being self-employed, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with an occasional refusal where it seems necessary. However, if no has become such a firm part of your business vocabulary that you find you’re even having to turn down work that interests you, then it’s likely time to reassess.
Most obviously, this should start by considering why you’re having to say no in the first place (e.g. availability, stock levels, etc.). In most instances, the chances are that you’ll increasingly realise how a move into commercial premises could help, both with your or your team’s availability/performance overall and also with the stock that you have on hand to accept orders in the moment. Regardless of how reluctant you are to take that leap, this realisation is essential not just for growth, but also for holding onto the reliable reputation that you need to keep your business ticking over right now, and that will undeniably take a hit otherwise.
# 4 – Putting ideas in a drawer
You started a business in the first place because you’re a creative person with exciting ideas, but if you’re finding yourself having to put a great deal of those ideas in a drawer while you work on upholding the company you’ve got, then you could quickly land yourself in trouble. After all, seeing your ideas come to fruition is the entire joy of running your own business, while continually expanding your offerings is the only way to ensure true customer value and overall returns that you can rely on.
Unfortunately, doing things alone from home means that you have inevitably limited resources and time, and have likely been selecting only the best ideas for a while now. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s crucial for ensuring the results that you need. However, if you’re having to set aside even ideas that you know could be successful alongside what you’re doing right now, and if this starts to happen regularly, then growth outside of the home tends to be, in every sense, the most viable step for enabling you to bring ideas to life again. All without having to take your eye off a business that, right now, relies entirely on you to stay on the ball.
A final word
Leaving your home office can feel like a blow if the chance to work close by was part of the appeal of starting your own business in the first place. However, if you’re putting in excessive hours as it stands, then you can bet that biting the bullet with even a small commercial rental could prove surprisingly beneficial to even that home life you feel at risk of losing.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.