Do I need permission to run a business from home?

Attractive young woman holding a tablet at home reading up on permissions to run a business from home

With the rise of technology, running a business from home is becoming more and more manageable. You can build your own website using a site builder to advertise your services or sell products on your ecommerce store, and with sites such as Google Hangouts or Zoom you’re only a few clicks away from talking with customers or clients. However, if you’re running a business from home, you need to have permission to do so.

This can depend on the type of business you’re running – if, for example, you’re using a website to advertise your services as a yoga instructor and you rent out a studio from a third party then you probably won’t need permission from your landlord or mortgage provider. However, if you’re planning on holding your yoga sessions at home then you may need to be granted permission before you can do this. 

Are you self employed?

If you’re not sure if you’re self employed, then there are guidelines to help you decide. You are self employed if you: 

  • take responsibility for your business’ successes or failures
  • have a number of customers at the same time
  • make decisions over how, when and where you work
  • hire staff for help
  • provide your own equipment
  • charge a fixed price for your work
  • sell goods or services to make a profit (including through websites and apps)

Who do you need permission from?

This depends on what type of residency you live in and what type of business you’re planning to run: if you rent or own a house then you’ll need to be granted permission from your landlord or mortgage provider. You might be refused permission if they think the let for your proposed business should be commercial rather than residential, meaning you’ll need to rent a corporate space instead of working from home. They may also refuse if they believe your business could damage the house, or lead to excessive noise which acts as a nuisance to neighbours.

If you’re planning on making large alterations to your home for the purposes of your business, you may need to seek planning permission from your local planning office. Or, if you’re going to get a lot of customers or deliveries to your door for your ecommerce store then you will need to contact your local council to be granted permission to do so. 

Health and safety 

If you have employees working in your home for your business then you’ll need to manage health and safety just as you would in any other business, and you may also need to pay business rates. As an employer, you will be expected to carry out all duties expected of you: this means you meet employment law requirements, write out contracts for your employees, carry out health and safety risk assessments regularly and make sure you have building insurance. 

Tax allowances

If you’re a sole trader or part of a business partnership then you can include business costs in your Self Assessment tax return. You can claim on certain additional costs such as heating, broadband and electricity so that working from home doesn’t put you at a financial disadvantage. Although this might seem tricky to record, you can use a flat rate to calculate your simplified allowable expenses so you know exactly what to claim on.  

If you’re running your business from home, you’ll need a website to advertise your services, or products if you own an ecommerce store. You’ll probably be pushed for time starting up a business from home, so don’t make life harder for yourself by trying to build a website from scratch. Go Sitebuilder has stunning ready to go site designs, and we include an ecommerce platform as part of our package, making us one of the cheapest website builders for those who need an ecommerce section on their site. Try us today – our 14-day free trial gives you all the flexibility you need to build your dream website for your business!

How can I get my business on Google?

A woman's hand is touching screen on tablet computer iPad Pro at night for searching on Google search engine. Google is the most popular Internet search engine in the world to rank business higher.

To get your business on Google might seem like a struggle. However, there are ways to get around this difficulty: optimising your website is the best way for Google to get your online business to rank highly on its search engine results. And, the better you optimise your website, the more likely it is that your business will rank highly on Google’s search engine. 

Moz’s guide to search engine optimisation (SEO) has highlighted the importance of ranking highly on a search engine results page: page one of the results page receives 89.71% of click-through traffic, whereas the second page receives a click-through rate of only 4.37%. By making your online business visible on Google, you are much more likely to see a high traffic flow to your website, which emphasises the importance of having a strong SEO-focused strategy for your website. 

Optimise Google’s My Business option 

If you don’t know where to start with your marketing strategy, signing up to the Google My Business listing is a great way to ensure that you are visible on Google’s search engine results.  For those who are uncertain as to what Google My Business is, it is essentially a way for Google to list your business on its search engine in a concise way, including your contact details, opening hours, and Google reviews. Signing up is also pretty easy;

  • Create your account
  • Selected ‘start now’ in the top right-hand corner 
  • Enter your business name
  • Enter your business address
  • Select your business category, making it as accurate as possible
  • Add your business phone number and website

If you want more information as to how to navigate yourself around Google My Business then click here

By signing up to Google My Business, you are more likely to be visible on Google’s search engine results page: if, for example, a user has googled ‘restaurants near me’, Google’s site crawlers can pick up that your location is near to the user, and that you have good reviews, meaning you are more likely to rank highly as your details are a good match. 

You can also customise your Google My Business to make your online business seem more appealing, meaning that more people are likely to directly contact you from the results you have given, or click through to your website to see what else you have to offer. 

One way you can get creative is by adding emojis to the post section of your Google My Business. Although this might seem a bit unusual, Google is now starting to index (pick up on) emojis on its search engine results! If someone googles an emoji – such as a shoe – and writes ‘near me’, google can actually pick up on your website if you’re a shoe shop and include these emojis within your post. 

Use images as a tool

How do you feel when a Google business listing comes up that doesn’t have any images? It’s definitely not going to incite trust and might even put you off using that business altogether. According to Google research, businesses that do have photos get 35% more clicks, showing how important it is to include relevant, high quality images to your Google business listing. 

At the least, you should upload a cover photo, which shows up as the main image on the Google business listing, and a profile photo, which is what appears when you upload new information to your listing. Use images that show what your business looks like and accurately reflects the personality of your company. In fact, Google support has recommendations on which are the best business-specific photos to add to give you inspiration. 

Images are a useful tool on your website as well, as long as they are properly optimised. When you add a new image to your website, make sure you have a relevant file name and the alt tag (that should appear when you edit the image within your website builder). Alt tags should describe the image in less than 125 characters as if you were describing it to someone with a blindfold on. This means Google can “see” your image and check that it is relevant to your website; if it is, it will rank your site higher up in its search results. 

Upload blog posts 

Blogging is a fantastic way to rank highly on the search engine results page. Including keywords within a blog post tells Google’s site crawlers that your website is offering relevant and useful content which matches whatever has been typed into Google’s search engine. This means Google is more likely to index your site, ensuring that your business is visible.

On a more personal level, blog posts can really help you build a relationship between those who visit your site. By offering up free advice, or writing opinion pieces around an area relevant to your business, you are creating a platform of knowledge, telling visitors that you know your stuff and can therefore be trusted. This is also beneficial for SEO: once you’ve succeeded in drawing people to your site, keeping them on your online business for a longer amount of time tells Google that your content is relevant and should thus rank highly. 

Before you start all of this, it is paramount to have an attractive, easy to use website. Whilst building a website from scratch might be daunting, Go Sitebuilder is a fantastic website builder to use, as it doesn’t overcomplicate its services, making building a professional website a hassle-free process. Our 14-day free trial means you can access our website building services free of charge, giving you all the creative scope you need.