10 Commandments for Home-Based Business Owners Published by Information Strategies

Information Strategies, Inc (ISI) on Monday released its top 10 listing of what to do and what not to do if you want to have a successful home-based business.

ISI’s President and CEO, JoAnn Laing, said, “Working from home makes for longer business days actually spent in the office space. Therefore, learning how to deal with daily family issues and running a business at the same time is critical.”

The “10 Commandments” were derived from information gathered from more than 200 home-based business leaders.

“Thou shall not work from the dining room table but rather from a separate space. A spare bedroom or den is best but the key is having it separate from the general traffic area of the home.” This is very important psychologically. If you just have a computer and a cell phone set up on a card table or in the eating area, you are not psyching yourself up for success. You are setting yourself up to be distracted.

“Thou shall not trespass on the work place. The workplace is out-of-bounds to those that would interfere with good work habits and leave things about.” Related to the previous commandment, this is away of drawing firm lines, giving definition to your space for accomplishment and making money.

“Thou shall have a separate phone line. A customer needs to feel that he or she is dealing with a company, not a family.” Again, defining that which is professional and preparing for success instead of preparing for distraction. It also shows courtesy and respect for your clients, which keeps your relationship with them strong.

“Thou shall have a separate computer. Having only one computer in the house can be a disaster for a home-based business.” The computer that maintains the business should not be the one that maintains the iPod collection, the video games, the personal e-mail accounts, the YouTube, and all the other stuff that can not only distract but also be in high demand by the family.

“Thou shall set aside time during the day for family. Try scheduling in an hour of family time during the day where they will have unlimited attention.” Part of the reason for running your own business from home is to be able to have more time with your family, at least more quality time. Although you want your “office space” well-defined and organized, keep in mind that you aren’t away in an office-you are literally just down the hall or around the corner from your beloved ones. Give them your time and attention.

“Thou shall hire help that could be a houseguest. Inviting someone into the home to work alongside the owner is opening the house to strangers. Be careful who is hired and doubly check their references.” This one is pretty much common sense. Don’t hire perpetual strangers whom you’re then going to have around your stuff and your family for hours and hours. You’re just asking to be ripped off or harmed that way.

“Thou shall make friends with all delivery, service personnel. Treat them as valued suppliers and earn extra services and support in times of need.” People do their best for their friends; people don’t really care about those who are indifferent to them or take them for granted. If you want your packages delivered on time (or even ahead of schedule) and the stuff to get to its destination in one piece, follow this commandment to the letter.

“Thou shall keep duplicate records and tape back-ups off-premises. Every month, records and materials should be duplicated and placed off-site in a safe locale.” In the electronic age of information storage, you had better have everything backed up-in fact, backed up redundantly. Check out online storage “warehouses” such as Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets.

“Thou shall dress for business every day. Many home-based business owners become lax in their dress and that can lead to lax practices.” Some home-based businessmen or those who work from home dress in shirtsleeves or even a jacket and a tie, even though nobody is going to see them. They do this because it makes them feel professional. Feeling professional leads to doing things professionally, which leads to success and financial independence.

“Thou shall not offend thy neighbors. Keep outside activities to a minimum and do not arouse the ire of neighbors. They can make life difficult and annoying.” Once again, you’re not away in an office building. You are home, and you are close by your neighbors. You don’t need them irritated with you; you don’t need constant phone calls to the police complaining about your activities. You don’t need your neighbors to start a smear campaign against your business in order to get back at you for something.