What it means to run a home-based business in today’s time

When the word ‘home-business’ is uttered, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Hobby, part-time business, utilisation of additional time on one’s hands, a secondary source of income; an endless list can be written with similar thoughts. Often when someone expresses that they run a business from home, the audience thinks unprofessional, not serious. Although someone might be doing it as a passion project, or to utilise spare time in a productive manner, or as an additional source of income, it is also a model that is more sustainable to a lot of entrepreneurs.

A home run venture is a business model that I like to call the vowel model. It is – Adaptable, Economical, Independent, Operationally viable and most importantly Underrated.

If you ask any well-established home run business owner whether they would like an office space/studio, they are most likely to say ‘no’. And if you ask them why without even blinking their eyes they will cite infinite reasons about why they would like to continue operating their business from home. This stands to be even more true in today’s time. This year has seen both, good and bad for home businesses.

While all businesses were shut for a few months, home run businesses did breathe a tiny sigh of relief as they weren’t liable to pay for one of the biggest and feared overheads – rent. This saves and saved them a big chunk, pre-COVID too. No matter what day it is, how busy the day is, how many people are there in the house, it is one of the cleanest spaces. With hygiene being a priority, houses are being cleaned, and even double cleaned these days. This ensures anyone operating a production or product supply-based form of business from home feels as though they are working out of a sanctuary.

Home business owners are appreciative of the fact that they chose to run their business from home. Most of the home run businesses are either solopreneurs, partners or have very few people working with them. Right now, while they are looking to restart or have already restarted their businesses, having a secure space and few people has helped them to figure out their operational activities in some way.

In addition to this, a recent change that has helped home businesses this year and has seen a shift and increases in sale for businesses is the Vocal for Local movement. Our government has emphasised the desire to support small and local businesses, and every home business owner is filled with gratitude. This initiative has not only helped pre-existing businesses but has also seen an increase in home-based ventures. It has given a skilled pool of people a platform to establish a brand.

Having said that, home businesses are currently facing hindrances in terms of ensuring their product reaches the customer safely and on time. While bigger brands are trusted to be exercising safe practices, a home-run business has to effectively communicate that it is adopting safety measures and is adhering to the guidelines stated by the concerned bodies. If a business does not have machinery or larger systems in place, there is the added pressure to consistently ensure the same outcome.

With work from home being the new norm in every household, there can be an invasion of space for home business owners if they don’t have a separate space for operations. Home businesses do not have fixed hours, some days work goes on till 2 or 3 am, and with the added house chores this year, that might get pushed or their day might start early. Even though it may seem like there aren’t enough hands to get things done, family support plays a huge role in motivating such business owners day in and day out. In India, the family has been such an integral part of everyday life, and they are always there to help in any way they can.

One of the best marketing tools for any business has always been word of mouth. Especially in present times, brands that are currently operational can leverage on word of mouth publicity to increase their sale. And this is working in favour of brands that are home-based. If one person buys from a brand and trusts the process, is 100% sure of the handling techniques, they are going to recommend it to their friends and family. Today while making a purchase decision, along with the price point, trust in how one handles the products plays a major.

None of us can recollect of hand how many moons it has been since one stepped into office. With home and office being the same for everyone, business owners who have always run businesses from home are glad that working from home is helping change the notion of this work-style being unprofessional or non-serious. 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelloPost.)

Contributed by Siya Donde, Founder & Chef, Cookie Cutter- a Mumbai based kitchen only patisserie, specialising in cookies, dry cakes and indulgent, guilt-free healthy treats. It started out as a passion project in January 2015 and transitioned into a purposeful profession in November 2019.