9 – Practicalities for new businesses

Last Updated on 26 August 2020

Support from family and friends is essential, especially if you are setting up. You will be working hard – even when you are not earning anything.

Things to think about, and discuss with those around you:

  • working hours – Decide when you will be a) working & earning, b) working & NOT earning, c) not working at all.
  • If hours are erratic how do friends and family know you are working? (and not just browsing through Facebook)
  • Do you have children / pets who need help to understand your routine?
  • Who will answer the phone? (Kids? Dog? Voicemail?) What will they say?

Watch this video description with some office set-up suggestions.
(Best in full-screen view.)

Getting organised

  • Split your life into two parts – work vs pleasure/private life. Focus on one at a time.
  • Use separate email addresses / piles of paper / computer user accounts / phones /Filing – paper / emails / post / bills / accounts.
  • Get system(s) up and running BEFORE you get really busy.
  • Put files for invoices, receipts and contracts in a handy place. (See help sheet 4.)
  • Try using a small whiteboard to keep track of payments due.
  • A big shredder can be useful, even if you’re not doing much confidential work.
  • If you’re collecting personal data for marketing, make sure you’re GDPR compliant.
  • OpenOffice & LibreOffice are very cheap, open source office suites (compatible with MS Office)…and OpenOffice is called NeoOffice when used on a Mac.

Phone options

  • A dedicated phone number just for work might make life easier. You can ignore it more easily out of office hours.
  • Voice over Internet (VoIP), many deals on the market, e.g. Vonage. Uses broadband to route calls. Allows you to choose your area code and have overseas numbers.
  • Skype – the free version can also do audio conference calls


If you do one thing only – check that the contents of your home office are insured, and that your home contents insurer knows if your work is ‘based’ at home.

  • ‘Home office’ insurance might suit you – might include public liability and equipment cover
  • Public liability – important ‘third party’ insurance in case you cause harm to someone else
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance – covers your cock-ups
  • Employer’s Liability Insurance is required by law if you employ others
  • Car – Using it for business? Is it insured for business use?

Find out more (a small selection):
www.skype.com | www.vonage.co.uk

Free office software: 
www.openoffice.org | www.neooffice.org | www.libreoffice.org
www.zoho.com | http://docs.google.com

Office supplies: 
www.viking-direct.co.uk | www.rebelofficesupplies.co.uk | www.euroffice.co.uk

Insurance sites: 
www.simplybusiness.co.uk | www.moneysupermarket.com | www.confused.com

Posted on 20 January 2020