The first season of the Joy Business Van has wrapped up already. Our visit to the 12 or so startups was very revealing. One of the things we couldn’t help but notice was that most of the businesses we visited were home based.
Working from home has become a norm for most startups no doubt. It’s the most likely option for anyone starting a business and it’s pretty understandable. Funding the business is enough a headache to contain in the beginning, and you don’t want to burden yourself with extra cost.
At least it is one of the reasons Norte Fianu, owner of local beverage brand Norte Drinks decided to work from her backyard and it works for her.
Norte quit her corporate job in 2012 to start her beverage business.
“It was not just about the cost of renting a place but also the cost of transportation, assuming the location of the production center was pretty far from home”.
For Benjamin Asiam-Amanfo, the pharmacy assistant who now makes shoes, besides the cost, it was also a matter of convenience. He converted the porch of his home into a shoe factory.
“It’s flexible and stress-free. I am close to home and family”, he told Joy Business’ Daryl Kwawu.
Asabea Adjare Agbenu, Managing Partner, Windrow Consult admits it’s become the culture for most startuppers.
“You get to work in an environment that you are very comfortable in. You get to choose your working hours, especially if you are a working mother. You get to rest a bit when you are tired, all your stuff is in one place especially if you are the type the forgets things a lot ”, Mrs. Agbenu explained.
However, when the business grows and clients begin to increase, startuppers become quite uncomfortable disclosing their place of work, at least some of them.
“Nobody takes you seriously because you have an office. Once you are new, they are concerned with the quality of your work but after you grow, they expect you to have an office”.
Benjamin for instance who has been in his business for a little over two years concedes there were times he was overlooked because he works from home.
“Face it! Home is home. You are either mopping or get interrupted by someone and the television doesn’t work too, Mrs. Agbenu adds.
Another challenge Norte points out is an invasion of privacy. The fact that her home may be exposed makes her a bit skeptical about employing more hands. It is also sometimes uncomfortable allowing clients into her home.
At a stage in their business, startuppers would have to take the giant step of moving into an office space.
Mrs. Agbenu says it should not be a decision in a rush. “Look at how much you have and the industry you are entering into. It’s usually better to wait until you break even”.
But does working from home boost or decrease productivity? Subject for another day.
Story by Ghana| Myjoyonline.com | Daryl Kwawu | Joy Business