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June 02, 2021

Recession forcing many small businesses to move their offices home

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

If you’re like my parents, getting the last kid graduated and out of the house was a genuine landmark achievement.

The lesson: success is found in the real world, not while sitting at home watching Fresh Prince  re-runs in your boxers.

Yet in what’s come as a (perhaps) sombre twist in the stalwart economy, many entrepreneurs have now found themselves unable to stay afloat with pricey commercial space costs and are moving their headquarters to a familiar setting. The home office has become the new downtown office.

The Wall Street Journal reports the first cost that many small businesses, some healthy companies for as many as 12 years, are likely to ditch when sales struggle is the $X,000-a-month rent charge that can no longer be justified.

And while it sounds great to just roll over in the morning and stumble into work without changing your jammies, the transition hasn’t been easy for many.

For starters, as the WSJ says, many entrepreneurs have been troubled to find that Old Man Government will stick out his hand when you decide to operate a business from home.

Costly home business zoning fees have hit many owners by surprise and the amount of red tape it appears you need to jump through to apply for Canadian regulations, licenses and permits looks positively headache-inducing.

Add to the pain is the reaction from the neighbourhood to your running business from home. While a small web design company, for example, won’t raise any red flags, a barber or masseuse having a constant flow of customers in and out of your subdivision home could concern onlookers. According to the WSJ, complaints again home-operated businesses aren’t all that infrequent.

If you are considering operating a small business from home, make sure you check out this article suggesting how important geography is when dealing with customers. Where you live, after all, can be just as important as the product or service you may provide.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...