This week RUTH MCKAY talks to three of Scotland’s entrepreneurs who work from home…
RORY MALCOLM ASSOCIATES.
Rory Malcolm Associates is one of the 12 per cent of professional service businesses run from home. The story is familiar. Trading since 1998, Rory (pictured) was originally employed as an expert consultant in oil spillages before deciding to go it alone and start his own business. Now offering professional services to the tourism and hospitality industry, it is now a home based company in Fife.
Rory says that like two thirds of the businesses who participated in the FSB report, the nature of his business meant that he did not need an office. He also said that he enjoyed the flexibility of working from home and that the reduced overheads made a big difference to a small business.
Like the Ross Consultancy, Rory also believes that there needs to be greater recognition of home based businesses and that they should be taken more seriously given their considerable contribution to the economy and the job market.
Says Rory: “I think that the government needs to understand more about home based businesses and how we work. It needs to simplify PAYE for small businesses like mine and make it easier for us to do business.”
THE ROSS CONSULTANCY
Set up more than 15 years ago, the Ross Consultancy trades throughout the UK offering recruitment advertising to a wide range of firms.
Like half of all small businesses in Scotland this is a home-based business. Lynne Johannessen, the business owner, took over four years ago – the previous owners also ran it from their home.
“All of our business is done online so I have no need to work from or pay for an office” says Lynne. She adds that working from home has many benefits including the flexibility it offers when juggling work and raising her children.
However, based in the Scottish Borders Lynne spoke of the challenges of having a poor and unreliable broadband service and the impact on her business.
When I asked Lynne about the FSB home-based business report she said, “I do think the government needs to do more to recognise home based businesses and realise the benefit they contribute to the economy and society.”
Hard working, successful and a well-established business trading throughout the UK, the business is one of many small firms in Scotland now contributing to the £19.7 billion a year generated by home based enterprises.
With an eye for the next big thing in comedy, Rosalind Romer has the envious job of touring comedy festivals around the UK talent spotting for her next comedy show. Shaun Walsh and Josh Widdicome are just two of the latest comedians to have featured at one of Punchlines events before having gone on to achieve their own TV shows.
There’s a Scottish tour planned for later this year, so Rosalind is working hard from her home-based business in Edinburgh. When I spoke to her about why she had chosen to work from home her response reflected the growing trend in the small business community today.
“My business isn’t restricted to an office, even a home based office. I travel all over the UK attending comedy festivals so I’m used to working from my phone, a coffee shop – anywhere really. I think that’s how lots of small businesses work today and I think it’s much more culturally acceptable than it was before.”