Starting a new business from scratch involves a certain degree of sacrifice. Sleep, money and stability are amongst the first casualties but there is also a risk that you may be jeopardising your privacy by starting this new venture. We live in an age where over-sharing, whether it is on social media or in real life, is far too easy, and it is far too easy to give away more than you anticipate.
So unless your new business is becoming a professional celebrity, you should consider these tips to try and maintain a divide between your personal and professional life. This should keep the family happy too as creating a new business will already demand your time and attention, you don’t want to be divulging their secrets too!
Starting at home – an invasion of privacy?
Many successful businesses started from a spare room in the founder’s home. For instance, the very first Apple computers were built in the garage belonging to Steve Jobs’ parents.
As your business grows you will be able to set up dedicated offices where you can receive mail or visitors, maintaining a strict split between work and home. But until that point, you need to ask yourself – do I want to risk unsolicited visits from salespeople or customers to my home?
People turning up on your doorstep without an invitation is a big invasion of privacy, so your first order of business is to identify an alternative.
An alternate address
In the early days of your business, it makes sense to set up an alternative address where you can receive mail. This means that your important business documents don’t get jumbled up with birthday cards and spam that comes through the letterbox.
This could be a mail-forwarding service, a rented mailbox or you may find that your company accountant will allow you to use their address to register your business at.
Under UK law all businesses are now legally obliged to provide a legal registered office address, so you do have to have one! Since 2006 it has been a legal requirement that this address is present on all official communications, including emails, and you could be heavily fined for failing to disclose the information, so make sure it’s an address you are comfortable using.
Protecting your website domain information
Long before officially registering a new company, many entrepreneurs will secure the relevant domain name for the new company’s website. However, this too may present a privacy problem.
To register a domain, you will be asked for a contact address, and in the rush to get signed up you may forget that this address will be stored alongside the WHOIS record for the domain – which is publicly accessible.
It is possible to shield these details for individuals, so that personal address details are not published. You should always choose a domain registrar who allows you to use the private WHOIS registration option. Remember to go back and update those details once your business is registered and when you change addresses.
Starting a new business is a demanding task and requires complete dedication, but that does not mean that you should give up your privacy willingly. Be careful what information you state where, even personal social media accounts will be scrutinised if they are publicly available.
To learn more about private domain registrations, or just getting the IT set up correctly for your new business, please get in touch.
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