SOHO is an acronym for Small Office Home Office, a term used to distinguish small businesses from mid-sized and large businesses. Technically, SOHO businesses have zero to ten employees, although many of them are one-person shops. (See SME for more on the subject of business definitions by size.)
Many SOHOs are actually home based businesses, which is where the "home office" in small office home office comes from. But the term SOHO has a broader sweep; it includes everyone who works in a small office, whether as employer or employee.
SOHO businesses have proliferated with the advent of technology that allows home workers to connect to the Internet wherever they are and with the increase of goods and services designed specifically for the small office home office market, such as multifunction printers and home office desks.
Many professionals, including lawyers, travel agents and financial advisors, now operate SOHO businesses. The increase in consulting businesses over the past several decades has also led to an increase in SOHO businesses. New types of businesses based entirely on the Small Office Home Office model, such as Virtual Assistants, have been created.
The numbers of small office home office businesses should increase steadily as increasing numbers of corporate businesses embrace telecommuting.