There are many advantages to running your business from a home office, among them, the lack of commuting time and low overheads. However, the downside is that you can appear less professional to clients, mainly because you don’t have an impressive office space or a prestigious address.
The good news is that these issues can be overcome without huge additional expense and without you having to change the way you work.
The Virtual Office
The Workstation provides a comprehensive guide to using a virtual office including the many benefits of doing so. One key benefit is the reassurance it can provide about your business to potential clients. People who work from home can be viewed as less professional. This is because they don’t have the infrastructure which would usually be provided by working in an office. A virtual office gives clients confidence because it supplies you with a physical mailing address and phone number, meaning they may not even be aware your business is run from your dining room table.
Some virtual offices also provide casual workplaces where you can meet with clients. This is particularly important if your work requires you to get together regularly, and it provides a much better impression than a coffee shop.
Just because you work from a home office doesn’t mean you won’t need to entertain clients. Rather than booking them into a hotel, why not step up the professionalism and pay for them to stay in a fully serviced apartment. As Signet Apartments outlines, serviced apartments offer luxury and additional space, so that your clients can fully enjoy their experience. In addition, apartments offer free parking and use of high speed internet connectivity. They are often also substantially cheaper than hotels, so you can impress while still keeping within budget.
Cloud computing now makes it much easier to communicate with clients on a regular basis. Even a laptop and software such as Skype or Google Hangouts makes it possible to have face to face conversations.
If you want to create a good impression of where you work, make sure the area around you in your home office looks professional and is neat and tidy. If you don’t have an actual office at least partition off an area or let your webcam face a clean wall. Clients don’t need to be distracted by dishes in the sink or a pile of children’s toys.
You run a home based business but this doesn’t mean that the professionalism of your marketing should be inferior.
Branding, if professionally done, always creates a good impression with clients. Make sure your logo and company stationery are created by an experienced graphic designer. Your stationery should also include your mailing address and phone number, which are provided by the virtual office.
Because you don’t have a physical brick and mortar office or store, your website is your shop window on the world. Therefore, it needs to be designed and developed by web professionals. It should have an easy to navigate interface which drives visitors to take action, whether that’s to request more information, sign up for your newsletter or make a purchase.
Your Own Professionalism
You may work from home but that doesn’t make you any less professional than someone from a corporate environment. Make every interaction you have with potential clients a positive experience for them. Be true to your word and deliver what you promise within the timeframe you agreed.
These six areas add up to creating a home business that is as professional as any office based one. Once you can demonstrate that you have the resources, infrastructure and commitment to meet your clients’ needs they will probably not even be aware that your business is based from home, and if they are, it will no longer be a concern for them.