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        Another AHBBO Article
        Creating A Professional Image For Your Home-Based Business

        © 2013 Elena Fawkner

        Like it or not, there is still a segment of the population who
        will erroneously conclude that you and your business are
        less than professional and competent just because you run
        your business out of your home.

        Dumb? Obviously. Narrow-minded? Yes. Wrong? Absolutely.
        Unfair? No question. Want their business? Well ... yes. OK,
        then you're going to have to play the game and beat them at it.
        Here's how to do it. It's a little sneaky, but hey, all's fair in love
        and home-based business.


        HARMLESS FICTIONS

        The name of the game is creating the right image ... employing
        a few harmless fictions, in other words.  First off, incorporate
        or register a fictitious business name. Nothing screams
        "PROFESSIONAL!" to Potential Client as an honest-to-
        goodness corporate or business name on your letterhead and
        business cards.   Never mind that anyone can spend ten bucks
        and register a DBA, it at least *looks* professional, and that's
        what counts.


        OFFICE ADDRESS

        The next problem you have with Potential Client is that
        you don't want your home address to give you away.

        What do you think looks more professional in Potential
        Client's eyes: 123 Cherryblossom Way, Apt. 103, Suburbia
        or 123 Major Blvd, Level 37, Big City?

        The answer is a serviced office. These don't have to cost a lot
        of money if you use them pretty much as a post office but they
        CAN give your business all the big-city prestige your potential
        client is looking for.   You can also use a post office box for
        this purpose but many a Potential Client will be on to you in a
        flash.  They didn't just fall off the turnip truck, you know. (Right.)

        An additional advantage is that you can use your serviced
        office to meet with Potential Client. After all, the last thing
        you want is to have him coming to your REAL office. Heaven
        forbid! Most serviced offices will make meeting rooms available
        for a flat fee.


        TELEPHONES

        This is probably the trickiest part of all. How do you know
        it's safe to answer the phone in your home office even though
        the sounds of your young children playing just outside your
        office door will be heard by the caller? You simply don't.

        There is a simple way of dealing with this. Only give your
        home office number to existing clients. They already know
        you are professional and competent and should therefore
        have no issue with the fact that you work from home.

        For anyone else, give out the number of an answering service
        that will answer the call in your business name and can tell
        callers that you're in a meeting with another client and take
        a message. Your serviced office will offer this service as well.
        You can then return the call at a time when you know
        tell-tale background noise won't give you away.

        In fact, a trick some people who work from home use when
        returning calls is to run a tape of office background noise.
        This both gives the impression you are working in a large
        office AND it masks any slight tell-tale household noises that
        may, despite your best efforts, give you away.

        Once Potential Client becomes an actual client and you've
        proved to his satisfaction that you are professional and
        competent, you can tell him that you've decided to start
        working out of your home to reduce unnecessary overheads
        and give him your direct phone number.

        No matter how enlightened your client-base is as a general
        rule, it is imperative that the telephone be answered in
        a businesslike manner. I don't care how sympathetic,
        supportive and admiring your clients are of your decision to
        balance your work and family commitments by running a
        successful business from home, there is nothing cute
        about a five year old answering your business line. It's
        unprofessional, not to mention downright annoying.

        So have a separate phone line for your business and
        lay down the law to your household that no-one, NO-ONE,
        is to answer it but you (unless, of course, you're employing
        your teenage children in your business in which case they
        should be instructed on how to answer the telephone in a
        professional manner). If you're away from your office,
        divert your calls to your answering service.


        EMAIL

        Something else to think about is the image of your email
        address. Which is Potential Client to consider more
        corporate/professional: maryann@isp.com or
        m.entrepreneur@mycompanyllc.com?

        It's worth spending $35 a year on your own domain name
        just for the professional email address, even if you never
        intend to create a website. Mind you if you're going to have
        your own domain why NOT create your own website? But
        that's another article ...


        STATIONERY AND PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS

        It goes without saying that your stationery, business cards
        and other promotional materials should reflect a professional
        image. If you have incorporated your business or registered
        a fictitious business name as recommended earlier, this is
        a good start. A company or business name on letterhead and
        business cards can't fail to convey a professional image
        provided they are professionally printed on quality stationery
        stock.


        OFFICE EQUIPMENT

        There's no point having quality stationery if you're going
        to use a cheap and cheerful inkjet printer for your
        correspondence. Invest in a medium quality laser printer
        instead. They don't cost a lot of money these days and
        you can get a unit that triples as a fax machine and
        photocopier for only a few hundred dollars.

        So, what do you think? You may be thinking "I wonder
        whether it's really worth the effort to try and please just a small
        number of potential clients". Is it worth it? Well, look at it this
        way. Are these suggestions really anything more than basic,
        common sense, professional business practices? Regardless
        of what your potential and existing clients may think about
        the concept of businesses run out of their owners' homes,
        first impressions DO count.

        _________________________

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        ** Reprinting of this article is welcome! **
        This article may be freely reproduced provided that: (1) you
        include the following resource box; and (2) you only mail to a
        100% opt-in list.

        Here's the resource box to use if reprinting this article:

        Elena Fawkner is editor of Home-Based Business Online. Best business ideas and opportunities for your home-based or online business.

        Copyright 1998-2017, AHBBO.com. All rights are reserved. Tuesday, 26-Jan-2021 03:05:22 CST

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