Running a business from home certainly has its advantages but without the credibility that larger businesses possess, it can sometimes be difficult to get taken seriously.
Still, this doesn't mean a home business owner can't find success, and this doesn't mean the business won't have the capacity to grow. Just look at Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, for example, two entrepreneurial luminaries who eventually grew out of their homes and into (for want of better words) the big leagues!
So, if you're working from home, in whatever capacity, here are some tips to help you get taken seriously. You might then experience the growth that those now running multi-million companies have attained or, at the very least, make yourself a tidy income from whatever type of business you are running.
#1: Benefit from a virtual office address
If you are using your home address on your mailouts, your clients and customers might fail to take you seriously. Especially if you are trying to convey a professional image, it will be a direct giveaway that you are probably working from home in your pj's. This is where a virtual address comes in handy as it can give the impression that your business is bigger than it actually is. You can also benefit from a telephone answering service with the services of a virtual office provider, and again, this will do much to convey a more professional image. Follow the previous link for one example, and consider the benefits for you.
#2: Be careful with your video calls
If you're speaking to clients through Skype or any other type of video communication tech, be sure to dress well before making a call. While working from home can give you the opportunity to wear your pj's or slacks, your dress sense will reflect poorly on your image. Dress smartly then, and consider wearing a suit for those you are really trying to impress.
Be sure to make your calls in your home office too. This is far more professional than chatting with your clients in your living room, and it can also convey the image that you're not working from your home. We have some tips on designing a successful home office, so have a read of our article.
And finally, take note of this BBC news interview that was conducted with one esteemed professional. If you want your clients to take you seriously, be sure not to let your children interrupt you when you're having a serious business conversation!
#3: Brush up your brand image
Enlist the help of the professionals if you need help with this regard. A web designer will give you a professional-looking website, a photographer will give you the quality photos you need for your website and other promotional materials, and a copywriter will provide with you the written content you need to give that excellent first impression.
Be sure to ask your customers and clients for testimonials for your website, and ask them to leave reviews on business review sites as well. And have a separate social media account for your home business because your personal account just won't do if you want to be taken seriously, especially if some of the content is for friends eyes only!
By taking these steps, you will improve your brand image and improve your credibility.
We wish you every success with your home business!
If you are in a position where you are starting to think about working from home, that is a great opportunity that you are going to want to make the most of. It could be that you have started a business which you will run from home, or that you are trying to work from home more as a result of covid. Whatever it is, part of the process is going to be designing and building a home office which you can use and which you are likely to enjoy. Let’s take a look at what might be involved in that process.
Find Your Spot
First up, you need to find the spot in the home where you are going to have your office. Ideally, this will be somewhere that you don’t use for anything else. If you have a spare room, a basement, or even a garden shed, any of those could be ideal for a home office. It should be somewhere away from the general hubbub of the home, and where you are not going to be disturbed - or disturb anyone else in the home either. It also needs to be of a decent size, so that you can comfortably work there.
Build A Desk
Chances are, you are going to want a desk to work at. You can build one yourself easily enough. Anyone with even a basic understanding of woodworking can achieve this, and it is one of the easier projects you can hope to complete. Or you might decide that you want to get hold of one premade and simply install it, which can work just as well. In either case, you will then want to make sure that it is ready to work at, which might include fitting out electrics like a mains neon indicator, ensuring that everything is in its right place, and so on.
Although it might not be completely necessary, there is something wonderful about decorating the home office. It helps to make it a more enjoyable place to work, and it generally means that you are going to have a much better time of making the most of that spot. You can of course decorate it however you wish, but it might be worth bearing in mind just how different colours affect your productivity. Do your research on this and you should find that you can make the right decision.
Stock It Up
Finally, you now need to stock up your home office with everything that you will need to do your job well. As long as you have a place for everything, it is going to be much more the kind of place you hope to work, and you should find that it makes a huge difference to how the office feels to work in. All in all, building your own home office is simple enough, so consider doing it if you are thinking about working from home or starting a business to run from home as soon as possible.
Every business is looking to improve its stance in the world. Ultimately, there's so much competition out there these days that we have to find unique approaches to stand out from the crowd. But when we start to look at the most common approaches such as improving our digital content or reconfiguring the product it seems that everybody has a hand in these approaches. This is why you've got to think differently. But what does standing out from the crowd really entail?
Changing Your Partnerships
You will always be judged by the people you align yourself with. When it comes to ensuring that you have a business that is perceived in the way that you want it to be, it's not just about what you put out there, but it's who you align your beliefs and practices with. It could be to do with finding the right clients or stakeholders but it can also be about the marketing gurus you work with. When it comes to being a niche or someone that stands out from the crowd, it's crucial to ensure that you are working with people that understand what you want to achieve. Companies like Elitelawyermanagement.com could help when you are looking for a very unique way to push forward a unique brand. But ultimately, everybody is pushing their uniqueness these days. This means that the difference between you and the next business is all about the relationships you cultivate, not just in terms of your business partnerships but also in terms of the people you hire. To look different you've got to be different.
Change Your Views
When you work with specific people it's because you align your thoughts with theirs and vice versa. When you alter your views this will guarantee the right calibre of people but it will also ensure that these relationships work towards something that everybody is happy with. But when you change how you view yourself and focus on creating mutually beneficial relationships, this can benefit the company in so many ways. So many businesses are looking out for themselves in order to make themselves look different when, in fact, the best solution might very well be teaming up with people. But when you start to work with the right clients this is because you have altered your perception of things. In order to get the right people on board, you've got to look at what you really want to achieve first. This doesn't mean becoming insular and selfish but getting an understanding of what you really want to achieve as a professional entity.
Don't Sell “Products”
Every business appears all about the profit or the bottom line but there are so many companies out there that need to reconfigure their focus. It's not about selling “products” but it's about selling “solutions.” This very insightful article on Medium.com may prove to be quite inspiring but you have to remember that when a customer approaches you about a product it's about fulfilling their needs, not yours. This is the very definition of great customer service and will truly differentiate you from your competitors.
In order to win the spotlight, it's not about fighting everybody else but it's about going back and looking up what you can achieve without being inherently selfish and conniving.
Having a disaster-proof business means you can keep things running smoothly in the face of problems of all kinds, from data leaks to the current pandemic. With proper crisis planning, you’ll be able to keep serving customers, helping clients, and most importantly, keep your business going.
Step One: Determine The Scope Of The Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity scope includes identifying what areas of your business could be hit, how badly it will be hit, and the right plans to address the risks. For example, you should consider how you’ll manage payroll, communicate with customers, and keep services going.
Being proactive means doing everything you can to protect the business from adverse impacts, instead of reacting to recover. Your plan should include a communication plan, budget, timeline, and roles and responsibilities. Your communication plan should include what you will tell customers, employees, the public, and stakeholders in your business.
Step Two: Identify The Business Functions At Risk
What functions of your business would be most at risk in a disaster? This could include your network, data, and communications devices (a Managed IT service could help with these areas). Your overall operations could be hit by disasters that affect your physical office or storefront. If you know what is at risk, you can plan to protect it.
Make a list of all your hardware and software. Include all the serial numbers, license keys, passwords and technical manuals so you can restore systems. This also helps to process insurance claims faster. Keep these details on the cloud.
Step Three: Define The Disaster Risks
Disaster risk varies by location. For example, if you’re based in California, you’re more likely to be hit by an earthquake than an office in Illinois. What local risk is there of wildfires, hurricanes, floods, or other extreme weather? Plan around those risks. Risk like fires, electricity outages and hacking can hit any business, anywhere.
Step Four: Develop And Test Tactical Components
Find an alternative place for your employees to work. If you have the infrastructure for remote workers, make sure they can keep doing this and take over more business functions. Find co-working spaces and costs that you could use if you needed to.
Backup your data in the cloud. Make sure key business processes are on digital and cloud services, including payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable, customer service, customer relationship management, and others.
What equipment might you need? Do you need a backup generator, for example? Where you will get this equipment if you need it?
For cybersecurity risks, undertake a security assessment to review your processes and network to find any weaknesses.
Step Five: Assess, Refine, And Test
Share the recovery plan with your team. They might have ideas to improve it or spot areas that you’ve missed. If they know the plan, they’ll be ready to go to work if a disaster does occur. The faster the team can react, the less downtime you will have.
Use testing the plan as a training session. Test the plan a couple of times a year to make sure it is still relevant and keep everyone’s memory of the plan fresh.
Can you make a hobby into a career? Well, it depends on how passionate you are about your hobby, and how hard you’re willing to work at it. There are other variables as well; if your hobby is web development, you’re going to be able to turn it into a career a lot easier than someone whose hobby is painting frogs. Sure, there’s likely a market for it, but you’ll have to find the niche industry in which you can use that talent and hobby to make a whole career from it.
In a recent blog, product development cycle was discussed. One of the key tips was, “Find Out How Much The Opportunity Is Worth.” Is the opportunity that you’re creating really worth enough to invest time and money in? If you’re willing to do the leg work, and continue even when the going gets tough, then potentially yes. Again, life is more than about the income you’re receiving. Having said that, you still need to pay the bills.
Let’s take a look at how to decide if your hobby would be a good career path.
1. Do you know the goal?
If you simply say, “I like to garden,” then that’s not enough of a goal. Millions of people enjoy gardening; what is the goal though? Is it to sell your own hybrid plant? Could you potentially create a new fertilizer? You may need to think a little bigger than just your own home or backyard when trying to think of the end goal of your hobby-turned-business.
2. Will I enjoy it when it is no longer just a hobby?
This a key question to ask. If you’re suddenly forced to do your hobby for hours no end, will you still derive joy from it? If you love spending time wrenching on car engines at the end of the day because you sit behind a computer for work, is it really something you want to switch up? Be honest with yourself: if you suddenly had clients relying on you to perform your hobby, would you still enjoy it? If so, maybe it’s work looking into as a career. Just remember, the only person that can answer this question is you, so be honest with yourself.
3. Would it be better as a “side hustle?”
If you’re finding that you’re not sure how to turn your hobby into a full-blown career, what about the option of turning it into a side hustle, or a side gig? If, for instance, you enjoy collecting rare coins, you could consider going a step further to trade metal CFDs. Instead of spending all your time with your hobby, you can allow it to ebb and flow as you see fit.
Additionally, if you know you can’t pay the bills with your hobby, you may be better off keeping it as a side hustle and trying to find a different career to find joy from.
Be honest with yourself
If you are stuck in a career that isn’t fulfilling, you don’t necessarily need to just go find a similar job. Think creative, but be honest with yourself when you’re thinking about trying to change a hobby into a career.
No matter how strong our business plans, at some point we are going to run into a problem. Often this will be something that wasn’t of our creation, such as a recession or even the recent COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t get through life without hitting a little turbulence on the way, but we can control the severity of impact if we are prepared.
Regular crisis planning can help your business to avoid tricky situations and will prepare you for anything that crops up. The military uses a great strategy called the War Room Technique. Essentially they sit down in one room with all the critical personnel in the business. They discuss all possible threats and then work through all the potential outcomes. They then create a plan for each and every one of these. It can take some time, but the results will leave you with a set of solutions and actions, regardless of the situation.
If you have a small business, then you could outsource to help you highlight any potential issues. Look at IT support companies, specialist business accountants and PR consultants. These people can come to your business annually and work through all the areas of your yearly business plan that could be an issue.
For IT, you could utilise the experience of an ethical hacker. This is someone who operates like a criminal hacker, but they are on your side. Their job is to expose any issues within your online setup. They will find weaknesses and then come back to you with a report to show you what they were able to access and how. They can then work with an IT company to reduce your risk and help you stay one step ahead of any cyberattacks.
A PR consultant will run through your marketing plans for the next year and help you create a PR crisis plan. This will include a list of questions that could be asked of your company in the event of a crisis. Having this list pre-prepared with answers allows all of your key staff to speak in the same voice. It will help you to overcome any tricky media or consumer enquiries regardless of the crisis.
Finances are essential for your company, so speaking to your accounts team or outsourcing an independent business accountant could help you prepare for any unforeseen issues. Many businesses invest profits back into the company or into assets. This is great for growth, but in the event of a crisis can be a mistake. Your business should always have accessible savings to help secure the company in the event of an unexpected situation. Be this a cyber attack which takes you offline, a pandemic which causes you to close, a fire on your premises or even ill-health.
Building a strong crisis plan and reviewing it annually will help ensure you are prepared for anything that life throws at you, even through unprecedented times or unchartered waters.
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on businesses across the world, forcing many to close their doors, and even more to drop employees who desperately need the work. Those with the resources to turn their business into a remote one have managed to survive, and this process has shown their owners that working like this can provide a lot of different benefits. To start, having your team work from home will be much cheaper than hosting them all in an office, and there are many more reasons to go down this route. But what will you need to kick this off for your business on a permanent basis?
Work Management Tools
One of the biggest challenges that comes with having a remote team is managing the work that everyone has to do. With everyone working under their own steam, you will need to ensure that they know exactly what they need to do each day, while also having the tools to monitor their progress. Websites like Asana can provide you with everything you need to assign work to your team and make sure that they are doing it on time. Many companies are finding that systems like this can work better than the ones they used back in their offices.
There wouldn’t be much point in moving your team over to remote work if you are going to keep your offices open, especially if you don’t plan on using them again. Of course, though, you will still need a business address and phone number for your clients and customers to contact you on. Solving this problem is easier than ever before, with companies like Virtual Headquarters offering forwarding address and professional telephone answering services. This will give you the chance to maintain the illusion that your business is operating from a single office, and this could even be at a better address than your old office.
Keeping on contact with your team is going to be vital when they’re all working from home. Keeping track of their work, making sure everyone is happy, and simply knowing that you can get in touch are all very important, but you need to provide your team with the tools to do this effectively. Video chat services like Zoom have become extremely popular in recent months, while instant messaging services can also be extremely useful. Many of these tools can be used for free without having to compromise on quality, making it nice and easy to keep in touch with your employees.
Working from home is going to become a lot more popular over the next few years. More and more businesses are seeing the benefits of this work, and it’s getting easy for normal people to take advantage of the tools that make it easier. Of course, though, you will still have to work hard to get your business into the right position, and this could mean having to learn quite a bit along the way.
Every business goes through changes, and every single business plan that’s ever been drawn up has undergone revisions. Indeed, in the working world, change is a great thing, and can ensure a company goes from strength to strength as its lifecycle goes on.
So, if some things need to be changed within your business, it’s time to take a step back and think about them. Some changes for the benefit of the long term could be made here, and you could really make a difference to your company. Here’s some ideas to start thinking about.
Think About Your Company Culture
Company culture makes or breaks a business. You and your employees need to be able to trust one another, and transparency will always be key. Most of all, company culture is something that needs to stay positive and free flowing; even just one toxic person within the company can mean the entity of your workforce is feeling the negative effects.
You also need to think about the goals you set as a company - what are you working towards? Can you see the effects of your results? And could some more attainable, real world goals be set to ensure your workforce are feeling moralised?
Consider Proper Communication Tools
Communication is essential in a business environment, and even just a single mixed or dropped message can mean the whole work day goes to waste. Of course, you have private messaging, and software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but are they doing enough for you? And are they secure enough to make use of in the long term?
You could think about setting up your own intranet for use within your company; something only you and your employees have access to, and can only be used for work purposes. It could be a great way to keep people on task, and it’s one of the most flexible forms of accessing a digital workplace, as well as safely and securely share messages with one another.
It Might Be Time to Look into Fleet Options
Of course, your company is getting bigger and bigger, and because of that, it might be time to think about time constraints. One of the main problems you’ll be dealing with is commuting - people needing to get to and fro from the workplace, in a timely and representative manner.
Not to mention the amount of delivery you’ll have to cope with on your own too; you’ll need a vehicle or two that’s capable of ferrying a large amount of items wherever they need to be. It’s why plenty of Van Offers are circulating right now; usually you can get a discount on a model if you’re buying on a business expense basis, and this could very well be the start of your own company fleet.
Planning business changes can occur in both the intangible and tangible sense; if you need a better working environment, or a way to get to work, you can make that change.
In order for your business to succeed, you need to have the right team of people in place propelling it forward day after day. Without that, your business will fail to launch and your dreams of success will be in ruin. Not many businesses can succeed off the back of one person’s aims and ambitions. It takes a team effort, and that makes building and motivating your team one of the most important tasks you’ll have. Here’s how to do it.
Create an Environment That Allows Your Team to Take Risks
You should work to create the kind of environment that gets the best out of the team at your disposal. You should look for ways to encourage your staff to go their own way and take risks. Employees that feel empowered and liberated tend to be the ones who do the best work. Give them to the space to do their best work and it’s your business that will benefit in the long-term.
Find Ways to Boost Morale and Team Spirit
There are lots of ways to boost your team’s morale and team spirit. You need to make sure they enjoy the work they do and enjoy coming to work. And you should also take steps to make sure that the way in which they work is focused on togetherness and teamwork. When people rely on one another and work together, there’ll be a better team spirit among your group.
Learn How to Maximize the Talent Available to You
The team you have is there for you to mold and shape. It’s up to you as the leader of the team to make sure that you’re doing everything within your power to get the most out of them. With good leadership and the right kind of direction, even a mediocre team can achieve great things. So your role in this is going to be key.
Get Help with the Hiring Process
Building a team always involves hiring new people, and that’s always something that you should enter into carefully. Places like DSC Personnel can help with the process and offer their expertise when you’re looking for certain kinds of employees. Getting this help might help you to find the right people more easily and avoid the mistakes that small businesses so often make in the hiring process.
Recognize Each Team Member’s Contribution
Finally, you should make sure that you recognize the contribution that each person in the team makes. Everyone has something to offer and it’s important that you recognize that and make the most of each person’s individual talents because that’s how you’ll get the most out of them.
If you want your business to achieve lasting success, you need to make sure that you have a team in place that’s capable of making that happen. Follow the advice above and make sure that your team has the qualities and abilities you need, and that you have the talents to get the most out of them.
Being cooped up at home means a lot more sitting and scoffing! The Mirror has a guide of how you can stay healthy during the lockdown!
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.