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.
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.
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.
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.