Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maintaining A Professional Image Is Important

Many people start a home business for the flexibility it offers. Freedom to make your own hours and do something you enjoy can be very appealing. However, just because you are your own boss does not mean that professionalism should go by the wayside. It is just as important to maintain a professional appearance when you work from home, perhaps even more so.

Remember, it is your name listed next to the title “Owner.” If prospects or customers form a negative impression, it is because you provided it to them. A home business should be just as legitimate and ethical as an international corporation. Company letterhead, envelopes, business cards, and an attractive Web site establish the credibility of a home-based venture.

Though many home entrepreneurs deal with customers and prospects online through the telephone or email, a professional demeanor is still important. Customers feel more comfortable calling a separate business telephone line with a professional voice mail greeting than the home phone number with a greeting recorded by the children. Email communications should contain a signature line and an out of office message should be used when traveling for business or pleasure.

Some home business owners meet with customers in person. If their residence is not a suitable meeting place, they should consider renting conference space in an office building or meeting at a nice restaurant. Attire should be suitable for the business and venue but jeans and sneakers are never acceptable.

A home business owner must wear many hats, which increases the chance of making a mistake. If the entrepreneur does not have enough time to devote to functions like accounting or customer service, the work should be outsourced to a professional independent contractor. This frees the owner to work on marketing the business without causing the operational duties to suffer.

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