With traditional small businesses, one of the biggest costs is your office or retail location. Thankfully, online tools make starting a home-based business a great alternative these days. Even when your clientele needs to visit, having a home office keeps your costs down and allows you to show off what makes you unique. Being home-based requires careful planning to make sure your office creates the right impression and is the productive space you need to succeed.
The reality of running a home-based business is that you can’t simply wait for clients to find you, which means that developing a solid marketing strategy is key early on. If you already have an idea of the business you want to start, do a little market research next to see how similar businesses fare in your area. Market research will also help you become familiar with your customer base and the best way to reach them.
Every business sector has its own unique requirements, and some ideas will require a more thorough business plan than others. In general, though, Money Crashers recommends skipping the traditional business plan template and instead, after you conduct market research, focus most of your planning energy on developing a marketing strategy. Old-fashioned word-of-mouth is often the best place to start. Get in touch with people who are already on your contact list and get out in your community to meet new people.
To truly branch out, you want to think about creating a solid web presence. It’s important to start marketing in spaces where your clientele spends a lot of time, such as Instagram. The beauty of internet marketing is that you can do it right from your home office by spending a little time building up your followers. Two of the best ways to increase Instagram followers involves joining Instagram engagement groups and reposting other people’s content, both of which help keep your clients — and potential clients — engaged with your business.
The Nine-to-Five Grind
When you work from home, your hours may not be nine to five, but the day-to-day effort is what will drive your success. Being your own boss is rewarding — and sometimes challenging! Many home-based business owners find that creating a checklist for each day helps them stay on task and be more productive.
Your home office space plays a big role in productivity too. If your business requires clientele to visit, you want your space to be efficient and comfortable, while also coming across as welcoming and professional, to make a positive first impression. This space should always be neat and clean, including all surfaces and floors. Organization is your friend too. According to Entrepreneur, not having enough storage is a common mistake people make when setting up a home office. Having plenty of storage is key to staying organized, and an organized space is essential for working efficiently and making clients feel confident in your professionalism.
If at all possible, it’s best for your home office to be a designated spot that is separate from your living space. This helps you keep a healthy delineation between work and home life, which keeps distractions away and presents a more professional look to clients. Something as simple as pocket doors can create that division you need.
You want the overall look and feel of your home office to be professional, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show off your personal style. Working from home gives you the opportunity to break out of the gray and white of corporate offices and instead choose colors you love and that serve as inspiration. Don’t be afraid to go bold with color, and use an accent chair and accessories to give warmth and create a welcoming vibe.
These personal touches make clients connect with you as a real person. Your overall goal is to create a space that helps you get the job done while also sending the right message to clients. And above all, don’t forget that clean is king when it comes to making that best first impression!
Photo credit: Pexels