Image – it’s the most important aspect your business will ever need. Financially, it’s your customers that keep you ticking over, and your clients will help you to develop appropriately, so you are keeping ahead of the curve. But the one thing that overrides these aspects is having a proper image in the first place. When you are running a business from home, there may be other things that take precedence in your overall attitudes to running a business. For example, being at home, especially when you’ve just started out, the novelty of setting your own working hours is an amazing luxury. You might feel that you are finally in control of your own life! But running a business from home is arguably a bigger challenge than if you were to run a business through the conventional means, such as an office, with employees, and an overall structure. This is something that so many of us lack in when we are working from home, either due to external influences, such as the people we live with, or, internal conflicts. The impact of your business image can be to your detriment if you are running a business from home. Why is this, and what can you do to offset the negative?

Lack Of A Professional Veneer

You can argue that working at home makes life easier for you. It definitely cuts back on issues like costs. And, when you are growing your business, you could definitely implement remote working resources for other staff members. By having other members of staff work at home, you don’t need a physical office space, but you need to make sure at the same time that you are keeping up your communication skills effectively. The big problem at the very beginning when you are running a business from home is that you are finding your feet, and while it can take at least a year for any business to get themselves set up properly, it could be to your detriment that you were unable to figure out these kinks earlier. The biggest problem any business has when they are running their operations out of their home is that they are, very simply, not being taken seriously by the outside world. This is evident in one simple item of information that gives the game away: your business address. This is going to be in emblazoned on all of your correspondence. And if your residential address doesn’t have an ounce of professional veneer to it, people are going to make assumptions. They will automatically assume that your business is small fry. But you don’t want them to know this! The solution? Make the most of virtual office services. There are so many services now that provide a mailbox for small, homegrown businesses, so that correspondence goes to this mailbox that has a professional, city center address, and then forwards the mail to you. It’s subject to a small fee every month, but when it comes to buying a professional image, this is a very small cost. Your location may be letting you down, so purchase the impression of another one.

Overpromising

It’s easy to get cocky and confident when working at home, you might have everything organized, and ready to go. This is a great attitude, but if you promise the world to customers, and you don’t deliver what you promise, your business is going to sink faster than the Titanic. If you overpromise and under deliver, this is the hallmark of many coltish businesses, so, by working on managing your workload effectively at home, you will be able to get that balance right. If you attempted to operate a 24/7 service to your customers, when it’s just you managing the company, it’s going to be physically impossible. You will succumb to stress eventually. And while the option would be to get outside help in, if you haven’t been paid yet, you are unlikely able to get outside help unless you have a lot of money stockpiled. It’s going to hurt your business if you hurt your customers’ feelings at the outset. And now, as customers have a bigger mouthpiece than ever, such as using online reviews to give your business a terrible reputation, you need to focus on the customer. For a detailed breakdown of the impact of customer reviews, www.brightlocal.com has some information to take on board. Keeping your business ticking over steadily, by focusing on the customers and clients you have now, and reiterating that important, human notion, of customer service and personability, this will help you with regards to your workload, but it also has a positive impact on your word of mouth marketing.

Not Having Appropriate Resources

Resources is such a general term, but a considerable one. Every business requires their own specific resources to keep them firing on all cylinders. This depends on your business plan and your business ethos. If you don’t have the relevant resources in place, from the clients to the suppliers, it’s going to be difficult, not just for you and the business, but the people who live with you. This is something that lots of home-based entrepreneurs don’t consider. You might have supportive partners who are pushing you forward, but when they find that their kitchen and spare room is stacked floor to ceiling in boxes, it’s impacting their quality of life. Of course, the option would be to move your operation into an office, but if your finances don’t dictate that right now, what can you do? You’ve got to make the most of suppliers who can do things on site. Now, this can cost money, but if it’s the difference between a happy home life and a miserable one, then it’s an expense you have to spare. The work-life balance is such a major consideration now that, for those who are running their business from home, blurring the lines in your home environment between business and work, especially those early days, could be your undoing. Instead, it’s important to look at outsourcing, even if you run your business from home. Every large company does it now, of course, on a grander scale. Now, it’s beneficial for you to make the most of businesses that you can pay to do a lot of the physical tasks for you. A company like www.clsmith.com, that provides material packaging is one of those mass-produced businesses that can benefit you. When you are looking to package items on a grand scale, the limits of your home will be tested. Outsourcing becomes a valuable component of the home working empire, in this respect. Instead, embracing what you can realistically outsource, whether it’s small tasks like admin or large tasks like packaging and manufacturing, it helps you to balance, on a personal level, your work life and your home life.

A Lack Of Structure (At Home)

A considerable problem that most workers have in their own environment is a lack of productive structure. This could be due to problems at home, such as children or too many distractions, but this is easily offset by implementing a proper structure. This whole idea of work-life balance is thrown into disarray when the topic of home working comes to mind for so many people. But, if you are an entrepreneur who is focused and dedicated to improving your business, the structure would already be there. For those coltish entrepreneurs who are still blissed out in the fact that they are working from home and are, in essence, free, this could be a very rude awakening. Everybody has their own working methods, and some work best at night, others stick to a regime, such as the 9 to 5 working pattern, but it’s something you’ve got a nail down at the very start. Look at your home environment, is it actually conducive to productivity? You are running a business, and it’s vital for you to put your business head on when you sit down to work. Something as basic as a home office can help compartmentalize your work life and your home life, especially under the same roof. So, when you are working at implementing appropriate structure, it’s all about the vital mindset you are in. If you don’t have the appropriate home structure, it’s time to undertake a revaluation of what needs improving. If you don’t, then you will be looking back on your business venture in a couple of years time with a lot of regrets. Regrets that you didn’t work hard enough, but also regret that you didn’t take it seriously.

Putting that appropriate business image out there is all about working hard, but your home environment could be letting you down in so many ways that you didn’t even realize. So, consider your home environment. Look around you, is it conducive to work? And not just in how your work office is set up, but does the business as a whole look professional in itself, or are you just setting yourself up for a fall by running your company out of your home? Think about it.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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