One potential challenge that can pop up when you regularly work from home is the perception that your business isn’t as serious or as professional as those that have separate commercial office spaces.
You may find that you can put your business in a more competitive position by not broadcasting the fact that you work from home. Here are a few ways to do that.
Get a Marketable Mailing Address
You may not want use your home address as your mailing address for your business, especially if you plan to use an address on your website and business cards. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without a mailing address on your marketing materials. You can get a post office box at your local branch, or you can get a street mailing address by going through a mailbox service. Either option will allow you to create a marketable mailing address for your business that is not your home.
Rent Office Space for Client or Business Meetings
If you need to meet with clients face-to-face in your business, and don’t want them to come to your house, you can rent office space for meetings. There are companies that allow you to rent an office on a daily or even hourly basis so you can conduct business in a professional environment. You can also use shared spaces or co-working locations to have scheduled meetings or recurring office hours.
Improve Customer Experience with a Professional Phone System
Sometimes all it takes to change the perception of your business is a professional phone system. With such a system, callers hear an automated voice introducing your company and are presented with various options for connecting with your company (i.e., press 1 for sales, 2 for customer service, 3 for billing). Many of these systems are provided virtually through companies and often include call forwarding, fax services and even email notification of new calls and messages.
Leverage Your Team to Create a Larger Business Experience
If you work from home but have a remote team that supports your work, you can give your team face time with your customers to adjust the perception of your home-based business. Consider assigning specific duties to different people to spread out the work and give clients multiple contacts. For example, a remote administrative assistant can handle incoming calls, schedule meetings and follow up with clients, while a salesperson can conduct initial calls and meetings.
Whether or not you decide to mask the fact that you are running a home-based business, it’s important to stay professional and consistent. In many cases, your customers probably won’t care where you work, as long as they are happy with your products/services and customer service. Work on perfecting those factors first, and the home office issue will take care of itself.