Many business people, especially those just starting out are nervous about letting their clients find out they have a home office. First they don’t know what to say is when someone requests a meeting at their office and second, they are afraid the client will think they are “small potatoes” because I don’t have an office. How do you address this challenge?
I was a manufacturer’s rep for over 20 years operating out of a home office when I was not travelling all over Canada & the US. First I will tell you that many home offices, mine included are better equipped and more professional than most of the cubby holes and “pods” I have had when working for large corporations. The second point is to not call it a home office just call it your office.
The “home office perception” is more often your problem not your clients.
Here are some quick justifications to support your decision
You are doing your part to protect the environment by not commuting
You can help more customers by not commuting, it’s 2-3 extra productive hours
You are a happier & a more productive person
Many successful businesses started in college dorms, basements & garages
o DELL, MICROSOFT, FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, B2B Sales Connections
What if I need to meet with a client or prospect?
• Lets meet at a Coffee Shop and we can both get away from the distractions of our offices and then we can really focus on our project
• I am a member of the local chamber or board of trade. We can meet in our boardroom. (very inexpensive)
• I will be in your area ____ I would be happy to meet you at your office to save you the commute here and back.
Dangers of the Home Office
• A home office is often an open invitation for family to interrupt you when you are supposed to be working. Make sure they respect your office hours.
• Barking dogs and crying children are not a good thing when you are on the phone or Skype with clients.
• Relaxed attire is one thing but if you are attending a video meeting ditch the ball caps and old worn out sweatshirts. Show your pride and professionalism; remember a new prospect is assessing you.
• Set your office hours and stick to them. It’s really easy for someone who has never worked on their own lose their focus. A bit of time in the garden, coffee with a neighbour, watching TV, a trip to the mall, simple errands and small distractions. You can quickly turn a full time business into a part time commitment.
• Network! If you are having trouble working by yourself then join a local chamber or board of trade and set a goal to network with new people at least once a week. It will help you build your contact base and keep you energized.
• Find a local restaurant or coffee shop run by someone who will appreciate the business and invite your clients to meet you there. You will begin a relationship with the owner and help a local business person grow.
A home office does not mean you are not serious about your business. It will come to represent exactly the image you choose set. Choose to be professional and that’s what you will portray.
If you are looking for ideas on how to generate more leads and close more sales check out our B2B Sales resource centre for how to information. If you need help building your business consider investing in a coach or mentor. Studies have shown that people who invest in outside help grow their business do so almost twice as fast as people who try and go it alone.
AIM HIGHER !
Robert J. Weese