When you’re running a home-based business, it’s easy to get a bit lax where professionalism is concerned. Fortunately, with a few small steps and a helping hand here and there, you can shine a big bright light on your small business.
How to Make Your Home Business a Professional Endeavor
Not sure how? Keep reading with these tips from QUIK Websites.
Handle business basics first.
Obviously, by now, you know what you want to do for a living. But having an idea is not the same as having a structured organization. One of the first things that you should do is to decide if forming an LLC or working as a sole proprietor is right for you. Most new businesses choose an LLC format because it takes financial liabilities off of you. This means that clients can only go after business-owned assets; as a sole proprietor, your home and personal bank accounts are business property. To form an LLC, you’ll need to file a certificate of formation, which you can do online without the expense of an attorney. Doing so provides you with tax advantages and a flexible management structure, but you will need to check LLC regulations in your state.
Next, work toward getting your business licensed and make sure that you have the appropriate permits to work from home. According to the Small Business Administration, different agencies issue licenses and permits for different types of business activity. For example, if you sell plants and ship across state lines, you need to get registered with the US Department of Agriculture.
Get a handle on marketing.
Marketing is your next challenge. When you are an employee, you likely don’t have much to do in the way of capturing customers’ attention. But when you’re the boss, getting new business is your responsibility. You have to learn to get comfortable selling yourself. This starts with a standout website. If you’re all thumbs when it comes to the backend of technology, consider working with a reputable agency like QUIK Websites in Austin. They specialize in helping new small business owners make great first impressions!
Social media should also become your friend since it’s one of the most affordable and most commonly used methods for increasing brand awareness or engaging with customers. Regular posts are a must, but you can offset some of the pressure by using a site like Social Pilot to help you manage all of your social media needs through a single platform.
And when it comes to getting the word out about your new venture, leave no stone unturned. In addition to posting on the usual social media apps, look into digital avenues like Google Ads. You can even reach out to old friends via sites like ClassFinders. This helps you spread the word about your new business and even rekindle old friendships.
Another option for small businesses is direct mail. You’ve likely opened your mailbox and found envelopes full of local coupons (think Valpak). Chances are, you’ve at least gotten interested and looked through these papers. Even if you didn’t use the coupons, the companies you saw on those small pieces of paper probably stuck in your mind.
Master your home office environment.
Business structure — check. Marketing — check. Now it’s time to evaluate your environment to ensure that you can create a professional office space from home. The idea of the perfect office is subjective and you may only need a small corner of your bedroom. But if you plan to have customers on-site, you might want to budget ahead.
Box Room Office notes that a budget of $350 per month for a co-working space is a smart investment. This will allow you to work from whatever conditions you want at home but to have a professional environment to meet with clients. But if you don’t want to do that, you may need to declutter and clear out an empty room (which can also help you keep the energy on a nice, positive level) or, depending on how often you have over clients in person, convert your garage or foot the bill for a home office addition.
Although running a home business is more common than ever, there are challenges and expenses. You will need, at minimum, enough money for your office equipment, employees, marketing, and a new wardrobe for when you start beating the streets looking for new customers. But running your own business is the American dream that technology has made possible without the added expense of a separate brick-and-mortar office.