How to Make Your At-Home Startup Look Professional

home business tips
Professional home office

While you might like to be in an office space when starting your business, it isn’t always financially viable. However, getting your feet on the ground from home isn’t all bad. Other than the obvious benefits of avoiding scraping your windshield during the cold winter months and sleeping in a little later, working from home can save you a significant amount of money without sacrificing at all.

When starting your home business, though, you’ll need to work a bit harder to create a professional look and feel. This plays an important role in reminding your customers that your services can provide the same level of success as your office competitors. Luckily, you can do this while staying within your budget and at home.

Dress and Decorate

Though you are working from home, you should act as though you are going into your office. Separating home from work is a difficult thing to do when you roll out of bed and into your office chair.

  • Dress like you’re heading to the office. Get out of your pajamas and into nice slacks and work appropriate shirt. You don’t need to be in suit and tie, but be presentable in case of a surprise client visit.
  • Create a work place. Shut it off from the rest of the house. In here you should keep only work related décor, pictures, etc. When you are in a professional setting, you will project a more professional image.

Get A Virtual Phone Service

You don’t want customers getting the family voice recording, but can’t afford to splurge on a separate phone line. As a growing sector of the business world, virtual phone services are everywhere. You will have no problem finding a virtual service to fit your budget and needs. Companies like Google Voice offer basic phone services for free. Other companies like Grasshopper can offer you a 1-800 number, with personalized greeting, menu options and much more. Nothing feels more professional to your customers than hearing, “Choose 1 for the CEO, choose 2 for accounting…”

Create a Professional Email Signature

With email being your main source of communication, you want it to present you as a professional business person. As business cards become less popular, an interactive and informative email signature has taken front and center. While you can create a simple signature in Gmail, you should put WiseStamp to the test. With this popular application, you can include your important information, and much more.

  • Add all your social networking accounts and blog, making it easy for recipients to click through to your pages.
  • Customize your personal information with various colors, fonts, and design style.
  • Add your business logo to bring more brand awareness.

Keep A Blog

If buying a domain name isn’t in the finances right away, get started with your blog. As a business owner, blogging will do two things for you:

  • Create brand awareness and customer engagement. Using a blog for exclusive deals, insider tips and business announcements can give your customers a new level of interaction with you.
  • As a business owner, you know getting your SEO ranking up is incredibly important; you want to be one of the first of results on Google. By creating fresh content, and utilizing the right key words, you can continually boost your ratings.

Get Social

In addition to blogging you should be making use of social networks where you believe your customers would be most interactive. Don’t make the mistake of getting on every network, find the ones that reach your customers and stick to that. Your goal in using Twitter or Facebook should be to keep conversations with your customers, so simply signing up is not enough.

  • Keep your content new. If you have customers regularly visiting your page, you want it to be engaging for them. User generated content is great for you, and you should be inviting that through your social networking sites.
  • Make your page fun. Have a relevant Facebook picture, and make use of the available widgets, plug ins, etc. If you don’t know how to do this, find someone who does.
  • Use Gigya to keep all your online content unified and analyze your effectiveness.

Getting your business start from home is a no-brainer for those who don’t have the means to get into an office. While working from home is convenient and more comfortable, you always want to present your business in the most professional manner. Working at home shouldn’t hinder your business, but allow you the room to grow on a budget.

About the Author: Jessica Sanders is a writer on topics ranging from social media to small business marketing. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including VOIP Services for b2b lead generation resource, Resource Nation.

Image: cogdogblog / Flickr