In this day and age of remote work, many business owners are ditching physical office spaces altogether and opting to instead work from home 100 percent of the time. With virtual meeting technology, this isn’t usually an issue. But what if you need to meet with clients in your home?
4 Tips for Seeing Clients in Your Home
The decision to run your business from home is typically one that’s predicated on two factors: finances and versatility. The goal is to lower costs and give yourself the freedom to work how you want, when you want, and where you want. But if you aren’t careful, your pursuit of flexibility can negatively impact your professionalism.
There’s nothing wrong with seeing clients in your home. Whether you run a marketing agency or you’re a therapist, having face-to-face meetings with your clients in your home is no longer as taboo as it would have been five or 10 years ago. People have been conditioned to the fact that business is no longer reserved for commercial office space – it can happen anywhere.
Having said that, it’s easy to appear unprofessional if you don’t have an intentional approach.
If you’ll be seeing clients in your home, here are several of our top tips for being organized and professional.
1. Give Clear Instructions
Going to a house you’ve never been to for a business meeting can feel a little different than having a meeting at a corporate office. Think about things from your client’s perspective. Provide very clear instructions to put them at ease.
For example, if you have a side entrance to your house where clients are supposed to enter, give them a heads up (even emailing them an aerial photo with an arrow showing them where to go). And if you live off a road where it could potentially be difficult to identify your address, consider including a sign or other visual cue.
2. Have Designated Parking
One of the trickiest parts for the client is knowing where to park. They’ll often pull in and think, Do I park on the street? Or maybe I should park in the driveway? If I park in the driveway, will I block someone in?
Don’t force a client to go through mental gymnastics to park. Instead, have a designated parking spot clearly labeled for clients. Ideally, it should be as close to the entrance as possible.
3. Improve Curb Appeal
As soon as you start seeing clients in your home, you have to start looking at your house as your place of business. This means doing everything you can to ensure it sends the proper message about your brand and the value you provide. Curb appeal is one obvious area to pay attention to.
If your current curb appeal leaves something to be desired, there are a few key aspects that you can watch. First, if you have vinyl or fiber-cement siding, you can spruce it up by installing a stacked stone veneer around the base of your home. This creates some visual interest and gives your exterior a more stately feel. Landscaping is the second big thing to think about. Keep it clean, simple, and well-maintained.
4. Minimize Distractions and Prioritize Privacy
When working from home, you have to ensure distractions are kept to a minimum. This is especially important if you have other people living in your home during office hours (like a spouse, kids, or a roommate).
For starters, we recommend setting expectations with anyone who is frequently in your home. Make it clear that you’re “at work” during specific hours, which means you’re totally unavailable (barring any serious emergencies).
Secondly, you have to prioritize privacy (for the sake of your client). You can’t hold a meeting in the living room while your wife is in the kitchen fixing lunch. And you can’t have a therapy session with a client in a bedroom that’s directly adjacent to your kid’s playroom. Privacy is a must.
The best way to minimize distractions and prioritize privacy is by creating a secluded portion of the house that’s specifically used for your business. Depending on the size and layout of your home, this may or may not be possible. Another option is to build a standalone office in your backyard.
Stay Flexible and Professional
Enjoy the benefits of flexibility and professionalism by implementing the tips mentioned above. While there may be some costs involved, making investments in your home will ultimately pay dividends for your business. Find one specific area where you can improve and take action!