How to make your home business look more professional

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While it may be diminishing somewhat, as of late, thanks to the fact that more businesses are getting online than ever before (which has somewhat evened the playing field), those who run a business from home have always had to face a certain stigma. In particular, they are often treated as “lesser than”, which is a challenge you may have to navigate. Here are a few ways you can do that by giving your home business a professional touch.

How to make your home business look more professional

How to make your home business look more professional

Invest in consistent branding

First of all, you have to put aside any idea that you’re your own graphic designer. Unless you are, indeed, trained or proficient with creating digital visuals, you should work with brand designers to make sure that you have a set of high-quality visual assets that can be used across platforms. Brand consistency goes further than just the visuals of the brand, however. With the help of a brand bible, you can ensure that you have the guidelines set out to help you keep your branding consistent across every venture. Consistency looks planned, thought-out, and intentional, while more amateur businesses might try a more “throw everything and see what sticks” approach.

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Have a professional website

Of course, you’re going to need a place where that brand can shine in all its glory, as well, and your very own website is the best way to do that.  It's vital for small and home businesses to be online nowadays. There are website builders that are more sophisticated, allowing more people to create sites that look decently professional. However, working with a web designer is almost always going to turn out better results, so long as you work with those who understand the business that you’re in. Your site is one of the best tools to convince and convert those who hear about your site, but it needs to be professionally built to really do its job well.

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Present yourself professionally

You may need to personally appear to represent or vouch for your business, be it during a business meeting or even to put a face to the company in webinars or other online content. Whether you do it, be sure that you’re presenting yourself well to make a great impression with your home business, keeping in mind the basics of professional attire and etiquette. If you’re out and about, then it’s also a good idea to keep some high-quality business cards on your person. As such, if anyone shows a professional or commercial interest in your business, you’re able to demonstrate your professionalism while opening up a path for potential business in the future without being overly forward or abrasive about it.

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Don’t introduce yourself as the owner (unless it’s relevant)

You might think that it’s a good idea to introduce yourself as the owner of your business in every conversation, every email, or every interaction with a client. Many business owners do. Sure, it can help you, personally, look a little more prestigious and, in some cases, can help you be taken seriously. However, a lot of individuals might think otherwise. If they call up or email a business and immediately get put in touch with the owner, they might think “that sounds like a really small business.” You don’t necessarily need or want to lie about the size of your business, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with disguising or not volunteering the fact when it might lead to that stigma against home businesses.

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A good address goes a long way

With the above idea in mind, that you shouldn’t volunteer the size of your business, you also should consider tidying your tracks as to where the business is based, as well. As such, you should think about making use of a registered office address provider. With a city address, linked to a professional building, you might be able to give your business an extra sheen of professionalism that makes others take it more seriously. Of course, setting up an office address means that you will still get any mail or packages that are sent to your office and the office is truly registered to your business, so it’s not like you’re lying and using an address that you’re not technically allowed to do. It just gives the business a little extra brand power while helping you protect your own privacy.

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Have a dedicated phone number (or Google Voice number)

Just like you should consider having an address that isn’t your home address, you should also consider having a number that isn’t your home phone number. For one, it’s best to try and keep personal and business communications as separate as possible. While a business mobile phone might work well, you can also get a dedicated business phone number that would allow you to do all the call routing and message taking that you might need. There are now fully digital options such as Google Voice that makes it even easier to access these benefits, online, as well. It’s a good way to offer a professional-looking number while at the same time managing the boundary between your personal and professional phone lines.

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Have your own email domain 

Keeping in the same vein as the previous two tips, you should also think about where you’re sending emails from and having emails sent to. A lot of business owners are still using their default email domain, be it gmail, live, hotmail, or otherwise. Others are even using their personal emails, which is not recommended for a wide range of reasons, including the fact that it makes your professional correspondence much more difficult to keep organised. It’s not too difficult to use the web host that hosts your website to also provide you with an email domain of your own. This domain can still be linked to and managed through other email clients, it just makes your email look more bespoke and directly related to the business.  Depending on your company size and email requirements, you will be able to get either a free or affordable email domain from Zoho.

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Stay active on social media

If you’re already on social media, then you have already entered your business into an ongoing grind for engagement that’s going to need your continuous attention. If you haven’t yet gotten yourself on social media, then you might want to think about whether it’s best for you and which platforms will best benefit your business. Once you’re on it, however, you need to make sure that you are active, whether it’s in marketing your products and services, posting content, responding to people who are tagging your account directly, or otherwise. A social media channel that looks like a ghost town is going to foster a company image that doesn’t do you any good.

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Produce blog content regularly

If you have a website that already has a content management system (or CMS) built-in, or you’re thinking of adding one, then you might be able to hit two birds with one stone. Aside from the many benefits of regularly producing blog content for your business site, blogging also helps you create content that you can disseminate through social media, helping you to keep your channels active. Blog posts have a wide variety of marketing benefits in terms of helping people find your website by looking up questions that you have answers to, but it also gives you the opportunity to flex your business’s expertise and to position yourself well as the professional solution that they might be looking for. Keep producing content that’s relevant and valuable to your audience and you can keep building the prestige of your brand.

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Be prompt and keep appointments

Timeliness is one of the most important qualities that a business owner can have. Simply put, if you make any promises or appointments, then you should do everything in your power to be on time with them and use any scheduling and reminder software that helps you do just that. To be late or keep people waiting is one of the most unambiguous signs of unprofessionalism that you can stumble into. Furthermore, if people are getting in touch with the business, then you should make it a priority to get back to them. The sooner you can respond to them, the better they are going to think of the business and the more likely they may be to convert to customers. 

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Develop your pitch

You want to make sure that you’re able to sell your products, services, and brand effectively. To that end, you should think not just about the literal explanation of what it is that you do, but what value you bring to the lives of your customers and clients. Think about your value proposition and how it can remove barriers, achieve goals, or solve problems that your target audience has and build that into your pitch. The seriousness of your business can often be directly linked to how well you are able to sell what it is that you are providing, so you should make sure that you’re able to describe it in an attractive and engaging way.

 

If you want to make sure that your home business is taken seriously, then you need to make sure that you work to see it done. The tips above can help with that.

 

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