Are you running your own business from home? Excellent news – but have you any idea how to make your business a little more professional? Read on for great tips.
Set a good impression with your communication
If you work from home, you may never have met your clients face to face. Therefore, the only impression they have of you is the one you give when you’re communicating from afar. In order to make your business more professional, there are simple things you can do. For example, add your logo to correspondence, add a signature to your email, spell your clients’ names correctly (sounds obvious, but it’s often overlooked by mistake!) and send out documents that are designed consistently – particularly as doing so will reinforce your brand.
This extra care and attention to detail will strengthen a sense of two crucial things: one – you know what you’re doing, and two – that your clients are in safe hands. To get this right, why not enlist the help of service providers by looking into letterhead printing from Helloprint, for example?
Invoice like an expert
Invoicing can be a minefield for anyone running a work from home business. To invoice professionally, make sure you:
- use a theme or style to present your invoices in a way that’s clear and easy to read (some of these are great!)
- add your name and contact details, including your business address
- make your payment details, deadline for payment and PO number clearly visible
- break down the work you’re charging for into specific projects and tasks
- provide plenty of detail about the work performed
- detail your price per hour and the total number of hours worked every day
- make any expenses stand out clearly
- include a final overall cost.
These professional touches will help your clients to see what they’re paying for, and reassures them that their money is going to the right place.
Be clear about your hours of work
Don’t work Fridays? Make sure you tell your clients! And why not set an out-of-office response for days when you know you’re not going to be available? Here are some good examples. Out-of-office replies are a good idea as it allows you to break away from work once in a while (something that can be extra hard if you’re running a work from home business) and prevents your clients feeling anxious – they know you’re not ignoring them, and won’t worry that you’re prioritising another client above your commitment to them.
Ultimately, being clear about contact will reinforce the fact you’re a professional – it shows an appreciation for their office hours whilst working to your own.
Assign a designated work area
Finally, give yourself a designated work area; it will help you to concentrate and allows you to switch off in the evenings (something that can be hard to do if you’re working from home and don’t get to leave the ‘office’)!
Most importantly of all, a designated work space will give you somewhere quiet to talk to your clients. You need somewhere like this for your conference calls, or even quick catch ups – your clients don’t want to hear the TV, dishwasher or dog in the background, and silence will certainly prompt fewer distractions.
Bill McNish is a journalism graduate with a passion for writing and a thirst for knowledge. He’s worked and written for a number of high profile magazines and websites since finishing university in 2014.