How to Get
the Respect Your Business Deserves
The key for your home business to receive the respect
it deserves is to run your business as professionally as possible, just
like any other business.
by Isabel Isidro
Home-based business has come to represent a large segment of today�s
workforce and a powerful force in the economy. However, home businesses
are often regarded as �little hobbies� and therefore are not taken
The key for your home business to receive the respect it deserves is to
run your business as professionally as possible, just like any business. A
professional image does not just happen overnight: you need to create and
nurture it throughout the life cycle of your business. It involves
everything from your own workspace and business name, to your promotional
and marketing materials, and to efficient communications and services.
Professionalism is the only weapon that can be effectively used to
overcome misconceptions about the seriousness of this major economic
Here are some tips to build professionalism and combat the hobbyist
image that people have for home-based workers:
Start with your own attitude about yourself and your business.
The way you conduct your business influences the way people think of you.
Never, ever apologize for working at home! Convey confidence in yourself
and your business (even if you do not feel it yet inside). Your customers
will be most likely to trust you with their business, and others will
respect you as a savvy entrepreneur.
Set-up a room, or even a desk in a corner, designated just for your
If possible, have your office in a
separate room with doors, or at least with screens and partitions. This
will let your family and others know that you are working and should not
be disturbed when you are in your �office�. This will block off
unwanted noises in the background, such as the barking of the dog or
children crying, which you certainly would not want your clients to hear
as you talk on the phone. This will also help shift your mindset from
household tasks to business activities when you are in your business area.
Find a block (or segments) of time that you can regularly set as
Politely let others know these
are your business hours, and you will get back to them � unless it is an
emergency � when you are finished working. One man operating a
home-based business puts a �Do Not Disturb� sign on his door to let
his neighbors know that he is busy at work.
Carry business cards, an organizer or an appointment book with you at
Make it a point to tell people you
have a home business and share the pride you feel. When your client sets
up a follow-up meeting, or even if your friends ask you for lunch, be sure
to put these appointments in your calendar.
Print your business name, logo and address
all your business cards, letterheads, brochures, envelopes, and other
office supplies. Be sure these materials look professional to make a
positive impression on your potential clients.
Have a separate phone and fax line for your business.
Always answer professionally and never let kids answer it. Return calls
promptly. This will convey the impression that they are important to you.
Get an answering machine, voice mail or answering service to handle
when you are away from your office or
otherwise occupied. However, avoid using tape answering machine that
sounds too amateurish.
Have a business plan
and check it regularly
to see whether you are close to following the time schedule you have
allotted to reach your goals. Keep focused on the tasks, but also look
toward the future possibilities your business might achieve. Have a
Join and network with professional and trade organizations.
This is a good way to establish contacts in your industry.
Dress professionally when you meet people.
You can dress casually in the house but make sure to project a
professional image when doing business in person.
Be proud being a home-based entrepreneur! More and more people are now
starting to earn their living working from home. More importantly, develop
a mindset for business and financial success.