Creating A Corporate Office Image From Your Spare Bedroom

Written by Elena Fawkner

Continued from page 1

No matter how enlightened your client-base is as a general rule, it is imperative thatrepparttar telephone be answered in a businesslike manner. I don't care how sympathetic, supportive and admiring your clients are of your decision to balance your work and family commitments by running a successful business from home, there is nothing cute about a five year old answering your business line. It's unprofessional, not to mention downright annoying.

Speaking for myself, I also find it annoying and unprofessional for a spouse to answerrepparttar 117964 business line. I'd much prefer to leave a message with your answering service than your wife or husband, thank you very much. At least I can be sure you'll getrepparttar 117965 message. But that may just be me ... decide for yourself.

So have a separate phone line for your business and lay downrepparttar 117966 law to your household that no-one, NO-ONE, is to answer it but you (unless, of course, you're employing your teenage children in your business in which case they should be instructed on how to answerrepparttar 117967 telephone in a professional manner). If you're away from your office, divert your calls to your answering service.


Something else to think about isrepparttar 117968 image of your email address. Which is Potential Client to consider more corporate/professional: or

It's worth spending $35 a year on your own domain name just forrepparttar 117969 professional email address, even if you never intend to create a website. Mind you, if you're going to have your own domain why NOT create your own website? But that's another article ...


It goes without saying that your stationery, business cards and other promotional materials should reflect a professional corporate image. If you have incorporated your business, this is a good start. A company name on letterhead and business cards can't fail to convey a professional image provided they are professionally printed on quality stationery stock.


There's no point having quality stationery if you're going to use a cheap and cheerful inkjet printer for your correspondence. Invest in a medium quality laser printer instead. They don't cost a lot of money these days and you can get a unit that triples as a fax machine and photocopier for only a few hundred dollars.

So, what do you think? You may be thinking "I wonder whether it's really worthrepparttar 117970 effort to try and please just a small number of potential clients". Is it worth it? Maybe. But look back overrepparttar 117971 suggestions I have made. Are they really anything more than basic, common sense, professional business practices? Regardless of what your potential and existing clients may think aboutrepparttar 117972 concept of businesses run out of their owners' homes, first impressions do count. Wouldn'trepparttar 117973 above approach be a good one to take with ALL your potential clients whatever their personal disposition? Just something to think about.

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur.

Into Every Life a Little Rain Must Fall - Part 1

Written by Elena Fawkner

Continued from page 1

You cannot be effective in developing your business unless you have mastered service knowledge. You need to knowrepparttar features of your products or services so that you can tailorrepparttar 117963 benefits torepparttar 117964 prospective customer's needs. Be sure you knowrepparttar 117965 difference between features and benefits. If you're selling bar stools, a feature ofrepparttar 117966 stool is that it has three legs. The benefit is that sitting on it will stop you hittingrepparttar 117967 floor. Remember: features tell, benefits sell.

Now, once you've identifiedrepparttar 117968 features and benefits of your product or service, develop a fifteen second commercial that you can trot out on cue whenever someone asks you, "So what do you do?". Most people are unprepared to answer a question like this effectively and so it is a golden opportunity to set yourself apart. Your fifteen second commercial will help you seizerepparttar 117969 moment and put your best foot forward. Use your fifteen second commercial to let each person you meet know exactly what you do and why you and your business are so special.

A fifteen second commercial for our web site optimization service might go something like this:

Prospect: "So, what do you do?"

You: "I run my own business, "Web Site Optimization". I tweak clients' web pages to optimize them forrepparttar 117970 various search engines. By creating a web page that appears inrepparttar 117971 first thirty search results for a particular search term,repparttar 117972 client gets a huge increase in traffic to their web site and their sales go throughrepparttar 117973 roof."

When should you use your fifteen second commercial? Each and every time you are introduced to someone new. Get inrepparttar 117974 habit of delivering your fifteen second commercial to as many people as possible. The more times you deliver itrepparttar 117975 more chances you have to create rain.

You also need to develop a uniqueness statement to respond torepparttar 117976 question, "What's different about your service compared to your competition?". Use a three step format for your uniqueness statement. Step one is to briefly overviewrepparttar 117977 three features and benefits that you will elaborate on in step two. Step two is to use three tailored features and benefits to explain your uniqueness torepparttar 117978 potential customer. Select one about your business's services/ products, one about something your business has accomplished, and one about you personally. In step three, summarize what you've just toldrepparttar 117979 prospect.

Here's an example of a uniqueness statement for our web site optimization service:

Prospect: "So what's different about your service compared to your competition?".

You: "I'm glad you asked. What's different about "Web Site Optimization" isrepparttar 117980 depth of our service, our results and our people.

"Unlike most of our competitors, we don't just create one web page for all ofrepparttar 117981 search engines. Each search engine has different criteria for pages to rank well. We create a different version of each page specifically designed for each main search engine. For example, one of our clients' rankings on Alta Vista increased fromrepparttar 117982 75th position to 15th in less than a month. He's experienced a 500% increase in traffic and sales as a result. I have a background in software engineering for Yahoo so I have access to inside information about howrepparttar 117983 search engines work that most of my competitors just can't get.

"So, in answer to your question, what's different about us isrepparttar 117984 depth of our service, our results andrepparttar 117985 unique experience of our people."

It will take many rehearsals until you have your fifteen second commercial and uniqueness statement down cold. At first it will feel unnatural to you to give people a rehearsed speech but over time it will feel less awkward and you'll be able to deliver it with an ease and assurance that will sound perfectly natural.


"A network is an organized collection of your personal contacts and your personal contacts' own networks. Networking is finding fast whom you need to get what you need in any given situation and helping others dorepparttar 117986 same." Harvey Mackay

=> Your Existing Network

Now that you know what to say, you have to find people to say it to. To establish your network, start with who you know. These are your existing personal and business contacts ...repparttar 117987 people who will always take your call and who can help you reach your goals. Consider people such as your attorney, accountant, doctor, agents, sales people, family, colleagues, friends and vendors.

Schedule a meeting with who you know forrepparttar 117988 express purpose of exploring ways you can help each other expand your respective networks. If there's a fit, create ways to support each other. You are not looking to sellrepparttar 117989 other person on your product or service. Instead, you are establishing a genuine relationship with this person. It doesn't matter that although you may be able to help this person directly, he or she may never be in a position to reciprocate. The reason it doesn't matter is that this person has a network of his or her own and may therefore be able to put you in contact with someone else who can help you.

Noticingrepparttar 117990 strengths in others and communicating them is one ofrepparttar 117991 greatest relationship-building skills a rainmaker can have. Much more than just paying idle, often shallow compliments, effective networkers focus on helping others focus on their strengths by using evidence to back what they're saying.

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur.!FLM

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