Creating a Professional Image For Your Home-Based Business Written by Elena Fawkner
Like it or not, there is still a segment of population who will erroneously conclude that you and your business are less than professional and competent just because you run your business out of your home.
Dumb? Obviously. Narrow-minded? Yes. Wrong? Absolutely. Unfair? No question. Want their business? Well ... yes. OK, then you're going to have to play game and beat them at it. Here's how to do it. It's a little sneaky, but hey, all's fair in love and home-based business.
The name of game is creating right image ... employing a few harmless fictions, in other words. First off, incorporate or register a fictitious business name. Nothing screams "PROFESSIONAL!" to Potential Client as an honest-to- goodness corporate or business name on your letterhead and business cards. Never mind that anyone can spend ten bucks and register a DBA, it at least *looks* professional, and that's what counts.
The next problem you have with Potential Client is that you don't want your home address to give you away.
What do you think looks more professional in Potential Client's eyes: 123 Cherryblossom Way, Apt. 103, Suburbia or 123 Major Blvd, Level 37, Big City?
The answer is a serviced office. These don't have to cost a lot of money if you use them pretty much as a post office but they CAN give your business all big-city prestige your potential client is looking for. You can also use a post office box for this purpose but many a Potential Client will be on to you in a flash. They didn't just fall off turnip truck, you know. (Right.)
An additional advantage is that you can use your serviced office to meet with Potential Client. After all, last thing you want is to have him coming to your REAL office. Heaven forbid! Most serviced offices will make meeting rooms available for a flat fee.
This is probably trickiest part of all. How do you know it's safe to answer phone in your home office even though sounds of your young children playing just outside your office door will be heard by caller? You simply don't.
There is a simple way of dealing with this. Only give your home office number to existing clients. They already know you are professional and competent and should therefore have no issue with fact that you work from home.
For anyone else, give out number of an answering service that will answer call in your business name and can tell callers that you're in a meeting with another client and take a message. Your serviced office will offer this service as well. You can then return call at a time when you know tell-tale background noise won't give you away.
In fact, a trick some people who work from home use when returning calls is to run a tape of office background noise. This both gives impression you are working in a large office AND it masks any slight tell-tale household noises that may, despite your best efforts, give you away.
Hits, Hits, & More Hits! But, What's Wrong?Written by Steve Parke
You can get all hits you want, but if it doesn't translate into customers and sales, then you have hits and that's it! The average surfer spends about 26 seconds on your web page. So, how do you turn those hits into customers and sales? 1,2,3,4,Score!
1) First, take a look at your web site. Get a professional opinions. Put function, professionalism, and speed, ahead of flashy slow loading animated, audio, video designs. Sure some are great. Make sure all of your links work, and you don't have any of those red x's. Granted, not everyone's browser is going to be working right all of time, but you should try to have your site compatible with multiple browsers. At least Netscape and Internet Explorer. All flash, and fancy styled designs does not mean customer will stick around and buy. Make sure you have a product or service that is in demand, with good quality, and value. Do research, find out what your demographics for your site are, and ask yourself, if this is something you would buy. Compile stats into useful marketing knowledge.
2) Next qualify your customers and target your traffic. After you have done your research, homework, compiled all your stats, and information, then start advertising your site geared toward these prospects. People that need and want your product and services. Use directories, search engines, ezines, newsletters, banners, classified ads, press releases, and partnerships wisely to reach your target audience. Make sure your meta tags, and title pages are setup properly. Many sites, like bcentral.com allow you to target your demographics, like age groups, locations, gender, certain groups, sub groups, directories, sub directories, financial groups, etc. You will soon see your average site session times increase dramatically.