“Mirror, Mirror on the wall..” We’ve all heard this phrase countless times since childhood. Rarely does one sit back to ponder the meaning behind the scene of Snow White, in which the ghastly stepmother has trained her trusty reflective friend to give just the answer she sought; but it really does give you something to think about as a business owner.
How often do you really take a step back from the daily grind of your business to ponder what image you are presenting? If this isn’t something you are doing – or if you are gazing into a trick mirror of your own – then how can you possibly reach the goals you have set before you?
Creating and maintaining a professional image is especially important for those who run a small business from home. In a home business, there is the air of relaxation and casualness that wouldn’t necessarily be present in an office environment. Taking certain specific steps can help you build your home business effectively and professionally – even from your living room.
Ok, the living room may not be the best choice here. Let’s just get very basic. When working from home, setting up an organized home office is very important. Working in an open room rarely works for anyone since there are so many distractions.
The phone is an important aspect of any business; but here we are addressing small home businesses. Take care to maintain a positive, professional attitude on the phone regardless of the type of business you run. Using proper grammar and speaking clearly and effectively to your clients and suppliers will set you off on the right foot as far as creating a good business image goes.
When speaking with anyone related to your business, you need to be in a quiet environment. No kids, dogs or birds should be flapping at your feet when you are taking a business call. Additionally, if you are in a place where you have nothing to write on or cannot give the caller your full attention, it may be best to let the call go to voice mail. Speaking of voice mail; when you run a small business, changing your voice mail message daily (with the day and date mentioned) presents an image of conscientiousness that everyone will notice and appreciate.
One thing that many people do when they run a business in which they deal with clients is to give their time too freely. Think about this: You would not just walk into your physician’s office if you wanted to have a checkup. No, you would make an appointment because you respect your physician’s time. Your time is just as valuable and your clients must understand this.
State your business hours, or the times that you can meet with clients. Do this even if this is your very first client and you have nothing else on the books. This sets the tone for your new working relationship and tells the client that you respect your own time. When they see this, they too will respect your time as they should.
While there are other steps you can take to build up a good image through marketing and advertising, the inner workings make the best impression and need to be handled right away.