Anyone can start a business, but it takes dedication to grow it from that initial startup phase. For entrepreneurs that run businesses out of their home, the challenges are slightly different. Not only must they learn to run a business, but they also need to elevate their business to compete with bigger brands.
How to make your home business more professional
Home business owners are in luck: with a few changes, a freelance gig or startup can transform into a more professional and legitimate business. In this article, we’ll cover a few methods to help you get a head start.
1. Build out your team
When you start a company, you naturally have to wear several hats—from accounting all the way down to sales. All this multitasking, however, can put a strain on your time and energy. Eventually, all that work leads to burnout and even lost business.
Once the basic foundation of your company is set up (LLC, contracts, first few clients), you need to start looking for people that can help you out. This may include classmates, ex-coworkers, business partners, even family and friends. Standardizing the process is key. Once you begin delegating work to others, you can focus your energy on finding more clients to expand your business.
2. Rent an office (or a coworking space)
In a world where almost everyone owns a laptop and work is migrating to the digital realm, the traditional 9-5 is falling by the wayside. Working from home is becoming more commonplace, with 4.3 million employees working from home at least half the time. With that said, operating a successful business requires a step beyond the confines of your home.
As your business grows, expect to meet with more customers, clients, and potential business partners. Of course, you’re free to hold meetings in your home, but if you want to be taken seriously as a business, a dedicated office is crucial. For one, a private office (or coworking space) looks more professional to the clients and partners you bring over. But a private office also helps you to focus on your work, avoiding common distractions at home like pets, Netflix, or your comfy bed.
New to renting offices? Check out our tips for your first office space.
3. Boost your online exposure
Modern businesses cannot thrive without an active online presence. As modern consumers become more and more tech-savvy, they discover brands through search, online reviews, and social media. That’s why it’s important for any business to have an updated website (optimized for mobile devices) and the relevant social media profiles.
Don’t get carried away— you don’t need to have a highly active Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other popular social media platform. Start with one or two that your audience typically uses and go from there. For a better idea of when to post and for how often, check out CoSchedule’s guide.
4. Focus on improving your customer experience
Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Every interaction with your brand will be remembered–not for how much money they saved or how fast the service was provided, but because of how they felt during the experience.
Create a memorable customer experience from the moment they hear about you to the point where they consider purchasing again. The last part is key: it can be up to 25 times more expensive to find a new lead than to keep an existing customer. It makes sense to keep your customers happy even after they are served–particularly for a home business with limited resources. By keeping your interactions authentic and intentional, you can convert them into loyal customers and build a positive reputation for your brand.
5. Partner with other businesses
If you really want to take your business to another level, it’s time to begin partnering with other businesses. Just as we mentioned before, there’s only so much you can do before the work catches up to you and you need to team up with another brand.
For example, your business may use professional photography to sell products through an online store. At the start, packaging your own products is perfectly acceptable, but after some time, you may want to look at partnering with a fulfillment center. Not only will you save time from packing items yourself, but you may inadvertently be able to open your brand to a much wider audience.
The journey from a startup idea to a full-time home business is no easy path. You’re bound to encounter major challenges along the way— demanding customers, lack of work-life balance, and potentially even legal encounters. These are all trials that will test your mettle and passion for entrepreneurship. But with an ambitious mindset and strong work ethic, you can turn that passion into a successful business
Still just getting your business up and running? Read our post on building your startup from scratch.
If you’re ready to bring your product or service to more people, you’re going to need funding. Here’s how to find the right investors.
For more articles and content on entrepreneurship, follow Novel Coworking’s blog each week!