When you were little, your mom told you never to judge a book by its cover. While that is good advice, I can tell you right now, that when it comes to your business people will judge you by how your business looks. First impressions are everything.
Most work at home businesses operate from, well, home with an online presence by using a Web site or blog, Twitter, message forums or a combination of all of them.
You need to take your work at home business seriously from the very start and that means being careful with everything that you do. From your replies to customers to opinions to meeting deadlines – all of it matters and all of it must be taken seriously.
I’m a website snob. There I said it. And it’s true. It only takes me a few seconds to decide if I am going to stay on a particular Web site or leave. If you have blinking banners and icons that follow me around the site, I am gone in less than three seconds. I am sure some of you are thinking is that even possible? And the answer is yes, some sites still look like they did 10 years ago when no one knew any better.
1.) Incorporate. Incorporating your home business has many benefits. For one, your customers will take you more seriously and there are many tax advantages as well. Sole Proprietors tend to be taxed at a higher amount. To incorporate your business, ideally you would go see a lawyer, but if you can’t afford that option, you can incorporate online through online incorporation services.
2.) Don’t Speak… unless you have something of worth to add. If your business or expertise will help to solve a problem by all means take the opportunity to flaunt your stuff. But don’t just throw your business in there for the sake of doing so. You want to appear helpful, thoughtful and all knowing in YOUR area of specialty, as needed.
3.) Domains and hosting. If you have a blog or Web site and it is hosted using free hosting such as WordPress or Blogger you won’t be taken seriously. There is no excuse to not have your own domain name and hosting account. I know you are on a budget but to be taken seriously these two things are a must, not an option. You can buy a domain name for $10 or less for the YEAR and hosting is upwards of $5.99 a month. Be very careful when choosing your business name and make sure it looks okay as a site name.com
4.) Branding. Your business brand should be consistent from the logo on your business cards to the logo on your Web site. Vista Print.com offers steep discounts on business cards. If you are graphically capable you can make your own logo, if you’re not, pay someone else to do it. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, sites such as GotLogos.com will make you a logo for $25.