“WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK”
(Jul. 17, 2019) — Every year thousands of people across the US take the plunge and start their own business, and 69% of entrepreneurs start their businesses at home. The advantages of running a business from home are numerous, especially in the early days.
As a home-run business owner, you have more autonomy over your schedule, you can work on the move as a digital nomad and you can save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on an office space and all the overheads associated with it.
However, running a home business can also be challenging, especially if you’re having to compete with big brands and well-established companies. Without the right things in place, your business can come across as “amateurish” in the eyes of the consumer.
So how can small, home-based enterprises build credibility and appear as influential as major players? Virtual offices, live receptionists and social media savviness can make a huge impact.
Read on to find out more about each.
Get a business address
Obtaining a business address in the market you want to do business in can go a long way when it comes to building credibility – even if it’s just aspirational.
For example, west coast tech startups might choose an address in Silicon Valley, whereas a New York City-based fashion brand might theoretically set up shop in Manhattan. Also, having an office address looks 100 times more professional on your marketing collateral than a residential one.
Getting a business address is relatively simple – you just need to sign up for a virtual office. Virtual offices are really popular with home based businesses and digital nomads who don’t need a physical space, but want to establish a professional presence. There are literally thousands of addresses to choose from in pretty much every global city.
You can sign up for different levels of membership, depending on what you need. Typically, the most basic package includes a business address, phone number and mail handling. Some memberships even enable you to access the physical space by giving you the option to book conference rooms for client meetings and a hot desk for when you’re in town.
Hire a Live Receptionist
Anyone who’s started a business will know that, in the early days, every ounce of effort goes into sourcing leads and finding new clients. And all successful businesses will know that after a while, the amount of inquiries flooding your inbox can be overwhelming! This is where Live Receptionists can prove invaluable.
A Live Receptionist (otherwise known as a Virtual Receptionist or Virtual Assistant) is a remote worker who carries out many of the same duties as an in-house receptionist. One main difference is that they can work for multiple companies at a time, and you can choose how many hours you need them for each month. This is great news for small businesses who don’t need or simply can’t afford to hire a full-time employee.
Live Receptionists can answer calls, respond to inquiries, manage your diary and, perhaps most importantly, capture leads on your behalf. It’s great news for business growth and client perception. After all, referring to your “assistant” makes it seem like you’re leading a team of 60 even if in reality you’re a one person band!
Be savvy on social
Grow your following and transform clicks into customers through the power of social media. Some home business owners can be reluctant to put effort into social as it can be difficult to measure the impact. Instead of seeing tangible benefits, it’s more about getting your brand out there and embedding it in the minds of your followers.
If it’s only you or you have a very lean team, be strategic about how you use social. Consider which channels will work best for you and focus on them. For example, B2B businesses are likely to get more out of LinkedIn than B2C ones. Similarly, if you have a product that looks great – luxury real estate for example – visual channels like Instagram are a no brainer.
A few general tips for social savviness:
- Use automation tools to schedule posts and save yourself time
- People like the human element – share your customers’ stories
- Whenever a social idea pops into your head, write it down or take a pic
- Try to be consistent in your approach and post regularly
- Reuse your own content to get the most out of it and use others’
- Leverage LinkedIn to position yourself as a thought-leader
- If you’re really time-poor, enlist the help of a freelancer
- Research the most relevant hashtags to extend your reach
- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and get creative with content
- Don’t expect people to engage with your content if you don’t with others – follow influencers and start liking and commenting
These three approaches should help you transform your home business into big business, without breaking the bank.
One good thing about the gig economy is that there are so many flexible solutions to make life easier for the owners of growing businesses and entrepreneurs who choose to work remotely.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.