Let's face the facts...when you work from home it's easy to get disorganized in a hurry. Home life and owning a business do not always go hand in hand. But if it's your dream to make it a go with working at home, here are some home business tips to help you get on the fast track to success.
There are two areas of a home business in which organization should be top priority - your workspace and your time. Without organization, your business and home life will end up being totally stressful around the clock. You'll never have a definite start-up or ending time, and your office will be a mess throughout the day. Organize important paperwork in file folders and a file cabinet, carefully labeled for clients, tax information, samples, finances, contractors, suppliers, associates, etc. Keep a checklist on your desk at all times and mark off tasks as you complete them each day.
Even if your clients understand that you work from home, there should be set office hours when they can reach you. If you make money from the Web, provide an e-mail contact form for 24/7 service, but also provide set hours for business calls. This will establish your home business boundaries so you won't receive calls throughout the evening. Another way to ensure that business calls will stay within the proper perimeters is to set up a separate business phone line with voice mail. This enables you to monitor calls after hours without being tied to the phone day and night.
Never delay calls to your business clients beyond a deadline or a pre-set time to speak with them. Keep appointments whether in person or by phone, and gather all pertinent information regarding that client before making the call. Clients will catch on if you're scrambling around for paperwork or if you're calling while driving on the road or somewhere besides your office. Have a designated "quiet area" for business calls so there's not a lot of background noise during the call (kids screaming, television, washer/dryer, etc.). Clients will usually understand if they hear your kids chattering in the background once or twice, but if it happens often some clients may question your professionalism.
Create a Professional Image
Use business cards, brochures, letterhead, custom labeling, etc. to establish a professional image for your home business. Printed items with your business logo will let clients and associates know that you're serious about serving them. If you have a website, be sure to include your Web address on all printed materials...even envelopes and letterhead. Use brochures to earn extra money by printing a different brochure for each product line or service offered. And don't forget about postcards and e-mail marketing to previous customers. These are affordable but powerful tools in reaching your clientele for promotions, holidays, birthdays, special offers, referrals, etc.
Send "Thank Yous" to Clients
Handwritten thank you notes still provide a powerful means of building loyalty and trust with clients. These little cards can go a long way, but should never be used to promote your next offer. Just write a simple note thanking your client for their business, handwrite the envelope, and stick it in the mail within just a few days after their purchase. You'll be surprised at how much this means to clients!
Keep Accurate Records
Record everything that occurs in your business, from daily and weekly goals (as compared with actual sales) to accounts payable and accounts receivable details. Even when you're not so busy, you should keep accurate records daily to ensure organization when your business does increase. If you have several employees, it might be best to hire a payroll accountant to keep up with employee pay and taxes. Accountants can also assist with overall business finances and taxes throughout the year as your home business grows.
As you learn to earn money with a home business, keep in mind that working from home is not much different than other businesses. With proper promotion and organization, your "work at home" business can grow to be a great success!
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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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