Home businesses have a hard time looking professional. The moment someone realises that your business address is a residential address, they’ll probably raise an eyebrow and wonder if you’re trying to scam them or if you’re an amateur. First impressions count in the world of business and if you aren’t prepared to at least look professional, then you’re not going to make much of an impact in your chosen industry.
Thankfully, looking professional and being professional are two separate things. You might be a newbie in business terms, but as long as you don’t look like one, you’re going to get more customers than you might expect if you present yourself properly to your target audience.
Don’t use your home address as your business address
One of the biggest concerns for people dealing with a new business is their credibility, and using an address that screams “residential” is going to be a red flag. You can use a PO Box, but there are PO Box alternatives such as having a virtual address or having a service forward your mail for you from a more prestigious address. Customers will find your business a little more attractive even if you’re a new startup working from home.
Get a dedicated phone line
If you’re using your home phone line as your business one then you better hope that your children aren’t answering the phone or your partner doesn’t pick it up. You’re going to need a dedicated phone line, be it a mobile or landline, and use that for all of your business purposes. It doesn’t cost much to get another phone line and you’re going to be protecting your privacy if you have a separate number. Using your home phone for business inquiries invites a lot of unwanted attention to your private location, so avoid using existing numbers for business reasons. If you are using voicemail services, then make sure you record a professional sounding message as well.
Use a professional domain name
If you want your business website to be memorable and look professional, you’re going to need your very own domain name. A .com or .net domain is preferable, but you can also get creative with domain name endings. When you’re choosing a domain name it’s important that it has something to do with your business but it’s subtle enough to look professional. Unusual spellings can work, but ultimately they might not be as memorable to your customers as it is to you. Don’t make long domain names either. A name like BestFantasyAuthorInLondon.com might seem memorable, but it’s silly and you’re better off name it after your brand or business name instead of what you sell or provide.
Don’t overcomplicate your website
When you create a website to advertise your business, don’t overcomplicate things and hire a designer. Website hosts such as Squarespace offer simple templates and tools for you to build a design within seconds. It doesn’t matter if your website looks generic or too simple because there’s no such thing as making something “too simple”. What’s important in a website is the content, not the design, so don’t try to make something fancy because, chances are, it’s just going to look over-the-top and frighten people.