by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated
If your home business requires occasional client visits, the state of your home office can make or break a business deal. When my husband and I were looking for someone to photograph our wedding we visited a few photographers working out of their homes. One invited us into a poorly lit kitchen to review his portfolio, while the contract-winning operation invited us into a home office that displayed quality and professionalism from the start. I’m not saying that the state of your home office alone will win your clients over, but every interaction leaves a lasting impression. Here are four tips to make sure the impression you leave is a good one:
1. Clear the clutter.
Put away anything that doesn’t need to be out. A disorganized home office will leave your clients wondering if you will drop the ball when it comes to their projects. This is especially important when you are working with multiple clients on proprietary information. Your customers need to know that they can trust you to be discreet.
2. It’s all business.
Your office may be located in your home, but it should reflect a business environment. Though you may enjoy hanging your children’s artwork and other personal effects in your workspace, when clients come around it is time to tuck these items away.
3. Critical cleaning.
Don’t waste time cleaning everything from top to bottom. Focus from the waist up, on the areas that capture the eyes. A quick dust over surfaces should suffice. Do make sure that your guest bath is clean. Wipe the mirror and sink, and run a brush around the toilet bowl. Finish off by emptying the trash cans. We all feel more comfortable in a clean environment.
4. Liven it up.
A few strategically placed plants or a vase of fresh flowers can do wonders to brighten a room. If you are fortunate enough to have a blooming flower garden, cut a few blooms and bring them inside. Adding natural color to your office space will make it calm and inviting, something you can enjoy even after the close of the business day.