Image, People Skills and How They Impact Home-based Businesses
by Joan Kulmala, Image Coach - Totally-U Image Communications
The relatively new growth of the home based business industry in the last ten years has been incredible. It is making an enormous impact on the economy of this country. More and more people are choosing to work from their home. Lawyers, travel agents, fashion designers and craft persons (just to name a few), are now relocating to their homes.
The reasons vary, why they choose to take this move. Family, financial concerns, coupled with an opportunity to be independent and flexible, seem to be part of their
motivation. As with all decisions we make, being a successful home-based
business requires a firm commitment, dedication, inspiration, and discipline.
It is not as easy as it seems to work from the home. No longer do you have the support of other staff members, others to talk and brainstorm with, and people to make the big decisions for you. Now, it is all on your shoulders. You must deal with other forces such as family interruptions and various distractions whether it be the family pet or a friendly neighbor coming over to do coffee.
Just because you choose to be a home based business, does not mean that you will never have to meet with prospective clients, customers or peers. In fact the opposite occurs. Now you are the "chief cook and bottle washer" of your business. It is your responsibility to build, manage, sell and market your business.
This can be quite a challenge for someone who has always had someone else making those decisions. This can be intimidating. Just venturing out of their comfort zone is frightening enough but it is a risk that business persons take. Often they are able to relieve much of the stress that is associated with working for others.
One of the areas that seems to not be important for persons working from the home is image. Posture, attitude and appearance often takes a back seat to more important issues such as developing and running their business and balancing home and family around work. Who will see me dressed in my sweat suit or house-coat? No one ever comes over. Wrong!
Just when you least expect it, someone knocks on your door to purchase your product or service. Is this the image that you want to portray, relaxed, laid back and comfortable? (Mind you, if you are selling sporting gear, you may very will
be presenting the correct image if you are dressed in a clean sweat suit or shorts and a pressed, clean t-shirt).
It’s imperative that you know when to wear the suit/dress or when to take on a more relaxed type of dressing. Just remember, if you choose to participate in the "casual dress Friday’s" -- do not compromise your business image.
Every one of us knows of someone who could do with an ATTITUDE adjustment.
How does your’s compare? Does your body language and posture reflect your
attitude? Very often poor posture can lead to fatigue, sore back, headaches, and loss of concentration. This can lead to a negative attitude.
- "not now, I’m stressed out, I can’t think right now". Customers do not want to hear this. They have their own problems to deal with. What they want is your undivided attention and service.
You must always be prepared. Knowing and developing a positive image for your business is very significant. It’s how you want to be perceived as a home based business. Large businesses have already established their credibility for they have larger resources to draw from.
Home based businesses and small businesses have a greater challenge to make a positive impression. Often they do not have a large cash flow to tap into. They must
draw from their own creative skills to get the message across.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Am I a professional?
- How are my business integrity and ethics?
- Can I deliver my product or service on time?
- How well do I know my products and the market place?
- Is the path in my home leading to my office and inside of the office neat, clean and organized
- Do I have family distractions in my work space?
This is the time that you will discover why you had to establish some work rules at the beginning of opening your business. You will find that many customers will evaluate you and your business on what images they see. This may or may not be acceptable, but that is how many people draw conclusions. Therefore the over-all image that you project must be developed very carefully and completely. Another area that home based businesses need to address and develop is their communication skills. How you deal with your customer is very important. Taking time to treat your last customer as if they were your first customer of the day might make or break your day. Remember to take the time to learn to deal with all types of customers. Do you greet each customer with a smile as you answer your telephone? The tone of your voice as you pick up the receiver is your first contact with your customer. So take advantage of this. Set the tone. This action is also an image builder. It’s your customer’s first impression of you and your business -- remember, you can’t take it back to start over. So make the best of it from the start. As the number of home-based businesses continue to grow, they are a force to be acknowledged. I do believe that they are here to stay. It is their responsibility to project a positive image within the businesses and communities that they work and live in. Building a positive image for your own business is also a reflection on other home based businesses. The industry must be one that each of us takes pride and responsibility for. We are one of the builders of tomorrow’s economy. By working together we can all do our part to lead our country into the next century. It is time to boost the credibility of the Home Based Businesses. Let’s bring it out of the closet and take our place in the work force. Did you know that many big companies today, started out from their home? Through enhancing visibility, credibility, and education, Home Based Businesses can take their place in the ever expanding market place. Surely there is business for all! While walking the extra mile to succeed, you can rest at the end of your work day, knowing that you did the best that you could do. These simple basic PEOPLE SKILLS are for everyone and they must be put into practice every day for this is how one will develop a positive image. You owe it to yourself and your business, to be "TOTALLY YOU"! © by Joan Kulmala. All rights reserved. "Remember, Have Voice Will Travel, it’s my opportunity to share the Totally You Experience" TOTALLY-U IMAGE COMMUNICATIONS
Joan Kulmala -- Image Communicator
Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.totally-u.com