You finally have your small business up and running. And it’s in your home. How do you have clients come to see you? What do you need to think about?
Many small business owners can’t afford office space, or really don’t need it, so they work from home.
A lot of questions arise about meetings in the home, so here are some of them with their answers:
1.Â Â Â Do I need a separate entrance?
Ideally yes, but that’s not always possible in the real world. If you have a separate entrance, you will come off as more professional than if a client comes into your home filled with your personal life. But if it’s not possible, just make sure you have any area clean of clutter (even if you stuff it all in a cabinet), pets are put away and no one will bother you during your meeting. If your office is upstairs or somewhere else in the home where you’d need to walk through much of it, have your meeting in the dining room or another neutral area more easily accessible in your home.
2.Â Â Â Should I tell my client beforehand or will that make me look bad?
Many people say they drive up to a house for a meeting and think they have the wrong address. Be upfront and let your client know you work from home and that is where you’ll be meeting.
3.Â Â Â What if my client hurts him or herself in my home?
This is a tricky one. If your client slips and falls or your dog bites him, you’re legally responsible. The smartest thing you can do is have insurance to cover this. If you don’t and something happens, it can turn into something pretty big and bad.
4.Â Â Â Should I just meet at a coffee shop or somewhere else instead?
Sure, some people who home office have off site meetings. It depends a lot on what you do. If you need to look at material that takes up space, your home is probably better. At home you can avoid distractions that may be found elsewhere. You also have all your materials and don’t have to lug anything around. But if you have kids or pets at home, or another working adult, it may be too distracting and you should think about another spot.
5.Â Â Â Are there any other little tips I should know?
Â Dress professionally. Maybe you work most of the time in sweats, but remember you’re meeting with a client, put on your work clothes.
Â Try to avoid any household smells like last night’s dinner or your golden retriever. You can use a candle or other air fresheners; just make sure nothing is too strong or offensive.
Â Oh, always make sure the bathroom is clean!
Many people work from home and as long as you keep it professional and let your client know up front, you should be fine.
If you run your small business from home, do you allow clients to come by? If so, what have your experiences in such cases been like?
Photo credit: thesmarterwallet.com
About the Author: Heather Legg is a writer who covers topics related to small business, social media and personal finance.