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3 ways to run your home-based business like a pro

To succeed, a home-based business must focus more on running a business than running a home.
By Leah Del Castillo |

So you have decided on the product or service to be offered by your home-based business, registered your business name, secured all the necessary licenses, and are now all set to get started. But one more thing may still not be clear to you: How do you actually run a home-based business? Would it be more "home-based" or more "business"?

Well, the answer is: as long as you run your business like any self-respecting business owner would--in other words, if you run it like a true professional and deliver the goods or your service consistently well--it really won\\\'t matter much. After all, the people you\\\'ll be dealing with--your customers and suppliers, in particular--generally won\\\'t mind or won\\\'t be able to tell whether you are a "regular" business or a "home-based" one.

You should then be finicky about these three important elements of doing a home-based business--professional image, time management, and basic financial practices.

PROFESSIONAL IMAGE
Your professional image will have a significant impact on your business and your credibility as a home-based entrepreneur. Don\\\'t be tempted to neglect your image simply because you are working from home. Carefully cultivate an image that will enhance your professional self-esteem. If you truly feel like a professional entrepreneur, you would be running your enterprise professionally.

A dress code may not be necessary for entrepreneurs working from home, but when expecting clients and suppliers to come over to see you, make sure that you are dressed neatly and appropriately. Also, make sure that your home office--or that area of your house where you conduct your business--is similarly neat and organized. If the space in your home is too limited to provide an area solely for conducting your business, you will need to keep your entire house clean and uncluttered at all times.

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Your clients will have reason to deduce that the way you keep your house also reflects the way you conduct business. A visit to your home office should therefore be as pleasant an experience for your clients as it should be for you and for those living in your home with you.

You also need to make yourself truly knowledgeable in your line of business and be perceived as such. Keep yourself updated about current developments in your industry by reading business and trade publications regularly, and make yourself conversant with issues that may be of interest to your customers.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT
Entrepreneurs often cite the need for flexibility in their schedule and better control of their time as major reasons for wanting to be home-based. This doesn\\\'t mean, though, that you can be as freewheeling as you want to be. If you make that mistake, you\\\'ll soon find out that not keeping any schedule at all can lead you to giving either too little or too much time to the business.


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