Contrary to popular perception, working from home represents a fantastic opportunity to build your own brand and enter entrepreneurship. The opportunity to convert your domestic environment into a business one is proving to be an attractive option for mothers with a start-up spirit! In this post I talk about how to build your work at home brand successfully.
Incredibly, home based business now account for 36% of all UK companies and whether you’re a mother with new born children to take care of, are ill or for whatever reason you decided to avoid working for someone else, working from home provides the security, familiarity and flexibility to look after your business and family interests with equal success.
From making the most of new technologies to investing in name badges for local networking events, we present you with a no-nonsense to guide to building a successful brand from home.
1. Organisation is essentialIt could be argued that the biggest challenge facing home-based entrepreneurs isn’t actually related to cashflow or clientele, but self-discipline! Anyone who has had previous experience of running a small business from their home knows how easy it can be to lose focus on work interests.
Unlike working in traditional office space, you’re likely to have the lure of a living room and afternoon TV just metres away and there won’t be a boss looking over your shoulder every five minutes! The most important thing that you can do upon starting out is creating a strong and productive daily routine that works around your social obligations and family priorities.
You should do your best to ensure that any time you have away from the children – whether it’s the result of playdates, daycare or school – is focussed on operating your business and ticking off a daily list of essential tasks, each one designed to further your start-up operation step-by-step.
2. Create a work spaceWe’ve already discussed that making time for work is essential but once your timetable is flawless and you’re ready to fire up your computer for the first day of work…where in your home do you position yourself?
Keeping your home and business life separate from one another – even when both are under one roof – is absolutely essential. Your children may not like it and your guests may be upset that there’s now a desk in the spare room, but be sure to create a work-only area in your home – either a quiet corner or ideally a room, where you won’t find things like dirty plates or toys.
Treat your workspace as your own sacred zone, where other matters won’t distract you. The key word once again is self-discipline. Make a pledge to spent time in your home office at least once every day to keep tabs on operations and if necessary, wrestle any emergency issues.
3. Turn to technologyNow that you’ve established a schedule and acquired a workspace, the next thing you need to do is acquire the tools that you need to run your business from home. Once you’re armed with a computer and active internet connection… you’re good to go!
Use the internet and all the tools available to their full potential. Utilise social media platforms to build brand awareness among target clientele and create a personality for your company. Facebook and Twitter profiles are free to create and superb opportunities to connect with the market in a personable way. Consult social media how-to guides to find out just how you can create that online buzz!
While emails are ideal for making a first contact with people of interest, use Skype for online conferences and talking in further detail with industry heads that aren’t on your doorstep. Also, be sure to make the most of cloud computing – Google Drive is a perfect example - where you can collaborate with partners on documents, spreadsheets and presentations in real time across multiple devices.
4. Networking and name badgesOne of the most important steps to take upon embarking into entrepreneurship is establishing contacts in your chosen industry. Whether it’s a manufacturer, potential customer or a role model who may provide a helping hand, getting your face, name and company out of the house and onto the streets will be your first serious business task.
If you’re choosing to work from home, it’s likely that you won’t have a destination business that attracts customers of potential partners to your front door. For this reason, seek out local trade events for the opportunity to network with the people who can help your start-up to take the next step.
As with anything else in life, first impressions are massive. Come armed with a name badge and company overview so that people can come to understand you on both a personal and business level. Wearing a branded name badge with your contact details and company name/logo will show pride in your organisation and a level of dedication that screams success.
5. Connect with your customersAfter consulting industry experts and building a platform for start-up success, the most important and challenging part of entering entrepreneurship is establishing and maintaining a connection with your customers.
Understanding your audience is the most important step to take before finalising your branding and entering the market. Your company’s values shouldn’t project your story but instead, it should scream of the ambitions and ideals that your target customer base hold.
Before you finalise your logo, mission statement and elevator pitch, make sure you have an organisation that can connect with customers. Look at the online profiles of companies in similar industries and find your competitive advantage. Building a successful brand, no matter where you’re based, is all about offering your clientele something that they can’t get elsewhere!
Building a thriving small business from your home is more attainable now than ever before and if you plan thoroughly, you will be able to pave your own path to success from your bedroom.