I'm about to launch a business from home. What are some small changes I could make so that my home is still comfortable for personal use, but professional and accommodating for clients? I plan to host meetings in my office, but right now it is not presentable... to say the least. Do you have tips on how to make it look more attractive on a budget? To get to the office, one has to pass through the living room and can see our kitchen. Should I spruce those areas up too?
-MarkHello Mark! Thank you for asking such fantastic questions. As someone who also works from home, your workspace is part of your brand. Its appearance and orderliness communicate how you might manage your client's work, so it's important to keep your home streamlined, uncluttered, and clean. However, they understand that you live there too, so they will excuse some informalities.
I'm going to divide your inquiry into 3 parts. Part II will cover home office design on a budget, and Part III will cover sprucing up the other areas clients can see.
Here are some tips on how to make your home look professional and function like a commercial space:
- Let your clients know beforehand that you work from home, so they won't be confused when they pull up to a house instead of an office building or strip mall. Have a small sign on the front door to let them know they're at the right place.
- The exterior of your home and landscaping also provide clients with information about your values. Make sure you have curb appeal!
- Offer beverages and bite-sized snacks. Have a pitcher of ice water and glasses out. These small touches welcome clients and make them feel more at ease.
- Another important amenity to provide is bathroom access. Let your clients know where the bathroom is located when you welcome them to your place. Hide your toiletries, offer clean hand towels, make sure extra toilet paper is visible, and use an air freshener or reed diffuser.
- If you have pets, inquire about your clients' allergies. Offer to move the meeting to another location if they are allergic.
- Don't apologize for working at home. Your business is legitimate, and you are a professional. By pointing out the imperfect aspects, you'll bring attention to them.
- Ask the people who live with you to please be quiet and to not interrupt your meeting unless it's an emergency. Keep pets out of the way by moving them to another room.