Is Your Home Business Open to Guests?

Owning a home business has its rewards as well as its drawbacks.

How nice to be able to work from home, your loyal dog by your side, the laundry going in the background and some soup for dinner simmering on the stove, all while you are in your yoga clothes from your early morning practice.

Ideal? Maybe not when it's time to have your clients come for a meeting. Then what?

What are some things you can do to make your home more professional so you can meet with clients?

First, you need to think about legalities and insurance. What if it is raining and your client slips and falls on your outside stairs, breaking his arm? Are you liable? You are, and your homeowner's insurance won't cover it. You should have business insurance if you are doing any business within your home. You've got different options so it's good for a discussion with your insurance agent.

Clean it up. Many of us who work at home still carry on the parenting duties or day to day activities that keep our home and family running. If you are having clients over, though, clean it up and get that stuff out of the way. Take your kid's science project and the laundry you've only half folded off the dining room if they'll see it when the walk in. Make sure your guest bathroom is clean and clutter free, too, just in case.

Dress the part. You probably don't need to don a suit or business dress, but change out of your yoga clothes and put on some casual business wear. Even though you are at home, you're still conducting business.

Put Fido away. No matter how loyal your pooch is, put him outside or in a room where he won't jump on or bother your client. The same for your cat. Even if a client is a pet lover, they've come to do business, not get sat on by your cat or jumped on by your dog.

Have a meeting spot. If your home office is upstairs where the bedrooms are, choose somewhere else to meet. Maybe the dining room or living room; just make sure it's tidied up. If you have an office with a separate entrance, by all means use it. If seeing clients is the norm, you may want to consider professionalizing a space just for this purpose.

Turn off the TV and the answering machine. You don't need your favorite show in the background, and certainly your clients don't need to hear Aunt Martha's latest family gossip on the voicemail.

• Let your client know this is a residence beforehand so they are not confused when getting there.

According to PRNewswire, 26% of Americans have home offices, and 70% of these are used for small businesses. You aren't the only one at home with your small business, and it is becoming more and more common to have clients to these home offices.

Be sure to maintain professionalism while doing so, and don't forget to let your dog in once the client is gone.

About the author

 Heather Legg is an independent writer who focuses on small business, social media, and health trends.


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