You will have heard, no doubt, of the old saying about no-one being an island. Well, the same is true of your business, and this is something which is especially important to think about if you run your business from home. A home business must not act as an island if it is to succeed in the long term – but what do we actually mean by that? Simply that you need to make sure you do not fall into the temptation of hiding away from the outside world, and operating only on your own terms. You might well be thinking that you would never do this anyway, but it can be surprisingly easy to fall into this trap. In this article, we are going to look at some of the ways you can ensure your business is functioning properly, without resorting to being something of an island.
Image: Buenosia Carol
Keeping Office Hours
One of the main temptations when you work from home is to work over into the evenings or weekends. While you might well pride yourself on such industriousness, and probably with good reason, there is such a thing as working too much. You need to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of working yourself to death, and one of the best ways to do this is to simply keep regular office hours. What those hours are is up to you, of course, but it is generally a good idea to stick to the normal office hours that other businesses will go by. You can extend them a little further if you feel it is necessary, but as long as you keep enough hours for yourself, you should find that this is the right kind of balance.
Believe it or not, it can actually be to the detriment of the business to allow your office hours to be too long. After all, when you overwork yourself, all you are really doing is ensuring that your quality of work will decline, and this is the last thing you want to happen. You need to work long and hard, yes, but more often than not you also need to make sure that you have regular breaks – otherwise your business might actually suffer as a result. Keeping office hours in line with other businesses will also help you to be able to communicate with them more easily, something which is likely to prove hugely important over the course of time, especially as you begin trying to reach out for partners.
From the beginning, be sure to keep regular office hours at all times, so that you can improve your output and keep your lines of communication open. You will find this hugely valuable.
Partnering Up With Other Businesses
Before long, it is likely that you will become aware of just how valuable it is to keep in close contact with other businesses, especially those who function in the same industry as you. The best way to do this is to partner up with them, and this is one of the things that a young business should consider doing early on regardless. But for the home business, it can have the added bonus of helping you to keep in close contact with the outside world, and this can be hugely rewarding and beneficial in the long run.
There is something to be said for ensuring that you choose the right businesses for partnering up with, however. You don’t want to get too close to an immediate rival, for a start, but you also don’t want to partner up with an organization which has very little or indeed nothing to do with your own. Therefore, be sure to spend a decent amount of time choosing your partnering businesses wisely. The better you partner up, the more likely it will actually benefit your own business in the long run too.
But the important thing is that you do it at all, and this means that you need to make sure you go out of your way to find a partner early on in the lifespan of your company, if you can manage it. When you find a decent partner, be sure to make the most of it – as the younger company, you have more to gain and less to lose, so be sure to do so at your earliest convenience. With the right partner, your business will function much more as a part of the world, even while being run from your spare bedroom. This is a powerful idea to get behind, so be sure that you do.
Communicating With Other Businesses
You will also need to communicate with other businesses from time to time, and this can be something that can be surprisingly hard to get down right. However, it will likely be essential to master if you want to properly function as a home business, so you will need to make sure that you have all the proper manners of communicating with other businesses at your disposal. You might be surprised at just how many you will need to get hold of if you want to be able to properly communicate with other businesses – including some which you might have thought were antiquated or useless technologies.
To begin with the obvious things, you will need to have access to the internet so you can use email, messaging and social media to keep in contact with other businesses. But you will also need to look further afield, and this is where you might run into some of the more surprising items of technological communication which you need to get hold of. By way of example – it is likely that your home office does not have a fax machine. However, there will be a surprising number of other businesses who do, and often they will want you to communicate in this fashion. Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean that you will need to get hold of a fax machine in order to keep in touch with those organizations. Instead, you can simply use an online fax service – yes, they exist – and communicate this way. You might also find that others want to talk by phone, and this differs from the fax machine in that you should probably consider a phone system in your home to be an essential way of keeping in touch with the outside world. Be sure that you have one before you get too far into your business’ lifespan.
It is important to be able to keep in touch with other businesses – probably more important than you might have imagined – primarily because you will often need to partner up with them, or else speak to them when you are in need of outsourced services and so on. This issue will crop up again and again, so you must not overlook this essential and vital part of the whole process of running your business from home.
Speaking With The Customer
As well as communicating with other businesses, you will also more obviously need to be able to keep in touch with your customers – and with potential customers. Fortunately, most consumers these days are happy to communicate online, and this will make things much easier for you as a home business – but there will always be those who would rather, say, speak on the phone, so it is essential to keep all lines of communication open. You don’t want to lose customers just because you could not be reached, so make sure that you don’t fall into this common early trap. Be as available as you possibly can be if you want your business to thrive in just the right way and at the right time in your business career.
In order to really ensure that you are not going to be stuck indoors and away from the world, you should also make sure that you get out there and network from time to time. Networking is an essential aspect of the running of any business, and this is just as true for your home business as it is for any other. Therefore, be sure to use whatever opportunities you can find to network your business as well as you can. You might be surprised at just how many such opportunities there are once you start looking, and the more you make of them, the better off your business will be in the long term. It will also ensure that you do not get holed up in your home office for too long – something which can desperately take a toll on your business if you are not careful. The more you network, the better off you and your business will be in the future. You will also find that practising with networking will ensure that your business is more likely to become the home brand name that you really want it to be, so it will help with achieving your business goals as well. A good networker is generally a good business owner, so you should do this as well as you can and as often as possible.