Professionalizing Your Home Business

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After weeks of exchanging messages with the merchandising manager of a leading department store, you finally have a confirmed appointment. You are bursting with excitement as you are eager to show off your line of handcrafted leather clutches.

On the day of your appointment, however, things just went totally haywire. Your two-year-old decided to throw a tantrum, leaving you frustrated and frazzled. You leave home without putting on makeup, thinking that you can do so on the way. But an unexpected call from your grade schooler’s teacher had you talking on the phone for the better part of your trip. Looking at your wrinkled skirt and your loosely tied hair, you assure yourself that the product will speak for itself and that it doesn’t matter what you look like. By the time you get to the reception area and face all the other potential vendors who look totally together, you realize that you should have prepared better.

There are many moms, especially those taking care of babies and young kids, who find it difficult to squeeze in some “me” time amidst their everyday schedule. Suffice it to say then that mompreneurs, who are not only raising kids but managing businesses, are even more pressed for time. However, if you want respect as an entrepreneur, you have to be professional in all your transactions. You can’t go to a meeting smelling like baby vomit, for example, and expect to snag the deal. Here are some reminders:

Dress for business. You may only be working at home, but making the effort to dress appropriately (e.g. Getting out of your pajamas and putting on some slacks and shirt) mentally prepares you for a day of business. You would be five times more confident talking to your offshore client in a shift dress than in shorts. Keep in mind as well that videoconferencing technology allows for instant face-to-face calls. You don’t want your clients talking to you in your undies and with your face unwashed.

Professionalize your work space. Whether you work in the kitchen or in a little nook under the stairs, it is a must that your clients, colleagues, and employees enjoy a professional experience. The important thing is to separate your work area from the living area. Tuck away your equipment and documents in a secure place. Contracts and financial papers must be kept under lock and key less sticky little fingers make a mess out of them.

Take your postal address and email address into consideration as well. Enlist in a mailbox service to enjoy a postal address at a business district for a minimal fee. Make sure your email address is utterly respectable. You won’t sound too credible, for example, if your handle is crazymama@gmail.com.

Field phone calls when the children are asleep. A child crying in the background with Nickelodeon on full blast won’t make a good impression on current and future clients.

When your business has become too big for your house, then it’s time to move to a more formal office setup. Don’t worry. There are a lot of financing options available for an entrepreneur with a growing business. BPI Family’s Ka-Negosyo Business Loans offers friendly terms to mompreneur businesses. Sometimes, all it takes is a little more funding to drive a mommy-run enterprise into expansion mode.

Arrange meetings in appropriate venues. So, okay, your kids and that of your client go to the same school. It doesn’t mean, however, that you can schedule meetings at the school canteen while you’re waiting for your kids. You maybe a friendly person, but always keep things at a professional level. If you don’t have an office, coffeeshops or restaurants are good options. You may also rent function rooms at business centers around the metropolis. Of course, it goes without saying that you should never bring your kids along to business meetings.

Keep your eye on the ball, all the time. It is quite a challenge to stay focused on work stuff when your child is running a fever, but that’s the job. Your clients, colleagues, and employees must be able to depend on you, no matter what. You mustn’t let them feel that your work revolves around your kids’ schedule or your yaya’s availability. You mustn’t make them feel guilty as well that you’re hard at work instead of making dinner for your children. Keeping home matters from seeping into the work environment is key.

Keep yourself razor sharp. Motherhood is no excuse to get lazy. In business, you need to keep yourself updated about what’s happening in and around your industry. If you lose your edge, your business is likely to suffer. Subscribe to industry newsletters. Attend a conference. Enroll in a continuing education course. Remember learning is a lifelong adventure.

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BPI Family Ka-Negosyo has partnered with Mompreneur Manila to come up with a series of informative articles with the objective of educating and empowering mompreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Image by iconmac at freedigitalphotos.net

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