So many home startups require nothing more than a decent computer or laptop, a desk, a chair and a nice quiet space. But what about those businesses where you need a little more?
For example, if you plan to send paper propositions out to clients, what will you need? If you want to be able to use storage or design and create, how can you make your space work for you? What about when clients come to visit?
There are very few jobs that require almost no contact between you and your client. And, while there is much to be said for email and phone calls, a face to face meeting will always make a client feel more trusting of your abilities and will offer you the chance to make a good impression.
So, bearing all that in mind, here’s what you need to create the ultimate home office space.
Use Furniture Intelligently
If you are planning to entertain clients in your home office, it is worth getting another table for you to sit around to discuss your project. This is usually the best way to have any meeting as sitting in front of you while you’re at your desk will either feel like seeing the headteacher or just won’t give you the flexibility you need to chat naturally.
If you have room, a comfy sofa or chairs could also be a great addition to deformalise the situation and make sure that everyone is feeling relaxed. It could be tempting to just go into your living room or dining room to do this but try to keep a gap between your work life and your home life. Keeping the two world separate will allow you to relax more when you aren’t working, but it will also mean that when the kids can make a mess no one has to know!
Make Sure You Can Print
You might prioritise advanced tech, but actually sometimes you need to think of the basics first. Though much of your work product is likely to be digital, having the ability to print resources is a must. Clients will always prefer to be able to see hard copies during meetings so that they can easily make notes and keep track of the conversation.
Get cheaper paper for your own uses but make sure that your clients get the good quality stuff. This gives a better impression, however daft it might seem to you. Though paper quality is easily spotted, you can get away with choosing a cheaper ink. Try 123inkjets for high quality and great offers.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Organise and Store
Organisation and storage is vital. You don’t have to settle on the standard hideous filing cabinet though, just make sure that you can find everything easily. Use brightly coloured, clearly marked folders to keep track of client stuff and all those other bits of paper you inevitably end up with.
Try using a music cabinet instead of a filing cabinet as a more attractive way to store folders in lots of wide, thin drawers. You could also make use of pretty magazine racks, use hooks for hanging things under shelves and back a standard cork board with wrapping paper to make a working feature.
Decorate and Tidy
It has to be said that most creatives aren’t particularly good at tidying up. The creative process takes a bit of chaos to achieve the best results which is all fine until someone comes to call. The key here is to make sure that everything in your office has a place to return to and you know where that place is. It’s easy to leave things scattered around but if you try to tidy along the way, your space will be more inviting to visiting clients.
Decoration is also a key component of your office space. You don’t need to spend an arm and leg, but do consider things like lighting, fresh paint and interesting furniture. In your house, you will be able to express your personal taste, but for your office, it is better to understand what your clients expect from your business and reflect that in your design.
Posters are a good way to fill up a blank wall and a rug will always add warmth and depth to the room. If you like, you could get some personalised mugs with your business name on them, which brings us nicely to:
Image Credit: Pixabay
Have Marketing Materials at the Ready!
When clients come to visit, you should make sure that you have everything you need to persuade them to work with you. It might be as simple as reinforcing your brand name with a personalised mug, or you could go a bundle on printing case studies for them to peruse.
Obviously, you will have business cards in your wallet, but keep a stash on your desk too. You might also consider offering pens or pencils, depending on how your marketing strategy is going and how much you have to spend.
Though they aren’t directly marketing materials, certificates presented in nice clear frames on the wall will lend you a bit more gravitas as far as your credentials go. If you have won any awards stick them up too to create more of a gallery. Think of this as presenting aspects of your CV rather than as boasting (which makes everyone feel weird).
Your home office may just be the start of a fantastic business or it could be where you intend to work for the duration of your career. Either way, making the space ideal for welcoming clients and giving you the opportunity to work at your very best is vital to your success.
There are no hard and fast rules for what makes the perfect home office, but hopefully the things highlighted here will give you a good idea of where you need to prioritise and what you can do to make the space yours. And, if you are working in a dark, tiny room at the back of the house, you might now realise that a shed in the garden built specially for you will be much, much better for business.