In between work and taking care of your children, you’re ready to launch a home-based business. You’ll need to find customers and get them to buy from you to make a profit. If you don’t have a fancy store or office, why should customers trust you? Follow these tips to increase the professionalism of your home-based business.
Follow Business Laws
Don’t try to operate under the radar when you want your business to look professional. Research all state, local, and federal business laws. You’ll have to do some paperwork and pay a few fees to run a proper business. It’s better to spend a little time and money now than pay penalties later if you don’t follow the law.
First, choose a business structure. A sole proprietorship is the simplest choice. You file a personal tax return and add a Schedule C for your business expenses and income. Corporate entities such as Limited Liability Companies and Corporations require separate tax returns and offer more protection for your personal assets.
Other steps include applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), filing a business name, registering your business with the state, and getting appropriate licenses.
Separate Business and Personal Finances
Using a single bank account to manage your personal and business transactions can become a time-consuming mess. At tax time, it can be challenging to collect the records you need to report the company’s revenue and deductions. Also, when you write personal checks to pay vendors, it can look like you’re not a serious entrepreneur.
Open a business checking account and purchase secure business checks to pay for supplies and services. Personalized business checks add immediate credibility to your home-based company and can protect your identity.
Build Your Online Presence
Even home-based businesses need websites. Your site is often the first place customers go to research your products. If you’re not a web designer, this is not a DIY moment. Buy a domain name and hire a professional to create a responsive website that is easy to read on all devices.
When you sell goods online, you must setup a gateway and a merchant account to accept credit cards. Once you have a domain for your website, add a business email address too. Yourname@mybusiness.com looks more professional than using a free Gmail or Yahoo email account.
Don’t forget to open a free Google My Business account to advertise your site on Google Maps. You can add your business even if customers don’t come to your location. You have the option to list your business in your area and not publish the address. Choose one or two social media platforms to promote your business too.
Even home-based businesses can portray a professional image. Create a professional website, follow business laws, and keep your business and personal expenses separate. Your customers don’t have to know that you’re working from a home office or the kitchen. When you deliver quality goods and services, it won’t matter that you don’t have an expensive office or retail space.