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Professional touch for Home Business?

Discussion in 'Working Women' started by purnima, May 24, 2005.

  1. purnima

    purnima New IL'ite

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    Hi All,

    I am trying to develop a home based business in the UK offering accounting services for small businesses.

    Many small businesses don't need and don't have the money to employ a full-time accountant. They can use my service when they need and spend only a fraction of a full-time accountant's salary in UK.

    These small companies accumulate their bills monthly and send them to me. I input them into Quickbooks (the accounting software widely used), do all the checks and balances and send them back.

    The service is quite lucrative. I am trying to get a few additional clients so that I can keep myself fully occupied. Here is where I hit a wall. I need to present a professional face to my service as opposed to this stay at home mom trying to get an extra income.

    Can someone give me some ideas as to building a professional touch for my service without spending much money?

    Purnima
     
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  2. ankita_chitnis

    ankita_chitnis Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Purnima,

    My husband works for verizon, but he started a tiny part-time business to get some extra income. His objective is to quit the job and involve in the business full-time if it picks-up.

    He did a few things as he started his business and I think that it might be useful to you. As I see it, there are four things to a company image

    An unique email address with your comany name as domain (nothing shows that you are less serious than an email id like xyz@hotmail.com)
    A website with a logo
    A business card with a logo (if you meet your customer in person)
    A letterhead (becomes less important if email is your main medium of communication with your customer)

    There are several companies that offer the above services at very low prices. If you have the above four things, there should be nothing that will hold you up.

    Ankita
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2005
  3. pooja

    pooja New IL'ite

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    I agree that those four are the right first steps. The order in which you would go about getting them will very much depend on the nature of the business.

    If you use a lot of email, I would suggest to first register a domain name for yourself and get an email id that is unique to you. That would first give you a step-up in front of the eyes of your potential customers.

    I personally used Register.com for a domain name/email that I needed few months back. But you can't go wrong with any of these below

    Register.com
    GoDaddy.com
    StartLogic.com
    Networksolutions.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2005
  4. sheetal

    sheetal New IL'ite

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    Need atleast a one page website

    Having a unique email is definitely the place to start. But when you start giving away your email id to potential customers, and if they want to know more about you, they will straightaway try your website.

    For example, if you give your email id as purnima@superaccountants.com, and if they need to know more about you, they will try www.superaccountants.com. If you don't have a website and the above web address brings an error message, that wouldn't reflect well on you.

    So, I would suggest atleast a basic one page website. If you spend a couple of hours reading on the web or get a basic HTML book, you can put together a simple web page by yourself. Many web hosting companies also have very user friendly features that will be helpful for people like you. If this is too much trouble, ask your friends in India if they know some good web development company. You can probably get a one page website done for under Rs.2000.

    All the best!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2005
  5. indira

    indira Junior IL'ite

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    Take care of your telephone.

    Hello Purnima,

    If you talk over telephone with your customer, you might need to take care of a few things. These are very minor things, but they add up to give you a professional image.
    • If you use your home phone for business purposes, you don't want your husband to pick up the phone and then hand it over to you. It might not look professional from your customer standpoint. Agree on some generic rules with your husband/other family members on who picks up the phone when.
    • If you have kids, you might want to keep your phone in a separate room so that your kids sound does not disturb any conversation you have with a client. You will never know when your kid will scream!
    • You might also wanted to leave some generic voicemail greeting so that if your customer calls you when you are away, he does not get a greeting like "you have reached Mr.X's residence" type.
    If you can afford it, try to get a separate cell number for your business purposes. It might solve many of the above problems.
     
  6. varshini

    varshini New IL'ite

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    Fax!

    Another thing I would worry about is fax.

    For certain types of work, customers would like to fax us something (PO, NDA, manuscripts etc). If we don't have a fax number, it gets very embarrasing to tell them that.

    When faced with this problem nine months ago, I did some research on the internet and found this efax thing. efax makes it possible to use your existing email account to send and receive faxes. efax also provides us a fax number, which we can give to clients. When clients send us a fax, efax will convert that into a jpg image and send that in an email to us. This makes things unbelievably easy.

    The only downside is that it has a monthly fee ($10~$15) irrespective of whether we send fax or not. It would be a good idea to share an efax account with others who might be interested :) That is what I did. I couldn't afford $12 per month!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2005
  7. bharthi

    bharthi Junior IL'ite

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    Newsletter?

    Purnima,

    Another very effective way of projecting a professional approach and cultivating clients is by sending newsletters. By newsletter, I definitely don't mean the 1000's of junk that we all receive every day.

    I am talking about sending a well crafted newsletter to your clients that has some accounting tips, filing date reminders, changes to accounting law etc. Through newsletters, you will remind your clients about you and project yourself as a person who is always up to date and one who cares about clients.

    Companies like Constant Contact,bronto,etc. make it very easy to design and send such newsletters. It takes time to put together a good newsletter and it is also prudent to send these out with less frequency.

    Bharthi
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2005
  8. Asha

    Asha New IL'ite

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    hi all

    Hi All

    I am new to this site and found the site very interesting. I wanted to know if http://www.dataentryunlimited.com/ if this site is good for working from home as they have asked for a initial payment i am not sure as to proceed with it or not please advice

    Regards
    Asha
     
  9. Shakthi

    Shakthi Senior IL'ite

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    Always check for reimbursement

    Hi Asha,

    It is good to explore with such sites. But whenever such work-from-home sites ask for initial payments, checkout their policy to ensure they have a money-back guarantee or re-imbursements within a specified period that you can claim in case you are not happy!

    Good luck, Asha.
     
  10. Shakthi

    Shakthi Senior IL'ite

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    Printing Business Cards

    Hello,

    I just wanted to share this info. I recently got Business Cards ordered and printed for my husband in this site - VistaPrint.com

    They offer 250 color Business Cards printing for FREE! You can choose from their pre-printed 42 design formats and upload your content and order online. If you want to customize their design format slightly, then it costs around $7.49 for 250 cards.

    If you are particular about your own design format, then they offer Premium Business Cards printing of 250 numbers for $14.99. You can upload your own design format and content too.

    Check out more details @ VistaPrint.com if you are interested in printing business cards for your home business or for your husband's business. This is way less costlier than printing at Fedex Kinkos.

    Regards,
    Shakthi
     

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