Business start-ups are rapidly springing up across the global community faster than it takes a dignified English lady of the nobility class to smell a fart in a car. And speaking of the UK, more than 90,000 new businesses were created in Britain in the first half of 2013. With the virtual beheading of the ‘American dream’ (as our middle class is practically non-existent), America is no different when it comes to start-ups. People are tired of coming home to stare at their graduate degrees hanging on the wall from prestigious universities only to go to work the following day and make a few dollars more an hour than the guy who flips their burgers. As a result many Americans are quitting their pitiful jobs to try on the entrepreneurial hat and be their own boss. But the ones who scramble to launch their brand, products and services from a home office should take one step backwards, slow down, and ensure the office is properly equipped and functions as a den to usher success.
Choose a Space
When deciding on a space the main thing to consider is this: will clients be coming to my office on a daily basis? If your business requires a steady flow of traffic coming in and out of your office, choose a room that has direct access from the outdoors. In many cases entrepreneurs will transform their garage into a home office or invest in an outbuilding. But if your office is going to be located smack in the middle of your home’s floor plan, be sure to de-personalize the rooms in which one must pass through to enter your office. Nobody wants to see your velvet ‘Scarface’ art work or your display case of rosy-cheeked Hummel figurines brandishing fishing poles and dangling kittens. All visible rooms should be clean, clutter-free and void of anything that requires personal taste.
The last thing you want is to launch a business only to be forced to close doors. You may think I am drinking brandy wine, but entrepreneurs have been sued by employees and clients for not providing a clean, sanitary office. A national home and commercial restoration company warns those who conduct business from a home office that clients and employees can readily sue a business for failing to have a mold problem remediated. There are scores of companies that offer free mold tests, and taking an hour from your day to have one performed may just be that unforeseen life preserver fate throws at you that helped keep your business afloat.
Design, Enshrine and Shine
Your office must be perfectly designed for two primary reasons: to foster productivity and to represent your business in a professional manner to clients. When it comes to designing a home office you will want to consider color, functionality, comfort, tech, lighting and ambiance. Marketing psychology tells us that color influences consumer response, and as such you will want to choose color appropriately. For example, the color red is known to portray action and aggression, so if you are starting a business consultancy you may want to have neutral colors with red accents. Green is said to stimulate the body’s physical responses and reflect organic nature, so this would be an ideal color if you plan on starting your own massage business.
Your office should also function properly. Having plenty of storage to keep papers and products out of sight it ideal. If your room is particularly small invest in a corner storage system to make use of dead space. Be sure to provide comfortable seating for your clients, and make sure your own chair and your employee’s chairs are ergonomically designed with the desk.
Technology is also an important aspect of a successful home office. If you need to make conference calls, don’t use the speakerphone feature on your mobile phone; invest in a conferencing system that offers clear communication. Also, make sure your networking abilities are right for your needs. While some home businesses use dedicated servers, others have a cloud. Do your research and find the best solution to achieve your goals.
Lighting is another important factor, as headaches can occur from the wrong kind of lighting. Finding bulbs that are environmentally friendly, that offer enough light, and that reduce glare is important. There are a number of LEDs as well as CFL bulbs that offices use across the country. By going to a lighting store you can see the difference and choose something apropos to your needs. Finally, create the right ambiance. Your office should be a paradox: it should promote energy, but be calming at the same time. By having a fine balance between energetic accent colors and soothing wall and furniture colors, placing a few plants in the room to offer freshness, and hanging some inspirational art pieces on the wall, the stage for success will be set.