By Bruce Katcher, Ph.D.
Many professional service providers seem embarrassed that they operate a small business out of their home. They are concerned prospects and clients will view this negatively. Although I personally don't go out of my way to advertise that I operate out of my home, I don't hide the fact either. I worked for four years for a large, international consulting firm with posh offices at a fancy address. I know from this experience that working as a small business from my home offers many advantages to my clients.
1) MORE TIME TO FOCUS ON THE CLIENT
You have more time available to focus on clients since you are not commuting to an office. There are also no internal staff and management meetings to siphon off time and energy from your clients.
You are also more likely to be available to your clients when they call during non-business hours.
3) LESS OVERHEAD COST
Maintaining even a small office outside of your home is extremely expensive. The money you save can be partly passed on to your clients in the form of lower fees.
If you need to meet with clients, do so at their office. This saves them their valuable time.
4) A VALUABLE BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE
Operating a small consulting business from your home gives you something in common with your clients. As a small businessperson, you are forced to learn how to control your accounts receivables and accounts payables, how to make business forecasts, and how to decide when to invest in new equipment or marketing. No matter what type of consulting you do, these perspectives enable you to become a more valuable advisor to your clients.
5) MORE FREEDOM TO FOCUS ON ETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICES
When clients purchase your services, they are also purchasing your ethical principles, not those of a large firm. The ethical guidelines of your business are yours to determine. Within a larger firm, business values may not be consistent among all employees.
6) RESOURCES ARE DEDICATED TO YOUR BUSINESS
When I worked for a large firm, I shared printers, photocopiers, and other office equipment with many others. This equipment was not always best suited for my particular needs. I also shared a secretary with 10 people. She was not always available when I needed help. As a sole practitioner, I am able to acquire and use the equipment and support services that I need to best serve my clients.
7) ENERGY CAN BE FOCUSED EXCLUSIVELY ON YOUR CLIENTS
Your psychological energy can be focused almost exclusively on meeting the needs of your clients rather than on satisfying your office manager or supervisor, meeting company sales goals, achieving billable hours targets, or playing office politics.
Don't be embarrassed or shy about the fact that you are a small business and that you work out of your home. This provides many advantages to your clients. If you hold your head up high and think about the many advantages rather than the disadvantages, your clients will do the same.
About the Author
Bruce Katcher, Ph.D. is president of The Discovery Consulting Group, Inc. He helps organizations reduce employee turnover and improve employee morale. He conducts employee and customer surveys and also provides individual and group coaching to solo practitioners and small professional services businesses to help them grow.
He is author of the award winning book, 30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers: What Your Employees May Be Thinking and What You Can Do About It, published by AMACOM. His next book, "Starting and Growing an Independent Consulting Practice" will be published by AMACOM in 2009.
You can reach Bruce by e-mail or by phone 781-784-4367.