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More businesses are turning to telecommuting as a way to provide flexibility for employees and lower the costs associated with traditional office space.
2. Independent Contractors and Freelance Work
The 40-hour workweek is quickly becoming a concept of the past. Many business owners are now paying workers by the project instead of requiring them to spend 40 hours a week sitting behind a desk.
3. Virtual Offices
With the advent of highly specialized social technology, many businesses are now operating out of virtual offices instead of taking on expensive long term leases for office space.
4. Desktop Mobility
Mobile devices and like smart phones and tablet computers will continue to grow to work on the go.
5. Self-Efficient Teams
Many 21st-century work teams are responsible for their own scheduling, planning, and organizing without traditional supervision. Teams are taking advantage of telecommuting and virtual offices to accomplish twice the work in half the time.
6. Marketing Evolution
Web based promotions such as search engine marketing, optimization and social media marketing will increase as businesses shift away from traditional techniques of telemarketing and direct mail.
7. Online Collaboration
Employees have left the cubicle behind in favor of online collaboration. Online work has become a more efficient way to handle business in many cases.
8. Flexible Workplaces
Businesses large and small are increasingly taking advantage of flexible, instant turnkey office solutions offered by office business centers that can be arranged for hours, days and months that can easily adapt to its changing needs.
9. Stress-Relief at Work
Some businesses are now offering free therapy and gym memberships to ease the stress that burdens many workers.
10. Eco-Friendly Offices
Many businesses are turning to environmentally-friendly products and materials to save money and promote green living in their office space.
• “There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” – John Adams
• “Patience and perseverance have a magical affect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams
• “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
• “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.” – Woodrow Wilson
• “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
• “No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.” – Theodore Roosevelt
• “Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.” – Abraham Lincoln
• “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” – George Washington
• “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
• “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” – James Madison
• ” ‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln
• “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson
• “My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty… it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.” – George Washington
• “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson
Happy President’s Day!
Business meetings depend on their context, however business is fickle. It may be compelling to have a small chat at a coffee shop; however final discussions should rest at the office. Coffee shop meetings can compromise negotiations, more importantly a client’s confidence in your ability to provide stable negotiation centers, which is where meeting rooms come in.
Modern business requires modern respect to image, since image is everything in business. People who are looking to exchange money with you want to know you have the resources to pull off the job. Even a small home office can portray that you have gone out of your way to invest in business practicality. Deals are sensitive at times; it is inappropriate to discuss private matters in public and coffee shop meetings can undervalue clients and display an open disregard to their private matters. An office business center formalizes matters that are crucial to the bottom line of a company by providing professional business meeting places.
Home businesses already have a hard enough time convincing customers about their legitimacy. People see business separate from the home. The appeal, while rising, is still not the norm, which is why an office business center makes sense for the long term. It improves relations, conducts affairs with professionalism and stands your business apart from others. Coffee shop meetings can take away your legitimate appeal. They may be alright for casual get-togethers, however it can also be an ample breeding ground for putting off clients. The wrong jokes, let alone opinion on topics and unpredictable clientele can undermine a sale before it even gets underway.
As needed meeting rooms provided by office business centers are the answer to any home business legitimacy. Rather than investing into a lengthy expense office space lease, business owners simply request rooms at specific dates and times and rent them by the need. This allows home businesses to maintain cost cutting measures while providing a professional business place to meet clients; critical to the business image. In addition to meeting rooms, office business centers offer top line office equipment, with a formal business address to match. Clients will be impressed by your reliable accommodation. Office business centers also offer training rooms and conferencing centers for grander occasions and even full time office space for those that outgrow the home office. Coffee shop discussions are icebreakers, not deal sealers in mind. Keep things professional to succeed.
With today’s technology options, it is very easy for many to enjoy the telecommuting benefits of working at home. However, even with the latest tools and technology, there are still some important factors to consider if you are lacking a professional workplace.
1. Professional Image – A physical business address versus a home address or Post Office box is important to your customers’ perception in determining if they believe you are a reliable business. It may not be important if you deliver exceptional products and services, however, you may miss the opportunity if you do not present a professional, credible image in the beginning.
2. Distractions – The distractions of a home office (barking dogs, kids, chores, spouses) can throw your concentration and productivity off course quickly, not to mention the reflection on your business if these noises can be heard in the background of an important call.
3. Meetings – A professional place to meet your clients and colleagues improves your image and shows you are serious about your business. It also ensures that the privacy of your negotiations and discussions is protected and eliminates the distractions and interruptions of a meeting in a public venue or a home environment.
4. Privacy – Personal privacy regarding your home address is important so you do not have uninvited visitors showing up at your door without warning. This could be a big problem if you are not presentable for the business world.
5. Package Delivery – You may miss important package deliveries if you are not home.
In addition to the convenience and other benefits of a home office, the office space rent savings is a huge benefit. Many telecommuters and home office businesses are finding virtual offices, typically operated by Office Business Centers, to be a great hybrid workplace solution that allows the freedom to work just about anywhere, yet provide the professional business address, meeting place and other business amenities as needed at a fraction of the cost for office space.
As you focus on growing your business, do you consider the relevance of the way your business is perceived as important? Your communication and the image you present, both personally and your business itself, create your first impression, and unfortunately, sometimes your last impression. Studies about people reveal that most people make their decisions within the first 30 seconds to two minutes. We have long heard “you only have one chance to make a first impression”.
While you may have impeccable skills and qualifications to perform a service or sell a product, you may not make it past the “first impression” if you have not given serious attention to you professional image. You may not only be cutting yourself short of an initial sale, but also repeat and referral business. Your goal in personal and business presentation is to avoid negative distractions to move others past the outside and focus on the inside, so that the attention is on you, your business and what you have to say. You want to be noticed, recognized and have a positive influence on others.
While opinions will differ on the relevance of importance of the different image aspects depending on your business type and products, it is important that you and your business convey success. If you fail to present a sharp, successful, professional image, why should your prospect expect to get anything different from your product or service? Like it or not, your personal and business presentation can distinguish your abilities, credibility and success by most. If you are remiss in the details, you may be losing significant business.
1. Dress for success – if you look like a professional, you will be perceived and valued as a professional and inspire confidence. Be simple and professional and avoid extreme fashion that can be distracting.
2. Phone Appearance – What is the perception of your callers? How is your phone answered? Several studies have indicated that a very high percent of the opinions people form about us, when speaking to us on the telephone, are based on the tone of our voice. Only a small percentage is based on the actual words we use. Be sure your initial greeting is professional. Even better, have your calls professionally answered by a trained professional that radiates a positive tone and spirit. If callers like what they hear, chances are your business will be perceived as knowledgeable and confident.
3. Voice Mail Messages – When leaving a message for someone, leave a complete message including your name and phone number. Be concise and give them enough information so they can respond to you without talking to you first, but do not ramble. Speak slowly and repeat your number at the end of the message so the message does not have to be replayed to get your number.
4. Logo – A good logo is important for branding value and recognition. A clean, simple unique logo is usually the best way to go for longevity and success. A logo should reflect your company’s personality. This is not something you should do yourself. A professional artist will make sure your design reflects your corporate personality, while maintaining a clean and professional look.
5. Marketing Collateral – Appearance is reality in marketing and it must look as professional as you. All of your materials should follow fundamental design principles, should look clean and simple, have a branded feel, and use professional images. It is also a good idea to appoint one person in charge of all collateral, so that branding and your image is consistent.
6. Website – The look and feel of your website sets the mood and readies the visitor to listen. It defines your image as a player in your industry. It should be simple and elegant and guide the visitors eyes to what is important. It is worth the investment to hire a professional to ensure you do not fail to engage the visitor, or risk coming across as technically unsophisticated. Your website may be the visitor’s only impression of who you are.
7. Business Address - Nothing adds credibility to a website better than showing the physical address of the business on the contact page or on the page footers. A physical business address versus a home address or Post Office box is important to your visitors’ perception in determining if they believe you are a reliable business. Additionally, you should have a professional private meeting place and avoid business meetings in the public coffee shops and restaurants.
8. Email Address – Take the time to secure a domain name and email address. Using generic addresses such as @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, etc. does not project a successful business image. People may think you are out of touch, tentative about your business or not technically sophisticated.
9. Written Communications – The transparency of a professional document or response affords a company some of the best exposure they can get. Mistakes that are not caught and get into print or published online reflect badly on not only the writer, but on the entire organization or publication as well. When a document has inaccuracies, readers tend to distrust everything, including the statistics, opinions, and facts. Be sure that you check your facts, proof read, spell check and find an objective reader to check over your work before it is released.
10. Email Etiquette – Much like the rules for business letters, be sure that you use proper grammar and punctuation. Avoid abbreviations and symbols such as smiley faces; they are not perceived as professional in business communications. Fill the email address of the person it is addressed to last, so you do not accidently send it before you are ready. Never write an email when you are upset; use the “sleep on it” rule so you do not write something you will later regret.
Your initial image affects whether or not someone will return to you in the future which is important for immediate and future business, as well as referrals; it can really add up. Communicate the image you want to project to your employees and reinforce it regularly. Your business will transform into an image of success, credibility and professionalism, a company that people want to do business with.
Gayle Smith is Executive Director for Corporate Office Centers (www.corporateofficecenters.com), an Office Business Center operator that operates 32 executive suite business centers throughout the country. Executive suite business centers provide instant business workplace solutions including turnkey office space, conference and meeting rooms and virtual offices, providing instant professional addresses. A company’s business image can be instantly elevated through programs that business centers offer.