Recession Survival: How to Create a Home Office Operation on the Cheap Bay Saint Louis MS
Recession Survival: How to Create a Home Office Operation on the Cheap
Innovative Ways to Say “Corporate” on a Ramen Noodle Budget
By Sue Anderson, Marketing Lure, Inc.
Every dollar spent on a home-based office eats away at net income, but cutting back too far can negatively impact the amount of revenue and type of clients you attract.
Fortunately, technology makes creating a professional image on the cheap a very realistic and attainable goal. If you already have a computer, printer/scanner combination, and high speed Internet access, you’re 90% there. Here’s how to complete the image that says corporate-suit-and-tie, even when you’re working in your pajamas.
Spend $5 --- not $50 --- per month for a business phone.
When the phone rings, you want to know it’s a customer (not Mom) before you pick up, but a dedicated business line doesn’t have to cost $50 or more per month.
VoIP is a great alternative if you live in an urban area and have high-speed Internet connectivity. You’ve probably seen ads for digital phone service, but much better deals can be found online. My VoIP service costs $60 per year and includes unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada, voice mail, instant messaging, conference calling, and videoconferencing.
If your computer has a microphone, you already have everything you need, and because it’s completely software-based, you can take your phone on the road and use it wherever there’s high-speed access: airports, hotel rooms, coffee shops, fast food restaurants, and more. Add a noise-canceling headset to improve sound quality or VoIP phone for more freedom. Two words of caution: If you live in a rural area, VoIP may not work reliably, and if you lose power, you’ll lose your phone, too.
Make a good first impression with e-mails.
What company have you done business with that uses free e-mail accounts like @yahoo.com or @hotmail.com to communicate? Companies big and small follow the de facto standard @companyname.com for their e-mails, and you should too! Conducting business with a free e-mail account will only raise legitimacy questions and make you look like small potatoes.
Web site domains are cheaper than you think. For approximately $50 per year, you can get an economy plan with e-mail, web site hosting, and online advertising credit to boot. Not ready to create a web site? No problem. Hosting providers will automatically park the domain when you buy it. Don’t however, pick the cheapest provider you can find. You want 99.99% uptime and you want support when something doesn’t work, so select a provider based on reputation.
When shopping for a domain name, strive for .com. Granted, it’s easier to find the name you want if you opt for a .net extension, but most people still think .com when they’re searching for a company web site. Here’s where creativity and persistence will pay off. Host providers are highly competitive, so it’s easy to find savings on sites like CouponMountain, RetailMeNot.com, and Ebates. Or sign up for e-mails from a few candidate p...