Make Your Home Office Look Big

Column by Jeff Landers/INC.

Renting an Manhattan executive office suite can add polish to your professional appearance and make your business seem bigger than it is.

A polished professional appearance is much more important for home-based entrepreneurs than for other businesses because you are always battling the unspoken -- the perception that you might not be a "real" business.

Clients, particularly great paying clients, want to give their business to companies that inspire trust.. They are looking for companies who deliver stellar work on deadline and until they get to know you and the quality of your work, potential clients can only judge you by "what they see."

What alternatives do you have? Well, the point is you do have alternatives. I often tell my home-based clients that having a virtual office is absolutely essential if you want to attract and catch the bigger fish. A virtual office space gives you the option to work at home, while giving the appearance that your operation is much larger and more impressive.

Here's how it works: For a reasonable monthly fee, you can rent the services of an Executive office suite without actually renting the office itself. Sounds crazy, right? Well, imagine working from your suburban house outside New York City, but having a prestigious Manhattan address and phone number. When they call you at your Manhattan phone number (the call is automatically forwarded to your home-office phone) or when your clients messenger a package over, they'll have no idea you are not really in a big Business Center in midtown.

You can rent a prestigious Fifth Avenue address for your business and never leave your bedroom or get out of your pajamas. This professional, low-cost office space, also known as an Executive Office Suite, can collect your mail, forward it to your home and if you choose, a very professional receptionist can answer your calls and take your messages.

You choose which services are best for your business and you only pay for what you need. That means you can finish up the big client presentation at home and go to your very own conference room in a high-end Executive office suite. Your clients can sip a cup of freshly brewed coffee in your modern, fully-furnished conference room and watch you blow them away with your polished, professional style.

The virtual office gives home-based entrepreneurs four big things: 1) the opportunity to create a polished, professional and a bigger-than-you-really-are appearance, 2) an a la carte menu of affordable services to choose from, 3) lots of flexibility for a growing business, and 4) more control over cash flow.