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(ARA) – Millions of Americans are pursuing the dream of owning their own business. For those developing and growing their concept among an increasingly large field of independent business owners, the need to stand out in the crowd can’t be overstated. Some small business owners are finding that the traditional idea of working out of the home needs some refreshing in order to ensure success.

“In this information age, ‘work’ is no longer a place; it is something you do,” says Ralph Gregory, founder and CEO of Intelligent Office. “And you can do it from most anywhere with the right support services.”

Consider these tips for making sure that your small business is poised to succeed.

  • Prepare yourself every day. Independent business owners need to apply the same professionalism to each day that they would apply if they were going into corporate headquarters. That means setting a time schedule: requiring yourself to be to work on time, taking a lunch break and a designating an end to the day. How you dress also has an impact on your attitude, so wear appropriate professional attire. And if you are doing work from your home, make it clear to other family members that your workspace is off limits and that you shouldn’t be interrupted during business hours.
  • Be available to meet with customers in a professional setting. Meeting with customers at your home is often out of the question, and it blurs personal and professional lines. As well, meeting at a coffee shop or other public location can be noisy and distracting – not conducive to business. A smarter solution is to use a service like Intelligent Office, which allows you to give your business a more professional edge by providing office space or conference rooms – often in desirable, prestigious locations – for an affordable hourly rate. This virtual office space gives you the opportunity to interact with your clients in an established office building and equips you with the necessary tools for making presentations or hosting meetings for large or small groups.

  • Provide professional service. If a prospective new client calls and you miss it because you’re on the other line or away from your desk, you’re putting your business at a disadvantage. In today’s competitive business environment, you can’t afford to lose an opportunity to speak to someone interested in your business. Likewise, making the right impression when you do answer the phone is important. If there’s distracting noise in the background, it can cause you to lose focus, or it might give your customer doubts about your professionalism. A virtual receptionist service, like that provided by Intelligent Office’s Intelligent Assistants, is an affordable alternative that provides highly professional, personalized phone answering services and a dedicated business telephone number, ensuring that your calls aren’t missed and that your clients get a consistent, positive and professional impression of your business.

  • Strike a balance. Maintaining a work-life balance is one of the most important parts of working independently, and, for many people, it’s the reason they decided to start their own business. However, striking a good balance means that there shouldn’t be too much home in your work, but also that there shouldn’t be too much work in your home. Having a dedicated space to work from outside the home allows you the freedom to work independently without your work encroaching on your home.

There are plenty of independent small business owners who work from a corner of their homes or by going from café to café, but for many there is a better way to operate. By using virtual office space and virtual assistant services, small business owners can offer clients the professionalism and services that they’d expect from larger companies, but with the personal touch that sets small businesses apart.