Your dream is that your company will someday be large enough to hire a large staff and lease professional office space.
(article continues below)
You'll get there eventually, but what are supposed to do in the meantime? Is it possible to maintain a professional working environment in a small office?
A small office is typically a business with fewer than ten workers that is operated from a home or a few rooms of leased space. Compared to other businesses, small office businesses traditionally operate in a less formal atmosphere with fewer resources available for necessities like office furniture and equipment.
The result is a hodgepodge of design and function that can irritate even the most diligently-minded business owner. However, it is possible to preserve a professional atmosphere in a small or home office. All it takes is a little creativity and initiative.
Fake it 'til you make it.
One of the biggest mistakes small office owners make is failing to maintain a professional image in the small office, particularly when the small office is located in a personal residence.
Instead of surrounding themselves with the kinds of things you might find in a typical small business, these folks allow their office to be dominated by faded, mismatched curtains and '60s era wall hangings they found in a box in the garage.
Your clients may never see the inside of your small office, but you do. By creating a professional appearance in your workspace, you are creating a daily reminder that you take your business as seriously as the guy who goes to work in the big office building down the street.
One of the great things about going to work in an office building is that it's possible to eliminate interruptions that aren't work-related so you can focus on the task at hand.
Although it's a little harder to do in a small or home office, it can be done. For starters, locate your home office away from high traffic areas and establish an off-limits policy during work hours. If you are leasing a room outside of your home and can't afford a receptionist, don't be afraid to let the phone go to the answering service if you are in the middle of an important job.
The bottom line is that the only way to limit the number of interruptions you experience is to establish firm boundaries and enforce them on a consistent basis.
Strike a balance between comfort and cost.
Chances are your small office business doesn't have a lot of cash to invest in office furnishings. That's understandable.
However, you still need to strike a balance between living on a shoestring and finding furnishings that are not only functional, but comfortable as well.
Re-commissioning a chair from the dining room for use as your computer chair may have seemed like a great way to save a buck. But if you spend all day thinking about how much your back hurts, you haven't gained anything.
In fact, you've probably realized a net loss due to decreased productivity and diminished morale. The desire to save money is a good thing, but don't let it stop you from purchasing the furnishings you need to do your job professionally, safely, and comfortably.