Yesterday, my real estate agent showed me a house I was interested in. It presented extremely well and felt like home the instant I walked through the door. The subtle scent of spice filled the air and music played softly in the background.
The interior resembled something out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine with perfectly placed furniture and striking accents.
After we left, my husband and I drove around the neighbourhood to get an idea of what living there might be like. We finished up with a final drive by the house.
As we drove by, we observed the beautiful home décor being loaded into a van for transport to the next home to be viewed. The house had been staged in order to create a strong appeal to potential buyers.
Staging is a popular practice in selling homes today because it's designed to appeal to many of our psychological triggers such as wanting to be comfortable, admired by our peers, feeling a sense of closeness and family, being associated to beauty, etc.
As we drove out of the neighbourhood, I realized, real estate isn't the only market that can benefit from staging. Your home-based business, no matter what it is, may also benefit by making a few simple improvements to its “curb appeal. "
Here are 5 simple improvements that may increase your prospect's interest in your business.
1. Lighten and brighten.
Homeowners who increase lighting average a 769% return on investment for making that one simple, yet powerful improvement. Imagine what that kind of return this would mean to your business! What can you do to make your business lighter and brighter?
As the representative of your business, how approachable are you? Do you smile and make eye contact with those you speak to? Do you make prospects feel welcome and heard? When they have finished speaking with you, do they feel lighter and at ease?
People want to do business with others who make them feel important, respected and valued.
2. Clean and declutter.
Owners who invest in cleaning and de-cluttering their home, see an average return on investment of 594%.
The simple act of putting things in order has a tremendous effect on how others perceive the value of your products and services. When you meet with a prospect, do you rummage through your purse or briefcase to find a pen or business cards? Is the back seat of your vehicle or your home office piled high with bags, boxes and books?
Like they say, a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind and this thought may be at the back of your prospect's mind when she's deciding whether or not to hire you.
3. Landscape and trim – by putting a few dollars into landscaping, homeowners can expect an average return of 266% for their investment.
Your landscape is your physical appearance. Do you dress in a professional manner and present well groomed? Image is everything.
Let's say you had two landscapers show up at your home to offer a quotation on yard work.
The first arrived in clean, casual clothes with a newer model vehicle and a notepad tucked under his arm. – The second arrived in a beaten down truck, looked like he had just rolled through a pig farm and pulled a muddy pack of smokes out of his front pocket to scribble notes on.
They both offer the same price. Who would you choose?
4. Upgrades – homes with upgraded fixtures, wiring, plumbing, shingles, etc. attract more customers.
How current is your business? Are you using technology or still doing everything by hand? Is your home phone also your business phone? Do you have a fax, e-mail or cell phone or do customers have only limited means of communicating with you? Do you offer various means of payment or cash or cheque only? The easier it is to reach and pay you, the more clients you'll attract.
5. Repairs – by making a few simple repairs, homes command much better selling prices.
What repairs would improve your business? This is an area where customer feedback is invaluable. Have customers had difficulty reaching you? Receiving information from you? Is your shipping provider giving top quality service?
Contact your existing clients and ask them what they would like to see more of, less of or if there is something they'd like to purchase that you don't currently offer.
Apply the concept of staging to your home-based business and enjoy the benefits of increased customers and higher sale values. Small improvements go a long way and provide a great return on investment
2007 © Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source
Laurie Hayes, founder and director of The HBB Source, helps freedom seekers cross the bridge from employee to home-based entrepreneur. Subscribe to her FREE e-zine for valuable tips and resources designed to create business success, at http://www.thehbbsource.com