As a home based business professional your daily work attire may consist of jeans and a tee-shirt or even sweatpants and a favorite shirt. If you conduct the majority of your business via phone, fax, or email it is easy to forget that your physical appearance can have a bearing on how potential business partners and clients perceive you. Whether you decide to meet with a potential client over lunch, present to a group of potential referral sources, or attend a charity fund raiser to increase your visibility in the community there will come a time in every home entrepreneur's career where they must conduct their business face-to-face. First impressions are lasting so make sure that you put yourself in the best position to get what you seek from a contact by dressing the part - it will allow those you meet with to focus on what you have to say not what you look like.
It is always a good idea to do some research on the dress code of the office you are visiting so you can adhere to it. If you are meeting with attorneys who routinely dress in formal business attire you will negatively stand out if you dress business casual. This may have an impact not only in how you are received, but also in how you feel. Knowing that you look the part will allow you and your contacts to focus entirely on the quality of your knowledge and presentation - which will be reflected in your overall confidence level.
Because working from home rarely requires business casual or formal attire it is easy to let your business wardrobe fall out of date. If this happens it is not necessary to spend a tremendous amount of money replenishing your professional garments. In fact purchasing a few reliable pieces and keeping them in good condition will most likely meet your needs; dark colored suits, khaki pants, white collared shirts, and well polished and professional footwear are staples that should be a part of any business wardrobe. Try to avoid anything that is too trendy, it may become dated and need to be replaced more quickly. You may also consider pieces that can be mixed and matched. Gentlemen may consider buying several ties to go with a particular suit while ladies may want to purchase a blazer that can co-ordinate with a skirt and pair of slacks.
Having the right wardrobe will help you send the right signals to your contacts for those occasions when you do need to meet in person. If your wardrobe is lacking any of these pieces prioritize what is necessary and set a reasonable budget for them. Make sure that you take care of the pieces to extend their life so they are in good condition for those times that you need them. Dressing as an equal to those contacts you make when you go out into the field to meet with them allows you to command their respect and focus attention on the service you bring to the table.
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