There is no rule that says new clients must visit your home office, says Cynthia Brower, vice president of marketing for the National Association of Home Based Businesses in Baltimore.
"We discourage home-office foot traffic for a number of reasons, including safety concerns," she says. "Instead, we give our members alternative suggestions, especially women who are home alone with children." Here are those tips:
Take advantage of modern communication devices whenever possible. If someone wants your address so he or she can drop something off, ask if the item can be sent via modem or fax instead.
Have deliveries sent to a post office box or a mail service street address and pick everything up there.
Avoid unexpected visits by never putting your home address on business cards, stationery or advertising materials.
Meet first-time clients in a public place, such as a local restaurant or coffeehouse. If you leave the meeting feeling uncomfortable, and are afraid the person may try to follow you home, Green suggests taking a different route home--a few left and right turns should confuse most people. She adds, though, that if you are really scared, you should drive to a crowded shopping mall or the nearest police department. Furthermore, she also suggests arriving early to meetings so that you can see where the other person parks, but they can't see where you've parked, or what you're driving.
When a restaurant isn't impressive or quiet enough for your business purposes, rent a conference room in an executive center and have new clients meet you there. This will increase your safety and give you more credibility.