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Home Office Tips for Holiday Houseguests

Keep your home business running smoothly with these three tips for entertaining holiday guests.

Q:How can I keep my startup running from home when I have holiday houseguests? What can I do to enjoy their company while keeping the business going?

A: Holiday houseguests pose special challenges when they and your business are all under the same roof. Since you're a startup business, you probably cannot afford to let your business slide for very long, both in terms of serving customers and maintaining your marketing activities. Try these tips for handling houseguests:

  • Pencil them in. Sometimes, being able to focus on your houseguests is simply a matter of timing. Look at your calendar. Are there days when you have nothing scheduled? Keep in mind, though, that meals, joint outings and the like will probably take more time than you think.
  • Communicate with customers. Most clients will understand that you'll be taking some time off or closing your office during the holidays. While you shouldn't make excuses like "My in-laws are here, so I can't do such and such," you can let customers know when you will be taking time off, using the same language you would use if you worked outside the home. Say "I'll be on vacation that week," or "We'll be closed for the holidays." Be sure to make all such arrangements well in advance.
  • Keep your houseguests busy. Plan something fun that they can enjoy away from your home during the times you need to work, perhaps escorted by a relative or friend who can relate well to your guests. Use the time to keep up your marketing activities, such as attending contact-building holiday parties.
Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards' new book is The Best Home Businesses for People 50+.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the December 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Home Office Tips for Holiday Houseguests.

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