When people start their own business, they seldom consider personal safety an important issue. Their heads are filled with financial perils, distribution problems, marketing roadblocks – they don’t have time to think about whether or not their business could be harmful to their health.
If you use your home address as your business address, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. Think about when you meet a client for the first time. People who would never let strangers into their house under other circumstances often invite prospective clients into their home office to discuss doing business together. This can be a dangerous situation.
Google’s Place Pages (part of Google Maps), for instance, highlight local businesses’ addresses on convenient online maps as a courtesy to business owners. However, these listing may place you and your family at risk. When a web surfer clicks on a business that’s listed in, he is taken to a Place Page, which provides detailed information about the business (such as one employee, owner is a female, etc.) Directions to your house are also provided to web surfers. A street view is also available, which is a boon to burglars who can see where the best entry point to your house is.
So there your house is, on the map, and if you’re a woman working at home alone or with a baby or small child in a quiet neighborhood that’s deserted during the day, any enterprising thief/stalker/rapist can easily find you and carefully plan to get into your house.
An inexpensive solution is to lease some executive suite or serviced office space. Regardless of how much time you spend there each month, you are allowed to use the street address of the facility on your business cards, in your business literature and on your website.
Safety tips for solopreneurs:
• Don’t use your home phone number or address on your business cards.
• Take advantage of your virtual office’s amenities and Always hold first-time meetings with prospects at your executive suite office’s conference room.
• If you become uncomfortable during a first-time meeting, trust your instincts.
• Don’t have meetings after hours or when the facility is deserted.
• Always carry a charged cell phone with 911 programmed into speed dial.
• Carry mace or pepper spray.
• Many executive suite facilities employ security guards. If you work late, don’t be embarrassed to ask him or her to walk you out to your car.