How do you know whether you can trust an online business? What do you look for before buying from an online store? You want the store to be credible. You can measure a store’s credibility by the number of its followers on social media, the comments and reviews, and the availability of the store’s contact information. Don’t you feel suspicious when a store could not publish its business address? Don’t you feel a sense of dread that you might be getting fooled out of your money?
But publishing a business’ contact information isn’t always possible, especially if you’re running the business from home. That being said, some home-based entrepreneurs use a post office box or P.O. box to receive business-related mail. This is their way of protecting their physical address from scammers and criminals lurking on the web. With a post office box, you can receive business mail (and even payments) without divulging your home address to customers, suppliers, and service providers.
Never use your personal email address to contact customers, suppliers, and service providers. Always have a separate personal email and business email. Even if you’re corresponding with a loyal customer, don’t use your personal email. Do not publish your personal email address on your website or social media. This will stop telemarketers and others from contacting you directly about the business.
When creating a business email address, make sure that it doesn’t contain any of your personal information such as the numbers in your birth date. Also, don’t use this same email address when signing up for a domain name. Harvesting is common on these sites, so you should use a different email when buying a domain name.
The post office box address is good for receiving mail and payments. But your customers may feel differently if you do not have a street address on your website. Renting an actual office space is expensive and not necessary for home-based businesses. Your customers, however, will be looking for this information when they decide whether to buy from your store or not.
You have several options: a virtual office space, mailbox services, a USPS street address, or a coworking space. These addresses are also used when registering your business. Banks and other financial institutions would also prefer a street address.
Apply for a business phone. If you don’t have a business line in your area, get another mobile phone with a different but registered SIM card. It would do you good to have a postpaid line for your business phone. This looks and sounds more legitimate for your customers. Publish your business phone number on your social media accounts and websites. Put a schedule for when the calls could be received so that your customers won’t call you at inopportune times such as after office hours.
Your business email, address, and phone number should only be used for your business. Never use it for any personal messages you send your friends or family, especially when you’re pertaining to your business process, operations, suppliers, and payments. Keep everything professional in your business accounts.