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Thread: Safe at your home office?

  1. #1
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Safe at your home office?

    At a networking meeting last week, one of the attendees brought up the issue of not always feeling safe and secure when inviting clients into one's home office work space. Bringing this issue up may well have saved me from some trouble today.

    A gent by the name of Sam Funda contacted me on Monday and said that he would like to have me do some consulting work. Now, this of course is generally really good news. There were however a few things though that might have been a bit odd.

    Firstly, he said twice during the conversation "so you are at the address given on the website" (my website gives the details of the enclosed estate I run my home business from). He also seemed quite happy to pay the fees but hadn't actually looked at the page on the site that gave these details before contacting me. And then there was a business name that didn't match what the services were; as well as an mweb e-mail address and no website or internet activity mentioning him at all.

    None of these things in themselves presents a problem, but overall I got a bit of an uneasy feeling. So what I did is contact the local PA Shop (something like Postnet but nicer and with a meeting room) and booked their boardroom.

    I then sent an e-mail and left numerous telephone messages (he didn't answer his phone any of the times I called) telling him about the new meeting venue. He did get back to me this morning to ask for directions as he didn't get the e-mail (my server was playing up yesterday). When I said that it would be at a new venue he said he'd get back to me if he couldn't find it (although he didn't exactly appear eager to get directions over the phone which wouldn't have been difficult). Didn't happen.

    The result: He didn't arrive. And there were no messages from him when I got back to the office. So. Is this just crossed communications or a foiled robbery attempt?

    However, and this is where things get even more interesting, there was a message waiting for me from a lady who says that she is calling from "Funda Recruitment" wanting me to contact her to "find out more about how my consulting works".

    Well, I think I 'Funda' you people out here! While these may well be genuine businesses actually wanting my services I ain't gonna take that chance! So, no I am not phoning back and no I am letting you get access to the estate.

    Anyway, the result is that this has just made me a little bit more alert to the security issues of working from a home-based office.

    Some of the things that can be done in future are:
    - if I don't know the client from beforehand; have the first meeting in a public place.
    - find out a little more about new clients by doing an internet search for them;
    - ask my various contacts and groups such as this one if anyone knows anything about the particular person or company.

    If anyone else has any suggestions about this it would be great to hear from you here....
    www.2BBusiness.co.za
    Business portal that provides free news and information to assist South African entrepreneurs in SMMEs.

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    Graeme (17-Sep-08)

  3. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    In days gone by, one major challenge in starting out in business was building a credit record (and maybe this applies to personal finance too). It's still a challenge in starting out, but I feel we're getting to a point where you need to build a credibility record too.

    There are just too many "bandits" about nowadays. I'm starting to wonder if crime/fraud might not be well on the way to being our biggest segment of GDP. Good luck getting official figures for just how much money is flowing through the crime industry, but it certainly seems to be fairly significant.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Well done Ann for following your intuition and taking precautions, too often we "squelch" those feelings, especially when potential business is riding on it.

    Yvonne

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    My home office is where I work.
    If you want to see me I have a temporary office at the local M&B.
    I will buy you a coffee and we can discuss the next step in our relationship.

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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    My sister-in-law actually got robbed yesterday @ her place. She had some "clients" over, and when they left she noticed that her laptop & cellphone was stolen from her desk. She gives workshops on crafts (making cards, soap, etc), so she had to show them around, take them into the workshop (outside the house), etc.

    Sad, but that's South Africa
    Get superfast South African Hosting at WebHostingZone

  7. #6
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Oh no!

    Dux, I am so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law.
    I think that because we usually run more intimate businesses where we deal with clients face-to-face that we would like to think of them as having the same ethics as ourselves and want to be friendly.

    What it boils down to is that we need to be more vigilant. Firstly because home businesses are quite open to opportunists like this; but also because smaller businesses with tighter budgets really take a blow from a robbery like this.

    I hope she recovers from these losses soon.
    www.2BBusiness.co.za
    Business portal that provides free news and information to assist South African entrepreneurs in SMMEs.

  8. #7
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    wake up and smell the roses...this is south africa we are talking about...i know of a person who has a latch fitted in the boot of his BMW because he has been hijacked in his office locked in the boot of his car and driven around on several occassions...so at least now he can open the boot as soon as the vehicle stops and run like hell.

    just remeber the more security the more likely you are to be robbed

    i was at makro a while ago and heard an elderly couple arguing about a security gate for their storeroom...the old fellas theory was if we fit a security gate people are going to think there is something valuable in the room and they will break in...it has had an old broken door for years and nobody has broken into to it why change it now.

    i suppose i also believe in this theory...because i am asked the same question...you have a nice new vehicle but you still drive around in a old dented scrap vehicle whats the deal...well there are 2 reasons...one...getting customers to pay....if i drive a new vehicle they seem to think i am making lots of money and dont need to be paid COD and the other...hijackers...if they see my vehicle they dont know the the equipment i carry in the vehicle is valued at twice the value of my new vehicle.

    living in an estate indicates you have valuable assests which people think you took from them when the settlers arrived in 1820

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