First impressions are everything when you are a small business trying to convince clients to hire you. Unfortunately, it is still common to underestimate small businesses and for small businesses, in turn, to miss some basic key points in creating the right image for their business. Presenting a professional image ensures customers see past your size and instead focus on your capabilities and product/service offering; here’s how:
A lot of small businesses, especially service providers, operate their business from a mobile telephone. This can make your business seem small and amateurish. Instead, invest in a landline telephone that you can use for all business calls. If you find it easier to conduct business via a mobile telephone, have your calls forwarded; the important thing here is that people often associate size and trustworthiness with landline numbers. Furthermore, if you are trying to take advantage of a local angle, having a landline with a local area code reinstates this benefit.
Another thing that is important to remember, is to have a professional sounding voicemail message for those instances when you are unable to answer the phone. Don’t just leave the default message, instead reassure customers they have called the right number by saying your name and business, then finish by saying that you will return heir phone call as soon as possible. Phone etiquette is very important!
If you have a dedicated office, you’re pretty much good to go. A lot of small businesses, however, are run from home. If you have the financial resources, leasing an office is a good next step because it allows you to meet clients in a professional environment and it also enables you to easily take on more staff as revenues climb and you expand. However, if this isn’t viable, you can consider coworking (sharing an office space with several self-employed individuals) or leasing a meeting room if the situation calls for it.
Lastly, if none of these are currently viable, but your home address is clearly residential, consider leasing a virtual office, which is basically just a professional sounding address which you can provide important clients with. Which option you choose depends on the nature of your business and the financial viability of the options available to you. The key thing to remember is that you want your small business to look professional and this is one key way of doing that.
If your business name includes your town or a specific product or service, this can limit your business’ growth. Look at what names your successful competitors operate under and adapt your name to look professional and competitive in your industry. Having the right business can stop you getting filtered out early on in the decision making process. Again, this gives you an opportunity to sell your capabilities without the main focus being on your size.
4- Social Media
Having business social media accounts is essential in today’s business environment. It is crucial, however, that these are managed and run very well, conveying a professional image. This means answering posts and messages promptly and professionally, posting relevant content, and keeping information up-to-date. We’ve written about this in detail in the past; check out our six important social media tips for small businesses here or read about how to get the most out of your social media accounts here.
Your website is a key element in conveying your business’ capabilities and professionalism. This includes the look (colour scheme, logo, images etc.), content, and functionality of your website. This is an area where it really is worth investing extra to make sure you make the perfect first impression that get you one step closer to completing the sale. Make sure your website is easy to use.
To find out more about creating a great website, read our previous blog post here: eight simple ways to improve your website. Or find out how to create great homepages, About Us pages, contact pages, and keep up-to-date on our blog!