Estimated reading time: 7 mins
Small doesn’t have to mean unprofessional. In fact, there are a whole host of tactics that you can use to give your company the most professional appearance no matter what its size or success level. Read on to find out what they are.
Would you rather a professionally trained receptionist answer your incoming calls and directed them where they need to go, or you did this yourself? Well, if you went for the latter, you need to think again because answering the phone all of the time not only interrupts your workflow throughout the day, but it also will look very unprofessional to your clients.
Someone to answer your phone can give you a professional edge.
Luckily, there are several options that you can explore to rectify this. The first is to invest in 1300 numbers that are charged at a local rate and can also be matched up with a live receptionist service. Something that will ensure that your customers will be greeted professionally every time they call.
The second option is to employ your very own receptionist to manage and field enquiries. Although, if you are a small business that is not operating form a formal office premise this isn’t the most practical of choices unless you go for a virtual assistant set up instead.
Next, if you want your business to look as professional as possible, it can help to have a commercial business address. In fact, this can be useful in two ways. The first is that provides you with smart premises in which to meet clients. Something that demonstrates that you are serious about your business and so will help them to convince them that you are a well put together and organised company that will be a good investment.
Secondly, having a business address rather than a personal one can make a big difference on correspondence and when potential customers Google you too. After all, it’s pretty apparent if you have a private address associated with your business and immediately makes people think that you are a small time operator. Something which isn’t always going to inspire them with confidence to work with you.
Happily, there are ways to rectify such issues. The first, and perhaps easiest option is to go other whole hog and get a professional office. Of course, you may choose to do this on a shorter term lease, and by selecting one that comes fully furnished and you may end up saving money too.
However, it may be the case that leasing an office on a month by month basis is out of the question, yet, there are still some other actions you can take.
Firstly, why not get a professional business address for correspondence. Such addresses are usually based in the heart of a city’s business district and can even include confidential mail scanning and shredding. Therefore you don’t even need to get items physically forwarded to you, but will be able to have them emailed to your phone.
Lastly, in term of business addresses why not lease a professional workplace and meeting room just for the most crucial time that you need it? For example, you may have an important client coming into town, and rather than giving them with a grand tour of the office in your garage you instead rent a meeting room downtown to give processing a more professional edge.
Of course, they will know that the building isn’t ‘yours’ so to speak, but will no doubt appreciate the effort you have gone to treat them with professional respect and show them the best side of yourself and your business.
Say no to self-designed logos
Unless you are an experienced artist, or graphic designer is probably a bad idea to try and come up with your businesses logo yourself. After all, it’s one little symbol that needs to encapsulate and convey so much. It is also one little symbol that you customers will come to see as synonymous with your brand, and for that reason you need it to be as effective and professional as possible.
With this in mind investing in professional logo design is the way forward here, and don’t be to work through several iterations if you are not convinced by the first one. Yes, it’s just a logo, but it’s also the ultimate symbolism of your business and so worth investing some time in to get right.
With more businesses having a presence online that in the physical world in today’s market, your website and how professional it looks is crucially important.
What that means is that static, scrolling catalogue sites that are poorly formatted are an absolute no-no, because they will be dragging the impression of your business down. In fact, even relativity newly designed websites that are unreliable, or hard to use could be severely impacting on the professional reputation of your company, not to mention your conversion rates, and profits as well.
Therefore it’s vital that you invest in the most professional site that you can afford, even if you are only a small business. What this translates to is customised as much of your website as possible, and even paying for one to be designed from scratch specifically for your use if possible.
The focus of such a design needs to be on positive user experience (UX) and effective user interaction (UI), so your customers have a smooth and pleasant experience while using your site.
In particular, the UI needs to be stylish and fit with your companies brand as well as simple and easy to use. After all, your website isn’t just your shop, it’s also your showroom, you contact centre, and the first thing that many potential customers will see that is associated with your brand. Therefore it needs to drip with professionalism and portray the best impression it possibly can to work in your favour.
Your email address
Stinky.firstname.lastname@example.org is an excellent example of an extremely unprofessional email address. It has nothing to do with your business, its spelt wrong, is trying to be funny, but is in poor taste, and is also hosted by a famous gratis provider. Of course, using an email such as this can severely detract from your company’s appearance as professional operation, and put potential customers off working with you.
With that in mind, it is well with ensuring that your email addresses and website domains are as professional and on-brand as possible. It’s even possible to get suffixes ending in things that relate directly to your company, as well as the region you are in which can also work in your businesses favour.
Sometimes businesses forget that the piece of correspondence that their customers are guaranteed to open each month is the invoice they send them. Of course, this means that it is vital for these to be as professional and accurate as possible.
The basics of getting this right include having a personalised company invoice complete with your logo and address, as we as a reminder of how to pay the invoice.
Although, many firms are now going with electronic invoicing which automatically generates a bill that can be saved as a .pdf and then emailed to your customers to request payment. Of course, this not only looks professional but show that your business is up to date with using technology, which can reflect positively on you as well.
Remember too that by sending e-invoice you can save on the cost of paper, printing, and postage. Also, research has shown that customers are much more likely to pay on time and respond to reminders if sent in an electronic format as well.
If your business is new to the scene, an introductory video that you can embed in your website, or disseminate through social media channels can help create a professional appearance.
After all, it’s something that you can use to explain what problem you are solving for your customers and what services you are offering. It’s also something that can help set the tone of your brand and ensure that potential customers see you as a serious investment.
Lastly, if your goal is to come across as professional as possible in your business dealings in it may well be time to swap to a business Internet provider.
Yep, this may cost you a little more in the short term but what it will also do is ensure that your website and communications are reliability accessible at all times. Something which contributes to your company looking as professional as possible.
After all, do you want to have to explain to new and potential customers that they can’t click through and buy your product now, or that it took you two day to get their urgent email about products changes that need to happen before shipment? Of course, not, because it will make you seem like an unorganised, unprofessional outfit that is not serious about what they are doing. Something that can, in turn, put off customers and negatively affect your bottom line and ultimately your long-term success as a business.