You are not the only business on the block, and you need to do your best to compete in the marketplace. For a greater chance of success, it is important you make your business look professional, even if you feel like an amateur in your chosen field. In this guide, we offer some great advice to help you take your business to the next level, and give you the credibility you have been striving for.
Focus on your website
When operating a business online, you need to find ways to increase traffic and have a website that looks and feels good to potential customers. If your website is difficult to navigate and is unattractive, you are going to turn away visitors rather than attract them. You will also appear unprofessional if you don’t take time in producing something decent. Therefore, focus on web design. Whether you spend time working on the site yourself, or hire a company such as Fosterwebmarketing who can create legal websites designed to convert visitors into clients, your website needs to be your number one priority.
You should also pay for your own domain name, rather than have a URL that is tied into a free web building service. A private domain name will give you more credibility, and also gives you the flexibility to choose something appropriate to your company. You want to look professional, so it’s advisable not to choose something wacky unless that is the image your company conveys. Instead, find something that is relevant, memorable and significantly different from other companies to avoid legal action.
Stay up to date with technology
Technology is changing all the time, and you need to stay on top of the latest tech trends to ensure your business isn’t left playing catch-up. From smart payment technology, such as fingerprint scanning and Apple Pay, to using the latest video-conferencing software to speak to industry professionals, it is important you stay relevant and fresh.
Technology is one area where you need to invest money, but don’t overspend. Buy what you need to keep up with the industry you are involved in, but don’t get into the habit of buying something you may never need in an effort to keep up with the company next door.
Separate your personal life
You won’t look professional if you use your home as your business address. For that reason, you should consider getting a PO Box to give you extra credibility. In the same way, have a separate phone number. You can set up a business phone line, or set up a Google voice account.
You should also set up a separate email account, using your domain name as part of the address. Many email providers, such as Gmail and Outlook, will also give you added perks such as extra online storage when setting up a business address with them, so there are added advantages for your company.
Use business cards
A bit of a no-brainer this one, but business cards are an essential way to get your contact details to as many people as possible. However, don’t cut costs by producing your own, as there are professional design options from companies such as Vistaprint. Always carry your business cards with you, as you never know who you might meet in your travels, from customers to other industry professionals.
Act the part
You are the face of your company, so your behaviour will dictate how others perceive you. From your telephone manner with customers to business meetings with clients, be sure you are polite, respectful and courteous. There will be times when other people test your patience levels with their behaviour, but you need to bite your tongue and maintain an air of professionalism.
Look the part
First impressions count, so you won’t do yourself justice if you look like you have just fallen out of bed when you turn up for a meeting or greet your customers. Whether you opt for an embroidered company uniform or a smart suit when you conduct your business, ensure you look the part in all your face to face interactions.
Have a voice
Finally, no matter what business you are in, you are sure to have something to say, so make sure your voice is heard. Sell yourself as a guest speaker at industry events and conferences, and contribute to industry publications with written articles. When other people recognise you as an expert in your chosen field, you are going to get the professional recognition you need.