Perception is Everything: Make Your Business Look Professional
There are many different things that contribute towards ensuring a business is successful. The strength of the idea, the ability to put it into practice, and the demand for the products or service are all key. Another important aspect is professionalism. This is something that many people overlook, but it can be highly important — without it, you’ll have to work additionally hard to win the trust of the public. The good news is that giving your professionalism a nudge in the right direction isn’t all that difficult. It’s just a matter of tightening the screws of your business. In this blog, we’re going to look at a few of the best ways to make your business look as professional as possible.
Create Your Branding
If you take a look at the biggest — and most professional — companies, you’ll see that they all have a cohesive look. Indeed, it’s often so cohesive that you don’t even notice it. You just take for granted that the colors, fonts, and all-around styling of the company will be consistent. This is their branding. The good news is that you don’t need to have a big budget to have watertight branding — it’s just a matter of creating a look that’s in-line with your business, and then ensuring that you’re always using it for your correspondence/promotional materials/website/and so on.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a digital or real world business: you need to have a website. We’re not quite at the stage where you can say ‘if you’re online, you don’t exist’ but that’s not a million miles away either. However, it’s not just about having a website. You need to have a good online presence, one that promotes the right level of professionalism and trust. The first step for doing this is to hire a website designer to design and build the website for you — unless you have experience in this area, you will be unable to do it yourself. Beyond that, it’s all about keeping an eye out for common mistakes (such as spelling mistakes and low-quality photographs), and ensuring that it’s continually updated.
People are naturally a little skeptical of giving websites their sensitive data. If they have any doubts, then they’ll be unlikely to proceed with payment. As such, it’s important that you’re removing any doubts that they may have. One of the best ways to do this is to offer as many contact details as possible. Do you provide a phone number, email address, and your social media accounts on your website? A physical address is also recommended. If you’re currently working from home, then get a prestige virtual office address — it’ll look much more professional than your home address, which you may not want to give out in the first place. Of course, as well as providing all your contact info, you’ll need to ensure that you’re responding in a timely manner. It doesn’t look good if a company takes many days to respond to a communication request.
You might just be a one-person business, but the public doesn’t need to know that. While there is nothing wrong with being a small, one-person venture, it’s true that the size of the operation can put some doubts in the minds of the public. There are two smart ways to get around this. One is to outsource tasks (more on that below); the other is to hire a virtual assistant. They’ll be in charge of answering your phone calls, your emails, organizing your day, things like that. They’ll provide a professional first point of contact for your company, and also free up your time so you can ensure that other areas of your business are of as high a standard as possible.
There are many advantages to outsourcing tasks to other companies. For one, it can free up a lot of your time — indeed, many business owners don’t fully realize how much time they can free up until they do it. Second, it can make your business seem a lot bigger. And third, it can give you access to a level of skill that you would otherwise not have. The higher that the standards of your business are, the more professional your business will be. If you’re a relatively small business, then it’s unlikely that you’ll have the budget or need to hire a full-time employee for every task. Outsourcing can help to fill the gaps in a cost-effective way.
Professional Dress Code
One of the joys of starting your own business is that you don’t need to follow the expectations of superiors. It’s all on you. However, just because you can do what you want, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. You’re free to wear a t-shirt and shorts every day if you like, but it’s important to think about how that’ll influence the perception of your business. If you were running a surf company, then it’d be fine. If you’re an office-based business, then it wouldn’t be appropriate. So make sure that you think about the overall branding of your business and what uniform would be most appropriate. It won’t necessarily mean a shirt and tie (or typical corporate wear), but it will most likely be in that ballpark.
Where You Work
There’s nothing wrong with working out of your home, especially now, when virtually everyone is working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, on a long-term basis, it’s worthwhile thinking about what your workspace says about you. You might not like the idea of paying for office space, but the truth is that it can have a positive impact on the perception of your business. Another option is to work from a coworking space. These are much more affordable than having your own office, and they also bring another benefit, too — they can make you feel more professional, since you’ll be continually surrounded by other workers who are taking care of business, whereas if you were working from home you’ll be blurring the lines between your professional and personal worlds.