How serious are you about your business?
Or does it look like just a hobby?
Promoting a new business is exciting, nerve wracking but positive and enlivening especially if the launch has taken extensive planning. However, is it just the newest shiny toy in your cupboard or is it a life long dream to become self employed and a millionaire?
How much staying power do you have?
Can you convince your customers that you have the right experience and that they can trust you?
How do you go about generating that trust as a new and serious business?
Image is everything!
Not that you are out to deceive but a professional ‘appearance’ is essential. Putting on that business suit or wearing a shirt and tie instead of your normal polo shirt not only creates a ‘business like’ impression but will make you feel the part! Ok this may not be the case for everyone and every business but how you feel affects you on the inside and what you look like affects you and others on the outside!
The initial impression you make as you walk in a room will either encourage people to avoid you or welcome you and although sometimes unfair many people will take you on face value, just as you do when in the same position.
However investing in a good suit is only the beginning!
Dress to impress, smile and being confident but not arrogant will help to initiate conversations and discussion.
A good business card – this is your calling card, your opportunity to introduce your business and yourself – a reference detailing your contact details.
Handing over a well designed business card on good quality card may not make the biggest impression but dishing out a torn/scruffy/cheap/freebie will do you no favours. A business card with hand written and crossed out details or uttering apologies for the wrong name or incorrect contact details will really only end up in the bin, pretty much worthless!
You need to show that you believe in your business, if you don’t, why should your prospective client invest in you?
Why should people pay good money and trust you to deliver if you can’t demonstrate that you have enough confidence to back it yourself. This is a serious business!
Investing in the basics, a business card, a website of some description, marketing or sales information or literature, if relevant, creates the impression of confidence, organisation and professionalism. Wearing running shoes and owning a PO box conjures a very flaky impression against a pair of Barker shoes and an office address.
Appearances can be deceptive but if you are trying to attract clients you have to start somewhere!
If your email address ends in hotmail, yahoo or gmail, (etc) and I hesitate here for fear of the backlash, you appear to be a hobbyist! On a recent discussion, I started on Linkedin, I was slatted for being judgemental and snobby because I believe a professional business should have a professional email address. Over half the comments on this discussion (well over 100 at the last count) agreed that they would not engage a business that had such an email as above. It costs a very small amount to own your email address and should be associated with your website. That could be half your prospective clients – gone before you even start!!
Most SME’s want to work with large companies and strive to appear larger than they are, a hotmail/gmail email address will not cut it.
Start up businesses have a limited budget and can’t afford the marketing budgets that larger companies can command but a small investment can go a long way with the right ‘accessories’ and as you evolve you add and increase your ‘wardrobe’.
Your business will change and evolve, starting slowly but getting things produced properly first time round will save you money in the future.
A good logo will stand you in good stead and is the initial, pivotal foundation in building your brand.
- It should represent your business and you and be attractive to your target market.
- It should be designed so that it will look good large or small, in black and white and in colour.
- It should be as effective on the internet on your webpage as it is in print.
- It should be produced in a format that can be printed commercially and used in a variety of sizes and in a variety of places.
Versatility and consistency is the key to a good branding.
A good designer with experience in branding will create a logo and branding that can be used for as long as it is needed, you may need to tweak it and update it or adapt it but a good logo will be the most prominent part of your business’s identity and therefore it’s foremost function is to differentiate you from your competitors.
A website is usually essential for all business, with a few exceptions. A web presence of some kind is preferable to none. Websites can be expensive but knowing what you get for the money is the first step in allocating a budget. To save on initial outlay you could opt for a simple site that can be set up on a template or you can have a go at a ‘Do-it-yourself’ option. Keep it simple, get advice and opinions but work out what you want it to do first. At a later date you can upgrade or rebuild it but save all the information and back it up so you can supply the content when needed which will save time and money!
If you need an e-commerce site with shopping trolley and payment facilities to run your business get a few quotes ‘like for like’ and talk to several people before making a final decision.
Again, a good web designer/developer will maintain your site for you – this can be well worth the extra cost for housekeeping and getting you out of technical difficulties that can easily occur.
With a good logo and a good business card, a bespoke email address and a few well spent hours creating some good profiles on social media, Linkedin, Facebook and Google+ will set you up and start you off.
Essentially when you meet people you will leave them with a professional impression, when they check you out on social media – and they will – have a great profile waiting. Follow up when you say you will and never promise what you can’t deliver.
Demonstrating that you are confident and serious about your business means other people will treat you in the same way. They will be interested to find out more and so, do business with you.