Just because you’re running a small business doesn’t mean that you want to look small! In the competitive world of entrepreneurship, it can be difficult to project credibility and professionalism when you’re the only person your company employs. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for creative business owners who want to make a good first impression on new clients. Read on for three ideas to make your startup look established right away.
Invest in a Better Phone System
Your cell phone is convenient, but you’ll come to regret not keeping business and personal communications separate when client calls start to intrude on your time after work hours, or when you’re involved in a project that demands your full attention. You don’t need to commit to an enterprise-grade telephone system for your office, especially if you’re a solopreneur; instead, invest in a live phone answering service that can direct calls, take client information, and answer basic questions without your supervision.
Not only will your customers be delighted to hear a well-spoken human voice on the other end of the line, they’ll also see your company differently than they would if you picked up the phone for every customer. Even better, it’ll save you the hassle of managing incoming calls while you’re trying to get work done.
Design a Professional Website
In the always-online world of modern commerce, your website is your calling card. When prospective customers hear your business’s name, they’ll take a short trip to Google and start exploring your website to get an idea of what your business does—and whether they feel comfortable trusting your business to meet their needs. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure your website design is in step with current tastes in your industry and features clear, concise information that answers questions your clients may have and directs them to make a purchase or contact you for more information.
Should you hire a pro or do it yourself? The answer depends on the complexity of your website and your comfort level with web development. If all you need is a page that lists your services and offers a way for clients to contact you, a simple template is probably enough to get you online. However, keep in mind that if you don’t know how to code HTML or CSS and don’t think you’ll have time to learn, trying workarounds to implement modifications to drag-and-drop sites can cause technical problems with your website, in which case it’s better to have access to an expert developer who can make the professional-looking website of your dreams.
Become a Respected Expert
One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is promoting themselves without breaking the bank. Even if you limit yourself to online advertising, the cost of purchasing space on social media, banner ads, and search results adds up quickly. If you have a little more time than money to build your business, consider using your professional-looking new website as a blogging platform. Each day, your customers are using search engines to find content that answers their questions or addresses pain points, and your website should be among them. Content marketing is a great way to establish yourself as a reliable source and welcome voice with your customers; rather than intruding on their web browsing experience with ads, you’re helping them solve a problem they actually face. In the process, you’ll earn name recognition, top-of-mind status, and trust.
Start generating ideas for your blog by researching common search terms and topics in your niche, and identify content that performs well so you can use it as a guide for your own posts. Blogs are an excellent way for small businesses to get into content marketing, but depending on your market, you may want to expand to visual content, like photos, videos, and infographics. This is especially true if your business’s core audience is most active on image-first platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. Social media posts with images are shared and viewed more than those without, so use written and visual content together for the greatest impact.
Conveying a polished, professional image is key to your business’s success because it encourages clients to feel like they can trust you. Making a good first impression doesn’t have to wait until your business is bigger! With these steps, you can get off on the right foot with every potential customer from your first day in business.