Look professional – how to be a small fish in a big pond
Starting your business from scratch is no easy task. From the very start, you’ll have to sacrifice sleep, miss out on social events, and constantly deal with a flurry of new ideas that pop into your head. Even with all the determination and strong coffee in the world, you’ll still have to juggle priorities every day to make progress, working as your own IT manager one minute, and then learning to be an accountant the next. Of course, the hectic schedule doesn’t stop once your business is up and running. No matter what size your business is, you need to make sure you do everything you can to stand out in an increasingly big (and very competitive) pond.
By making your business look, feel and sound more professional, you’re more likely to boost sales and develop a positive reputation to be proud of. While there is no overnight fix, here are some quick and effective things you can do to make your business as professional as it should be.
Get yourself a business phone number
Having a business phone number instantly boosts your company’s image because it shows you’re running a professional operation. It also means not getting calls on your private number; therefore separating your personal and professional life. If your business operates locally, you might prefer to have a geographical number, letting your customers know you are based nearby, whilst companies operating nationally might prefer to have a non-geographical number (eg. 0330, 0800) to give their business a national feel. With Nimvelo Phone you don’t even need a landline to achieve this and once you’ve chosen your new number, you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes.
Sort out your domain name
Having a domain name that matches your company trading name is really important because it gives your business legitimacy. If available, you’ll want to secure a .co.uk or .com domain as this looks most professional and customers will take you seriously. To search for available domains visit 123 Reg and you’ll be given a list of available options and associated costs. You might find that your preferred domain has been taken – don’t panic, just find the most suitable replacement or see if you can add a precursor to your URL (e.g. thisisyourbusinessname). Another option is to use a new domain like .jobs and .london, which can add a level of specificity to your domain, and help to showcase your industry or location.
Set up a business email account
‘Stevethepirate@bt.com’, ‘email@example.com’, ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ – do any of these email addresses sound similar to yours?
The last thing you want is customers or potential investors contacting you on the Yahoo email address you created when you were a hilarious fifteen year old. Create an email address using your domain name, as this helps to add credibility – for example, ‘email@example.com’. Make sure to add your own branding to your email address, for example to contact our friendly team at Nimvelo you would have to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grow and protect your social media presence
Social media is a great way to promote your business, but that’s not all it is. It allows you to engage and converse with customers and future customers to show them how your business can add value to their lives. Once you’ve set your social media pages up make sure you don’t neglect them. By posting consistent content and replying to all mentions you’re more likely to build a positive reputation for your brand and gain more attention.
Create an amazing website
This is the first thing a customer will see, therefore you need to make it stand out and represent what makes you better than your competitors. Your website is your shop front and a window into your world. It may be worth investing some money into getting your website designed professionally, as when done wrong it can hinder your business before you’ve even started. The most important considerations are to make sure your website is easy to navigate, attractive and mobile-friendly.
Think of any more tips?
Can you think of any other useful tips that are worth mentioning to new start-up businesses in the Nimvelo community? Pop them into the discussion box below and help future business owners to hit the ground running. If you’re a business owner yourself, or a future entrepreneur, join our community to get all the latest news from the start-up world.