If you must make it as an entrepreneur in this clime, you must look for ways to make your small business appear professional.
G O D I S N O W H E R E. There are two ways to read these letters. God Is Now Here or God Is No Where. Two people can look at the same thing and completely read different meanings and they would be both right and wrong at the same time. Perception is what shapes our reality. How people think you are is more real and powerful than who you really are.
Our culture, where we have some misplaced values and abundant poverty, tends to produce people who tend to overrate the inconsequential and disregard the essentials. Perception works at a business level the same way it works at an individual level. People judge your capacity in business based on subtle things and make big decisions on that. Isn’t it amazing how we meet people for a few minutes and form a lifetime impression about them?
How To Make Your Small Business Appear Professional
I will show you ten ways to subtly change the perception about your business especially when you are small and just starting out. By applying this hacks, you will make your small business appear professional.
Your Business Card
This is usually the first contact people have with your business. Make sure your card is of good quality and not overly colourful except you are in the fashion or creative business. AVOID putting a title on your business card and if you feel compelled to put one, don’t put CEO or Managing Director. At best, put business development manager or general manager. The former is more professional.
Address And Phone Numbers
There’s a concept called business address relevance. Most bank headquarters are located in a particular location in town and leading tech companies also cluster around certain parts of town.
Your business establishes more legitimacy if it has an address in a part of town appropriate to its industry. You may resort to using a virtual address service to increase legitimacy at the onset or your home address if you can’t afford a virtual address service.
But only use your home address if it is in a good location and not far out of town or in an obviously residential part of town. Also, have at least one landline number on your business card and website contact details.
An official office address give you a professional appeal and make your small business appear professional.
No one wants to do be the guinea pig or test customer. Don’t start your invoice numbering from 1 or 100 for that matter. Start from 251 or 501. Start from 1 and the client understands you are new in business and might opt to school you on how to do business.
Nothing makes you look smaller and more unserious than using a free email service such as Yahoomail or Gmail. Get a professional email that looks like email@example.com. You don’t even have to have a website to do this. Simply buy the domain name and hosting for your company and you can create unlimited emails. Having an official company email will make your small business appear professional.
Signature And Disclaimer
When sending out emails with your email address, always add your signature which should be a combination of your name, position in the organisation, contact details, and company name and logo. Also, include a disclaimer in the email. This conveys subtle professionalism.
Multiple Email Correspondences
You could be a one-man show and customers could have the impression they are dealing with a large company. This can be achieved through your email correspondence. You could have firstname.lastname@example.org respond to pricing issues, email@example.com respond to customer complaints and firstname.lastname@example.org could be the email sending newsletters to your customers.
As a small business owner, your personal vehicle usually doubles as your official vehicle. As much as you can, buy cars that are predominantly used as official cars by larger businesses. Your clients would perceive that your business bought the car for you and as such the business should be doing well.
Having your business cards in a card holder also conveys more professionalism compared to having it in your pockets, laptop bag, or handbag. Going the extra length of having your company name or logo inscribed on the card holder also further helps you look more professional.
Never show up for a meeting alone. Always go with at least one person. Showing up for a business meeting with a team rather than as an individual sends signals of a professionally run business. Dress appropriately and if you don’t have a car and can’t afford UBER, go early for your meetings so you can cool off and be calm before the meeting starts.
Never behave or show that you are the highest decision-maker in your business. Always give the impression of having to get back to a team or a board for final ratifications and approvals. The reason is, sometimes, you may be under pressure and negotiate bad deals or make decisions you want to rescind.
With the impression you have to get back to a team or your board, you can always call the supplier, vendor, or customer back and renegotiate terms without looking too bad as the issues are “out of your hands”. But once you show you are the highest decision-maker, any attempt to rescind on an agreement before its execution is taken in bad faith.
Our human mind is more biased than we would admit to and sometimes what influences our perception is sometimes so subtle we aren’t aware of them or we discount their influence but this doesn’t change the fact they affect our perception still. These hacks would in no small way make your business appear bigger and more professional.
Let’s create visibility for your brand and put your business on the world map. Contact us today to make your brand the preferred choice for our audience of entrepreneurs and business leaders.