Politics and Business
7 Simple Ways to Make Your Startup Seem More Professional
Starting a small business has never been simpler than it is now. Depending on what your idea for a new startup is, you may need nothing more than a computer and an internet connection to get things up and running.
Of course, anyone can set up a business, but not everyone can do it successfully, and most startups fail within a year of being founded. There are numerous reasons why this is the case, from a lack of vision to a lack of capital, but in this post, we’re going to focus on another biggie which can make or break a startup – first impressions.
Businesses only get one chance to make a positive first impression, and if they fail, chances are those potential customers who took the time to find them will go elsewhere instead.
When you’re a startup, the key to making a good first impression lies in making your business seem truly professional. Here are a few things that can help you to do just that:
Create a Professional Website
These days, most people search online for the products they want to buy and the services they wish to use, even if they plan to buy from a bricks and mortar company rather than an online one. That’s why it’s so important that every serious startup starts with a website.
If you want your website to appear professional, as a minimum, it should appear clean and simple, be mobile optimized and contain important information such as your business address, hours of operation, a menu of your services and a telephone number. You can use virtual services to get yourself a business phone number and address if you don’t want to use your personal details during the early stages, but you must have something up there to give the consumer confidence that you’re the real deal.
Use A Business Email Address
Another thing that you absolutely need if you want to appear professional is a business email address, rather than a personal one. Email addresses that end in dotgmail.com or similar are fine for the average professional, but not for the owner of a business. Customers are far more confident working with businesses that have their own domain name email addresses, and since most web hosting plans include at least one business email address into the package, it should be pretty easy to set this up along with your website.
Create Professional Invoices
Many customers will be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt to make an initial purchase with you, but if you fail to impress them, they probably won’t come back for more. One thing you can do to increase your chances of converting a one-time customer into a regular is to use software to create professional-looking invoices, which are easy to read and which show that you are serious. You should also ensure that you send any invoices in a timely manner because professional companies aren’t late.
Create a Buzz on Social Media
Rightly or wrongly, many people associate large follower numbers on social media with success. So one very effective way of making your business seem more professional, not to mention far more popular, is to build yourself a following on social media. The way you do this is by posting lots of solid information in as many forms of media as you can. Posts should be tailored to your target audience, and contain information or entertainment that is relevant. Interesting and exciting enough to be shared.
Build a Solid Network
Another way that businesses can create a solid first impression is by association. If you can be linked with other major players in yours or related fields, then customers are likely to put you into the same bracket and trust that you can deliver on whatever it is that you may be offering. I mean, if you develop software and you’re pictured talking to Bill Gates, then people are not going to dismiss you so easily, are they?
What you need to do, then, is to get out there and attend talks, conferences, trade events and conventions, where you can meet the right kinds of people and build the right kinds of links.
Get Yourself in the Media
In the same vein, if you can get yourself onto television or arrange to be interviewed by a popular podcast in your niche, for example, people will come to think of your business as being one of the major players in the field. Often, we trust that the people who are being interviewed in the popular media are there because they are a known quantity and they really know their stuff. This is not always the case, but it is what people think, so seek out any opportunity to get your name out there; just make sure that you have something intelligent to say when you do because appearances will only take you so far.
Hire a Receptionist
Having a receptionist is an easy way to group yourself in with more established companies. If you can’t afford to pay someone to answer the phones for you, check out virtual services companies, many of whom offer a virtual reception service for a fraction of the cost. These kinds of companies can also provide you with an important business address and telephone number, which will impress more than your home address.
There are many very simple ways to make your startup seem more professional, as you can see above. The key is to implement as many of them as you can in as little time as you can if you want to establish your reputation and convince more people to become your customers when there are so many established businesses already up and running for them to choose from. If you can implement all of the above strategies from day one, you will stand a much better chance of still being in business a year from now than many of your peers who may struggle more in those important early days.