As more and more people are leaving the corporate world behind and seeking ways they can work for themselves, small and home-based businesses are growing. For some, this type of working environment allows seldom-found freedom and creativity.
However, as many of these entrepreneurs are realizing, a small business is not without its share of issues. Competition can be fierce and soliciting clients takes much more than a simple email or phone call.
One of the best ways to ensure the success of your business if to create a solid image. After all, clients form impressions based on the perceived professionalism of a company they’re considering, so it’s wise to be certain that your business projects the right image. We’ll take a look at some of the best ways to tweak the appearance of your small business, which can go a long way in securing clients and increasing revenues.
Your Website Says It All
More business is done online than ever before, and your potential customers are checking out your website before they even make a phone call. You owe it to yourself and your company to make sure that your website is professional and contains the right information.
Your website must have its own URL that matches your company name, and you should ideally be using an email address that corresponds to your website. Spend the extra money for some professional Web design service, and decide what kind of information you want presented on your site. You’ll need to make certain that potential customers can easily navigate through your site, and they’ll have the information that they need quickly.
Utilize Online Services
If you’re running your small business alone, you might be tempted to cut corners, but that’s a bad idea. There are several ways that you can obtain the items and services that you need to make your business a professional one, and many are just a mouse click away.
Most of the things that you need to run your business smoothly can be found online for a very reasonable cost. Business cards can be designed and ordered in just a few minutes on many websites. Online fax service eliminates the need to purchase a fax machine, and you can access your faxes anywhere via email.
Additionally, clients will appreciate professional invoices, which can be created using a company that offers free online invoicing for small business.
Have a Dedicated Phone Line
Whether it’s a mobile phone or a landline, have a dedicated phone and number specifically for your business, and always answer it in a professional manner. Potential customers may be put off when they receive something other than that.
If you’re working from home and receive a business call while your toddler is having a meltdown, let it go to voicemail. It’s much more appropriate to return a missed call than to have to shout and risk sounding unprofessional.
Use Social Media
Studies have shown that many people now use Facebook or Twitter as a search engine before they even go to Google or Bing, so your company or brand should have a presence on social media. It’s also a great way to keep your clients updated.
Instagram is another great social media tool for businesses. Simply post pictures of your projects or products, hashtag them creatively and effectively, and watch your following grow.
Consider Your Space
For many, working at home is a must when a business is getting off the ground. The rent on an office space can be out of the question early on.
However, it’s wise to reconsider the use of your home address for business purposes. Potential customers may search your address, find that it is a home, and feel that your service might not be up to par. While a post office box might also seem unprofessional, it’s better in the short term to use one.
Be Time Sensitive
While many people work from home so that they can set their own hours, if you’re providing a service to people who are in your local area, make sure that you’re available during business hours. If you’re not able to return emails or phone calls between 9am and 5pm, you may lose customers.
If you have children, hire a sitter for a few hours a day so you can tend to your business’ needs. Many people are able to work around their children’s schedule, but if you’re not one of them, get some help.
Starting a home business can be incredibly satisfying and very nerve wracking at the same time. Take some time to be sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and be certain that your image is as professional as it can possibly be.