Starting a small business? Congratulations! You’ve got the business plan, the license, you’re building a website and setting up your office (or a desk in the living room, maybe). And suddenly you’re a business owner!
Now, it’s time to start sounding—and acting-- like the boss. Here are 5 tips to cultivate a professional image for your new business:
- Skip the secretary. Phones ringing off the hook when you’re trying to get work done? Afraid to leave the office because you’re waiting for an important call? Consider a Virtual Receptionist. Check out the video below to see how Virtual Receptionists can help small businesses be more productive.
- Consider a toll-free number. It’s less expensive than you might think—this is one of the easiest ways to boost credibility and make a strong professional impression on potential clients. Toll-free numbers also allow you to track call volume for specific marketing campaigns, which could be a great way to measure what tactics work best to grow your business. Plus, toll-free numbers are portable: if you switch service providers, you can take your number with you.
- Be professional with your emails. Be sure to have consistent business email addresses for everyone in the company—do not use a personal email address (Sorry, LizzyUnicorn81@hotmail.com). All emails should include a footer with the business’ contact info – no “sent from my iPhone” allowed. And no comic sans font! Setting up your footer is a simple effort that only needs to be done once—but can make a big difference in your professional appearance.
- Pay attention to what’s going on online. Small, local business owners know that relationships are super important—but sometimes it’s at the expense of building their brand online. Spend the time to claim your business on Google®, create a corporate presence on social media, check out what people are saying about you on Yelp, and check in regularly. You don’t have to be a digital marketing guru to ensure your online reputation is solid.
- Hand out promotional products. Everyone likes a free pen, right? Consider adding your company logo (and its new 1-800 phone number) on coffee mugs or magnets. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to get your name out there and stay top-of-mind among your potential customers.