Adding A Little More Professionalism To Your Startup
Would you say you’re a professional person?
Are you able to dress yourself up in a straight lace suit, with a smile on your face, and feel comfortable and confident in how you look?
Are you able to stand up in front of a crowd and not let any of your fears show through, because you’ve got a great professional mask?
It might take a little bit of practice to accomplish things like these, of course, but if you’re trying to run a business, it’s something you absolutely have to do.
Being professional at work is something we all can do, of course. But at the end of the day, when it comes to establishing yourself as a legitimate and trustworthy business, you’re going to have think professionally about everything you do. You’re a new startup, and you’re just getting off the ground; you’ve got to present yourself in a way the bigger companies do, to make sure you’re taken with the same grain of salt as them.
All in all, having an element of professionalism in what you do as an entrepreneur with a brand new business is the best way to take your company and career forward. But what does that mean exactly? What things can you do, and what can you change, to make sure you’re seen as a serious business that has a lot to offer?
Let’s think about it below, with just a few ideas for you to try out.
Focus on the Website
Your website is going to be the place the majority of your potential customers come across you, and that means it needs to be your main focus in the early days of your business. Of course, as you go on and on, and become a bigger and older company, website administration will become part of the normal process of running the business. But for now, it needs to be the top priority, as you’ve got a lot of work to do here.
First of all, your design and layout. It needs to be something clear and simple, and it needs to be a design that doesn’t detract from the information you’re providing to the masses. Your message needs to be the main focus someone can easily read through when they hit your homepage, and if you’ve got plenty of pastel colors no one can easily read compared to the white background, these same people are just going to click away!
You also need to have clear navigation options, and clear links that a person can simply click on to take them to another page. If you don’t provide an actual link, there’s a good chance at least half of your visitors won’t bother to check out the product you’re pushing that you’re incredibly proud of.
Being simple and convenient is a great way to come off as professional, and it makes the website design you have to come up with a lot easier to try and brainstorm. Don’t worry, you can be professional in the minimalist sense for now, and build up your brand colors and logos as you establish more and more what kind of a company you are.
Have a Phone Greeting
If you’re trying to be as professional as possible, you need to remember your shop floor manner in every thing you do. Of course, whilst you’re at home, you don’t need to always have a smile on your face and a helpfulness in your voice, but there are quite a few homely elements you need to think about in your effort to take your business higher.
For example, do you have a mobile phone? Of course you do, everyone does! But do you use it for personal use only, or does it double as your work phone as well?
Because if it does, now’s the time to change tack and get yourself a second phone – a more professional phone. After all, if you use your current mobile for both business and pleasure, then there’s a good chance you’ll lose a potential investor or customer with your opening line alone: a simple ‘hello’ doesn’t do much to sell your company or imply any kind of message behind it.
So make sure you have a business phone line, and you can even set up a VOIP channel to connect calls via the internet. After all, you probably do 90% of your business dealings via a wifi signal, so it only makes sense to optimize these matters. Once you’ve got your new phone line and number all set up, think about the greeting you need to use.
Take that hello you had before, and turn it into a ‘thank you for calling’, as a preface before you say your company name and who’s currently speaking. Then ask the other end of the line how you can help them. It’s a great way to tell a customer they’re in the right place, and is a lot more friendly than a confused or a curious hi as you wait for the other person to reach out to you!
Even if you’ve only just started out as an entrepreneurial business owner, you’re going to need to sound confident when the other person can’t hear you.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Image
Your image as a company is incredibly important, as not just any old photos or videos will do. You’ve got to have something of substance, something professional, and something that’s going to relay to all the potential customers and investors who come across you that you are worth the time and effort they want to put into getting to know you. And that means you need to discard the shaky phone selfies you’ve taken and think will do for now, and opt for images that you’d happily display on both a LinkedIn profile and a corporate web display.
Just because you’re a small business now doesn’t mean you can’t think bigger and better, and that means trying out for some whitewall images with suit and tie dress code and a smile that proves your friendliness and reliability. Why not take a second right now to look up some Corporate headshots near me, and get yourself a proper photo selection done? And whilst you’re there, you can take plenty of team photos as well, to make sure every single part of your business is freely represented to anyone who’s going to expand your profit margins.
Think About Your Address
Your business address is something you usually cannot help – you rented out the nearest office to your home, in the middle of your local commercial center, or you run your business out of your home, and have to use your current address as a port of call for everything. But if you fall into the latter camp of things, not only could this be a potential security issue, but it might not sound as professional as it should either.
And that’s where a virtual address, or even just a PO box, can come in to help you out. If you’ve got a secondary location for all your mail and packages to filter through before they get to you, you’ve got a much safer and much more professional line of contact to give to investors and customers and any other business contacts. As a small business owner, this might be an extra expense you’d rather not have to deal with, but when it has the potential to increase your output and customer relations tenfold, it’ll more than pay itself back.
Change Your Invoice Layout (and timing!)
Ah, the invoice. It’s the bane of a lot of freelancers and entrepreneurs worlds’, and it’s something you’re going to have to contend with as you aim to build up your business and make it much more professional. You need to have an invoice template on your side, to make sure everyone who uses your products or services are billed in the same way, and you’re going to need a set schedule to send them out by.
After all, you want to get paid, and you want to get paid promptly. Either you need the money upfront, or you need it paid within a set period of time after a job has been completed. Know when the money needs to be in by ahead of time, and make sure you send repeat invoices if this deadline is not met. Maybe you could also have the option for a customer to take out a payment plan: they pay half now and then half later, or they pay in weekly or monthly installments. Either way, take the time to decide right now what kind of invoice schedule would work for you.
So, your startup could do with a little more professionalism, but don’t let yourself feel bad about not having that straight away. As you learn, you become more and more professional, and you’re always going to have that business mindset on your shoulders. Make sure you use it!
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