Appearance is everything in business. Technology available to us these days, makes it so much easier for your business to appear both professional and ‘big’ to potential clients. You can be working from your spare room, abroad, your car or office. All you need is a connection to Wifi or 4G. It’s not about making your business look like something it’s not, it’s about marketing your services to a larger audience and utilising the tools available to you.
Your business website
Search engines have long since replaced the yellow pages or ‘word of mouth’. Most businesses now have their own website or at least a presence online. It’s not as expensive as you may think to get there either. Most digital marketing companies have discounts for start-ups, and after the initial domain purchase, design and web build; running and maintenance costs can be low. When you are planning your design, you should take into consideration where you want to be; rather than where you are now. Create a customer facing image that presents an organised and professional business. As a small company, there are many opportunities to make a huge impact online.
Having a website is important, but equally having a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn is too. The best things about these social media platforms, are they are free and easy to use. You can engage with your audience through posting blogs/web content, and at the same time increase traffic to your company’s website. Social media also allows direct contact between the customer and the business through tweets, comments and instant messaging.
A survey carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau revealed that 80% of consumers would be more inclined to buy a product if the brand has a presence on social media. For contractors being active on LinkedIn, (a social media platform aimed at business professionals), could prove to be beneficial. An online profile with work history, recommendations and testimonials from past colleagues and employers can encourage clients to trust in your business.
Being both visible and accessible online is key, if you have your website and social media accounts running right then you will appear more competent to the consumer. Often when you employ a company/person to maintain your website, they can also help you with social media management too.
Be smartphone friendly
According to the Internet Advisory Bureau (2017), almost half (48%) of UK time is spent on a smart phone, therefore, you must ensure that your website is mobile friendly. This means it should be quick to load and easy to navigate. Most websites have the option for you to view the mobile version of your web pages when you are in edit mode. Just be mindful of graphics/videos and pop-ups that may slow down the loading process.
Match your email address with your domain name
Once you’ve purchased your domain name for your website you can also invest in a domain name for your business email addresses, for example firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. This looks more professional than a run-of-the-mill free email address.
A business landline number
Having a landline number on your website makes your business appear larger to the client. It gives the impression of more staff, and that you are situated in one place. There is also a solution for those who work on-the-go. For a small fee, you can purchase a number from Skype with a country and area code of your choice. You can then answer via Skype using your laptop, mobile or tablet.
A virtual office with receptionist
If you work from home and would rather not disclose your address, you can purchase a PO Box. This again, can make your company look bigger, as a google search will not give away the fact you work from home.
Another option to help with business enquiries and to create a ‘big’ business effect, is to outsource your customer service and reception duties. By paying a company to answer your calls and have all messages sent to you by email or text, you are both freeing up your time and creating a more professional first impression.