By Mike Taylor
When you’re growing a small business, one of the most difficult things to do is earn the trust and respect of prospective clients who have likely never heard of you before. You know the value you can offer them, but you need to communicate that value to potential customers, and one way to do that is to make your small business look bigger.
Luckily, for businesses today, the Internet has made it easy and affordable to brand your small business in a professional way in order to build trust with customers from the first interaction they have with you.
Here are seven simple ways to do that:
Professional Phone System
For many small businesses, the first impression a customer has of your business is when they call you on the phone, and every detail of the interaction can positively or negatively affect that impression.
For example, if you’re a local company, your prospective customers probably know the difference between a cell phone number and a landline number. That means that using your personal cell phone to conduct business – and answering all calls to that number yourself the same way whether they’re business or personal – gives off a very unprofessional vibe.
The good news is, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems make having a professional phone system and phone number for your business affordable and simple.
Nothing screams unprofessional like a bad logo. And with today’s tools and technology, there really is no excuse for not having at least a decent logo.
You should be able to find very affordable logo designers on sites like Upwork and Fiverr. You can also attempt to do it yourself by looking at logo templates online or by using templates that come with tools like Canva.
Quality Website On Your Own Domain
Another big way that people experience first impressions and become acquainted with your business is on the web. More often than not, potential customers begin shopping by searching for a solution online (81% of people according to one source). That means your online presence can be critical to your business’s success.
One of the best ways to both impress potential customers and attract more of them is to invest in a quality, professional website.
Tools like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and more make creating a professional website easier and more affordable than ever before, so there’s no reason to settle for letting the YellowPages and Facebook be the extent of your online presence.
Professional Promo Video
Videos can have a lasting impact on the way people view your brand, and professional videos are easier to make today than they ever have been. Most mobile devices shoot high-quality video, and professional-grade cameras are reasonably priced as well.
Not only can you shoot quality video footage much easier with today’s technology, but you can also put together animated videos much easier thanks to software like PowToon.
Business Email Address
It may seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how many small businesses still use personal email addresses that end with @gmail.com or @yahoo.com instead of an email on their business’s website domain.
When potential customers or partners see that, it just tells them that your business is either very small or very new.
If you’re not tech-savvy, try Google’s G Suite. It makes having a professional email address on your own business domain very easy and affordable.
Multiple Physical Addresses
A lot of businesses start out using their home address as their business’s address. The only problem with that is we live in an age where anyone who types that address into Google will likely see a picture of your house. Needless to say, that’s slightly less than professional.
One way around that is to purchase space at a local co-working office. They’re typically inexpensive, they usually have a professional office look to them, and they’ll also give you a place to go when you need to concentrate.
Change Your Title
One simple way to change the view people have of your business is to change the title you go by both online and in public. Many small business owners sport the title of “Owner” or “President” when they’re the one with the boots on the ground doing most of the work. So they’re taking all the calls and servicing the customers, then they’re advertising that they’re the owner of the business. That just has a tendency to make potential customers think that the business is small or inexperienced.
There’s nothing wrong with doing the work as the owner of the company while you grow. It just might not be best to advertise that fact to everyone while you’re growing.
Mike Taylor is a content marketing specialist at Digium, a business communications company based in Huntsville, Ala., that delivers enterprise-class Unified Communications.