While we all try to be as professional as possible when making a living, it’s not always that easy to portray the kind of professionalism we’re looking for. Sure, you need to look the part and act as if you know what you’re doing; but when you’re starting your own business, you’re suddenly facing a variety of other issues as well.
When your first couple of clients come for a meeting at the office, for example, you’d want them to be dazzled with how well it looks. It just gives an impression of being successful, even if you’re not yet, and they’ll be much more willing to work with you.
Here is a handful of ways to achieve exactly this so that you don’t have to struggle with making those first important deals.
Keep it neat
One of the biggest problems with offices is that they tend to look quite messy. Luckily, this is such an easy fix and definitely one of the first things you should attend to if you want your business to look as good as possible.
Get all of those wires out of the way, stack away all the papers, and make sure that your space is both open and airy. It won’t take you long at all and, best of all, it’s not even going to cost you any money.
Just make sure that you have a lot of storage to work with, though, and you’ll be good to go.
Make it comfortable
A successful business isn’t afraid to put some money into its furniture. This is certainly not easy if you don’t really have that much money, though, and many businesses before you have struggled with the same kind of issues; you want to look professional but don’t necessarily have the funds to do so.
Just try to find a supplier of furniture that won’t cost too much, that all, and keep it simple. You don’t have to go all out, at least not to begin with, and should treat yourself to just a few pieces in the beginning. Have a look at Civic Australia, for example, and browse through it to see if you find something suitable.
Bring in some greenery
Finally, you can start to attend to the finishing touches of your new office. Another great and cost-effective way of looking professional is to invite a few plants in. They will make the space look much more inviting, and you’ll be able to improve the inside air as well without much effort.
You’ll need to make sure your online presence appears proper and legitimate. Some small efforts here can go a long way to make you stand out from the crowd and show that you are a genuine business.
For starters, get a proper email address at your own business domain. You do have a domain, right? Make sure you do and that you aren’t using a gmail or hotmail address. That just screams amateur hour. You might need a few email addresses, too, even if you are just a staff of one. Having a separate mailbox for info, requests, or complaints can help make your administration life easier.
Get a website up and running. A real website at your own real domain name, not a free Wix or WordPress.com site, of course! Invest a bit in some decent web design and web development, to make your site stand out. Get some logos done, in a variety of formats and resolutions. You can get this done very cheap at places like Fiverr or Upwork.
Don’t skimp on these things. An attractive and intuitive user interface and user experience will go a long way towards attracting people to your site and keeping them there once they land. Make sure to use things like Google Analytics, to understand user’s behavior on your website.
And make sure your website doesn’t have any pages that say “under construction” or “coming soon”. This is a terrible pattern that should have died in the 1990s and will harm your image.
Make sure to make an actual business listing. The first step is to create a Google Business page, with all your relevant details. You can get business citations done at places like SEObutler. Or even better, see if you can get some press releases put out to local or online media. Contact your local chamber of commerce and see if there are business directories or listings that you can get placed in.
This might seem unnecessary for an online business, but Google likes to think you have a real business with a real physical presence. So the more of these things you can do, the better.
And while you’re at it, get a business phone number, even if you are still running everything off your personal cell phone. There are services that can redirect a business number to your existing phone.
Get started on your social media footprint – it’s an investment you won’t regret. Which platform or platforms you focus on will depend a lot on your business and niche. Instagram and Pinterest might be great for a food business, while LinkedIn will serve an IT consultancy better.
But wherever you choose to be, start building and growing a network and regularly posting great content to drive engagement. The traffic from these channels will be small at first but will definitely build up over time.