(This is a contributed post)
As much as you might like it to be otherwise, sometimes we need to accept that our skills are only going to get us so far. There’s a reason why the world’s smartest person never becomes President – or anywhere close to it! It’s because there are many other skills that are needed to become the leader of the free world, including projecting a professional, “world leader” image. The same applies to your best. If people don’t see you as a professional, then you won’t be able to get very far! Whether you have an IT company or anything else, professionalism will be the foundation of your success. If you’ve spent the majority of your company development working on your skills, now’s the time to work on your professional image. Below, we take a look at some useful tips for adding that element to your company.
Believe In Your Skills
You’d be amazed at how far you can get just by having a confident attitude. Really, whether you’re the walking embodiment of confidence or not shouldn’t have a major impact on whether you can do the job or not, but that’s how people perceive it. If you stand tall, answer all questions confidently, then you’ll be telling the world that you’re in control and can handle anything. Fortunately for some, this is one aspect of professionalism that you can bluff. Act like you’re confident even when you’re not, and people will see you that way. Simple!
Take Yourself Seriously
They say that if you don’t believe in yourself, then no one else will. The same goes for seriousness too. There are many talented people out there who would be running successful businesses if only they took their skill and what they do a little more seriously. It all begins with your attitude to your company. Is it something that you want to succeed, or is just a part-time thing, something to bring in small amounts of extra income? You can’t force yourself to take what you do seriously (it should come from within), but if you don’t, then you can’t have too many complaints if your potential customers decide to work someone else instead.
If you’re a small business, then you’re not likely to have too many employees. Indeed, in all likelihood, you’re the only one there. Still, when you sign up to start a company, there are certain expectations that you need to reach. For example, people need to be able to get in contact with you. But of course, you can’t be reachable all the time – you have work to do, after all. As such, it’s a good idea to look at working with a virtual receptionist. They’ll be able to field your calls, so you don’t have to. This is probably a good idea even if you could answer your phone all day; it looks more impressive when there’s not obviously just one person at the company playing the role of receptionist, main technician, CEO, and so on.
Work On Your Branding
When you have a company, branding is everything. You can normally tell within three seconds of landing on a company’s website whether they’ve spent any time whatsoever on their branding. A company that has solid branding will be taken more seriously than one without, and that’s just how it goes. It acts as a smokescreen of professionalism for those who, behind the scenes, are still trying to get to grips with all that being a company entails. Your branding doesn’t have to be anything fancy, either; it can simply be the matter of having a logo and a tone of voice, as a starting point, anyway.
Look the Part
Your customers only have a few things with which to make a judgment about your professionalism. Your appearance is one of them, so it’s important that you look the part when you’re working. This means being well-groomed, dressing smartly, and having magnetic name badges for you and anyone who works for you. It’s much easier to see a company as professional if they’ve taken the time to work on how they present themselves to the world.
Check Who You’re Working With
Everyone who represents your company, be it employees or outsourced workers, needs to present a professional image for your business. So make sure that everyone knows the standard of professionalism and quality you expect from them, and take any complaints from your customers seriously. You’ll always have poor workers to deal with, but you can salvage your reputation by treating the issues with the utmost importance.
Watch Your Email Etiquette
One area where many people fall short on professionalism is their email etiquette. Suddenly, they go into “two friends emailing each other mode,” and play things way too casual. This might be OK once you’ve developed a relationship with your customer, and you know each other somewhat personally, but in the early days, it’s a big no-no. Leave the typos, shorthands, smiley faces, and casual sign-offs for your emails to your friends and family!
Do What You Say You’ll Do
Finally, remember that there’s nothing more simple than simply doing what you say you’ll do. Don’t overdeliver, or big yourself up, or anything like that – just perform the job to the best of your ability. Nobody is ever impressed by what a person says they can do; they’re impressed with what they do. So don’t go overboard in your quest to get new clients – just say plainly how you can help them, and do it. Easy!
It’s not easy being a small company. You’re trying to claw any business away from the big guys, and you have less resources with which to reach this goal. As such, your professionalism will be everything. Even when you think it’s not getting you anywhere, remember that it is: it’s one of those things that people subconsciously pick up on. In any case, you won’t get very far without it, so you don’t have much choice!