It’s relatively straightforward starting a small business. Indeed, many small enterprises require little effort and only a small initial investment to get off the ground. However, rush the preparation of any business start-up, and you could wind up with a brand that looks amateurish.
You might think the quality of your service or products is the most critical thing to get right. And that is, of course, one essential ingredient for a successful business. But having an excellent product won’t get you very far if people never get beyond taking a cursory glance at your company. People must get an excellent first impression of your business. That’s why no business can afford to appear to be unprofessional.
It’s not at all difficult to make a business look professional, and it needn’t cost a fortune to make a good impression. Here are 10 tips to ensure that your start-up looks like it means business.
1. Choose a Suitable Business Name
You could choose almost anything for a business name. However, that name will be associated with your business for a long time. People make assumptions about the business based on the name. It is best to choose a name that is easy to remember and infers quality and professionalism.
2. Have a Quality Logo
A business logo is an essential part of business branding. Designing or choosing a logo is another aspect of branding that is best not to rush. Try to choose a logo that says something about your business and is suitable for the niche in which you will operate. Select a logo that will look equally good on digital media and printed materials. If you are not a particularly creative person, you might want a professional designer to design your logo.
3. Make Branding Consistent
Try to ensure that your branding is consistent across all media and platforms. Use the same logo, typeface, and colors on printed stationery, your website, and your social media accounts. Consistent branding will make your business more recognizable, and it demonstrates professionalism and attention and to detail.
4. Register a Domain Name
You can create a business website without paying for a domain name. You could set up a free website site at wordpress.com, for example. However, if you do that, you tell customers that you have opted for the free option, implying a lack of commitment to the business. A custom domain is much better for branding, and the cost of registering a domain is minimal.
5. Use a Professional Email Address
If you opt for a custom domain name, you can set up a branded email address. A branded email address looks way more professional than an @gmail.com address. Like the domain name, a professional email address suggests that the business is here to stay.
6. Get a Dedicated Business Phone Number
If you use your home phone number for business, you won’t know when a phone call is business-related. So you might not answer the phone in a professional manner. Or one of your family might take the call, which can sound equally unprofessional. It would be better to have a dedicated business line installed at home. Or pay for a virtual office service to provide a business number and answer the phone during business hours.
7. Get a Business Mailing Address
You can further separate your business and personal life by having a separate business address. And a downtown or business area mailing address also looks far more professional. You could use a P.O. (post office) box. Or, a virtual office provider would also offer a virtual mailbox service. However, bear in mind that if your business provides a local service, a local address would be best.
8. Pay for Professionally Printed Business Cards and Stationery
We do live in a digital world. However, there will still be occasions when you need to hand out business cards or send hardcopy letters. And the quality of stationery will reflect on the professionalism of your company. It is worth investing in professionally printed materials.
9. Set Up a Professional Website
You will need a website for your new business. A website acts as your digital storefront. If your business site looks amateurish, visitors will assume that your business is run in the same way. If you have never designed a website before, it might be best to leave the web design to the professionals.
10. Set Up Social Media Accounts
Finally, people expect even small businesses to have a social media presence. Consider setting up branded business profiles on the major social media platforms your target audience is likely to use. Then post content regularly to attract visitors and subscribers. But remember that a business social media account is not the same as a personal account. You must keep your posts on-brand and professional.
The above points might seem a bit obvious. But many small business start-ups miss some of these straightforward ways to make a company look more professional. After all, you don’t get a second chance at making the best first impression. It’s is worth spending more time and money creating a professional brand.
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