Launching your business can be a complicated process, and there’s no shortage of questions to consider. Many small business owners lose sleep wondering how to project a professional image. Without the history of an established company, how can you convince new customers that your business can be trusted to solve their problems? Fortunately, with so many people venturing into the world of entrepreneurship, there are more ways than ever to give your new business a professional look—even if you don’t have a Fortune 500 budget. Read on for five ideas that will help your business make the great first impression it deserves.
Give Your Business Its Own Phone Number
If you’re working on launching an eCommerce business, you might think that you won’t need to do much business by phone, but even if you plan to provide customer support exclusively online, you’ll find that many vendors and retail clients will want a phone number they can use to contact you. A virtual phone app is the most cost-effective solution for most startup ventures, especially because they offer plenty of business-friendly features that your cell phone doesn’t.
Make Your Website Fast and Modern
A slow, dated-looking website can turn hot prospects cold. When you deliver a subpar browsing experience, it tells potential customers that you haven’t thought about what they’re looking for when they visit your site, and you’re not caught up on design trends—not exactly the image you want to convey. Worse yet, Google search results will penalize your website’s search rankings if pages load too slowly. How slow is too slow? Anything that takes more than three seconds to load will cause you to lose customers, especially on mobile devices.
Drag-and-drop website builders like Squarespace and Shopify can help you optimize your load times, but if you’re struggling to reduce load times after implementing best practices like asynchronous loading and lightweight images, you may want to consult a professional developer for extra help.
Invest in a Business Mailing Address
Whether you’re shipping products to customers or providing professional services, it can detract from your business’s credibility when your return address is your house. Using your home address as your business address also raises privacy concerns, since the address associated with your business appears in publicly available tax documents. Still, especially with the recent shifts, most companies have made to work from home, you may be loath to add a coworking space or dedicated office to your operations budget. A post office box or UPS address is an easy and inexpensive way to give your business another location.
Leave Your Title off Your Business Cards
With a great website, official address, and a business phone number from a provider like Ninja Number, you’re ready to print up business cards to share your contact information with all the prospective clients you can find! Creatively made physical business cards are a great way to express your brand and make an impression on new customers, especially if you’re working in a design-centric industry. However, especially when your client base is small, you’ll need to wear a lot of hats as a business owner, and broad titles like “president” or “founder” can appear ironic when you’re performing smaller, simpler tasks to keep your company running. Many larger businesses have dispensed with printing official titles on business cards as work roles have grown more flexible; you should feel free to do the same.
Use Customer Relationship Management Tools
Usually shortened as CRM, customer relationship management lets you keep track of important information about your customers, from purchasing habits to contact information. Whether your business has to keep track of thousands of brief interactions or just a few dozen valuable clients, understanding customers is key to ensuring that your business makes them feel appreciated. In the early days of your startup, it’s tempting to think that you’ll be able to manage everything with a simple spreadsheet or pencil and paper, but as your business grows, you may not be prepared for the increasing complexity that success brings, so consider a CRM tool like Salesforce or Hubspot before business heats up so much that you have to catch up to current demands.
When you’re just launching your company, it’s natural to want to make sure you project a professional appearance that puts prospective clients at ease. Making a few smart investments before a startup can give your business the credibility it deserves.