Running a business means that you are competing with a lot of people. Whatever you do, there will be people working to do the same thing, so what do you need to do to set yourself out from the competition? That’s not to say that competition is bad, just that you need to think of ways to get ahead, whatever goods of services you supply, so you can develop a sound customer base that will come back to you time and time again.
To get ahead you need to work on making your business project a professional image so people who check you out are impressed by what they see, especially online, and will at least investigate what you have to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to make a good professional impression.
Get your phone and Internet organized
Obvious as it seems, you need to be able to communicate with anyone as quickly as possible, so getting these essentials in place is key. Phones are still extremely useful means of communicating. People often like that person to person touch to talk through issues, and if you provide an interested and sympathetic ear, or one of your employees does, you can develop relationships that lead to new business.
Your Internet access is, arguably, more important. Without it you have no web presence and today you’re effectively dead in the water without it. It depends on where you are based but you should look to get the most affordable hi-speed broadband that is available to you. It means that you can quickly access the sites and information that you need, cutting down your research time, and enabling customers to have easy access to your site if you are selling online.
Make sure you get your own domain name
Nothing shouts “professional” more than having your own domain name. The trick is to keep it as simple as possible. You can get free domain names from a number of services but you might not get what you want in terms of simplicity. Go for a private domain name from the start. It’s not going to cost a fortune and when it’s registered you can get hosting services that also won’t cost a fortune. Your own domain name puts you out there as a player: think www.aceconstruction.co.uk, or www.kitchendesign.co.uk as examples. Simple domain names are memorable and help people to find you. Don’t try to be clever with edgy spellings – they may appear cool but most web searchers just want to find their information easily, so there’s little point in complicating matters.
If you understand web design and can do it then that’s great! For good measure, always get another professional to check things out. If you don’t, then get a pro designer in. It’s your online shop window so make it the best you can. You’ll need to spend some money on it but you could really reap major benefits if it looks good, is easy to access and works well.
If you’re selling online you need to work with your designer so people can easily find what they want through drop-down menus, accessing baskets of goods, adding to them, and then having a smooth checkout experience. Customers appreciate websites that deliver what they want and are much more likely to return and recommend it to others after a good experience.
When you bill customers you need to present a professional receipt whether it’s emailed or sent by post. You could spend time, or someone else’s time that you pay for, setting up a template for receipts, but you can access services that can then allow you to email professional bills. You should also develop your branding with quality headed paper, whether physical or electronic, to help cement the idea that your business is highly professional and knows exactly what it is doing.
Doing it yourself
There are many ways that you can do things yourself. Getting a domain name, for example, is easy, and deciding how you want your brand to look can also be done if you have the designer skills to do it. In the end you know what you are comfortable doing yourself and when you need to bring in specialists.
Growing your business
The more you can project how professional your business is the more likely you are to draw people in who appreciate the effort that has been made and convert initial interest into sales.