There are few things more exciting than starting your own business, and few things that take more time and energy! However, small business owners often face the same problem: making their mini-venture look professional and a bit bigger than it is. Follow these four tips for truly putting your small biz on the same esthetic level as the big boys.
Create a Great Website
Sure, you can hire a web designer, who’ll cost you thousands of dollars, not to mention the expense to update your site whenever you have new information to offer. Or you can take matters into your own hands and design a website yourself – so long as you have a creative eye and are tech savvy, you can really make a fabulous website that looks exactly the way you want it to. If you don’t feel like you can do a good job, though, consider hiring a web designer to take the wheel.
Custom Paper Goods
Invest in custom letterheads, stationary and notepads, which can be pretty cost effective from a company like PaperStyle. These items don’t just make you look like a pro, but they also do double-duty as marketing. Give them out to friends, family members and area businesses – before you know it, everyone in your community will know your business name.
Communicate with clients the way a Fortune 500 company would, which means nixing text messages, emoticons and e-mail footers that say, “Sent from my Kindle.” These are dead giveaways that you’re a one man show. Make sure your e-mail communication is well written and error-free, with a signature that includes your contact details. Also, setup a professional e-mail address at your domain name.
Make the Most of Technology
When you start to look for them, you’ll be amazed at how many fabulous tech tools there are out there, many of them for free. Keep track of client relationships with a CRM program like Highrise or Capsule. When it comes to e-contracts, have them signed by your clients with RightSignature or Echo Sign.
The more you respect your business, the more others will respect it as well. There’s no rule that says a small business owner has to be informal and casual (unless that’s what you’re going for!). Even if want to be more on the relaxed side, you can still be on top of things, organized and professional. In the end, your reputation will do a good portion of your marketing for you.