30 Smart Ways To Make Your Small Business Look More Professional
Having a small business doesn’t have to mean having an unprofessional-looking business. There are numerous things you can do that can help you to look more professional, and even look like you’re bigger than you really are.
This doesn’t mean lying and being inauthentic, of course. It’s just about being smart.
It is without a doubt that small businesses need to cover more ground to keep up and get ahead in the industry. Doing these can make your small business look like a medium-scale business until you eventually become big.
So, you need to stand out if you are going to make it. These “big” businesses also started small.
However, irrespective of the size, whether small, medium, or big, you need to be proficient in whatever you do.
Hence, to present your small business in a professional way, I will show you a few ways to make that happen.
1. Work on your brand
The first step to making your business look professional is by creating a reputable brand for it. A brand creates a lasting impression on your product. For instance, whenever you hear “Coca-Cola”, the soft drink comes to your mind.
The name of your business makes the first impression. It speaks a lot about how professional you are and what type of people or other organizations interact with you.
ABC & Associates, ABC Group, or ABC Ltd sounds cool and better than “ABC shop”. So, it is not too late to review and change to a better business name with a nice logo that depicts what you’re into. A subset of your brand is your logo. It is the emblem to identify your business.
Most small businesses fail in this aspect.
Do you have a business name, yes! Do you have a befitting logo, No!
All big businesses have logos, even if it is just a name design. Whenever you see a car, the first means of identification is usually the logo.
It might seem a small thing but whenever you see that logo on anything, you know it’s related to the company.
2. Invest In Your Web Design
You’re not a web designer, so don’t attempt to be one. Invest in your web design to create a fully responsive, attractive website that will get people coming back.
It needs to be ready for the search engines too, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do everything that a business website needs – even if you manage to put a basic one together.
To make your business look professional than it already is, having its presence online matters. Take good pictures and publish relevant things online.
You can also you targeted adverts to create awareness in a specific location and this increases your customer base.
Don’t forget to maintain & renew your website regularly
I was talking to someone last week about a popular flight booking site. She thought that organization was a big one but that isn’t the case. The agency just has a great and fully functioning website. So get one too.
Have an ‘About Us‘ page that explains what you do. I know you have a detailed business profile and putting a summary on this page will enhance your business image. This page will feature what your business does and what you have to offer to the person reading it.
Your ‘Contact Us‘ page is another important page on your website which contains all your contact information from your physical address to your phone number. This page may collect information and questions that people may want to ask through contact forms. People will also receive support, comment and enquire about your business through this page.
3. Hire A Virtual Office
If you want to go one step further, a virtual office can also be a great idea. You can get different packages depending on what’s right for you.
A virtual office can be somewhere you can have meetings if you need a meeting room, as well as a business telephone and someone always there to answer your calls. It all depends on the package you want and how professional you want to appear.
4. Get A Virtual Assistant
If you’re a one-man band or you don’t have much money to free up to hire somebody, a virtual assistant can be a great way to make your business look more professional. This could mean hiring content writers to manage your website, churning out graphic designs or anything else your business requires.
They can work remotely, answering calls and messages for you and forwarding any important messages that need to be dealt with ASAP. This can be great for businesses that are still in the at-home stages.
Not only can they make your business look professional, but they are also able to help it scale quickly in a very efficient way.
5. Formalize your email address
Your email address would look professional when you use firstname.lastname@domainname, instead of a simple info@domainname. However, if you think people might have difficulties with spelling your last name, it’s advisable to just do firstname@domainname. I am sure this prudence will reduce the occurrence of bounced emails due to misspellings.
Having an official contact is a no-brainer. You should get emails that depict your business name or website for your business, yourself and staff. If you cannot afford a website right away or set up one at the moment, Google offers business emails for a down-to-earth price.
This especially goes a long way to building up trust with clients. They know the chances of being scammed with official emails are low. You should also have a work or office line that people can reach, not your personal line. When you give people your office phone number, they know they can communicate directly with your office.
This also helps your staff to give a consistent number to clients. You can go an extra line of getting a special number from the telecommunication service providers. It might just be a number that is super easy or a toll-free number.
6. Use business cards
Get some business cards. If you don’t have an in-house graphic designer, hire a professional to design and print some for you.
The business cards should contain your office address, name, logo, official phone number, official email, and website which will save you a lot of hassles when someone needs your contact details. Your business card may even contain other details like your rank in your department.
7. Give Yourself A Different Title
When you email people or introduce yourself, experiment with giving yourself a different title. If you call yourself the CEO, people you email might think you can’t be a professional business, as the CEO rarely emails people.
If you give yourself a lesser title, it can look like you have a bigger team and a slightly bigger business. People may be more likely to work with you, too. Just in case you need a little more creative title, you could play around with Title Generator.
8. Use P.O.Box
Many business owners seem to have forgotten about the “old school” P.O. Box. Having a P.O. Box number added to your address will add age to your business, and people naturally trust older companies.
There is a lot of advantages to owning a P.O. Box. One of them is that you get mails internationally and locally. Some organizations offer more options than the traditional post office. You can engage the service of these organizations like UPS for 24hrs service, faster and insured mailing.
9. Invest In Your Contents
To save yourself some time, invest in an outside content service to create content for you. Regular content from professionals is a must, and providing helpful content is a great way to share your expertise and become known as one of the leaders in your industry.
Even your social media needs content. When you just start your business, you can manage this yourself but as you grow, you will need extra and professional hands to help you.
Hire a professional content writer, editor, and social media manager that will be in charge of managing what you post on your social media platforms.
Making yourself known (positively) on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media will not only enhance your scope and market but will also make you look professional.
10. Dress professionally
“You are addressed the way you are dressed”. Not all aspects of your business can be done online, you have to make physical contact with people at one point or the other. For face to face transactions, professionals have a uniform. Banks, service providers, insurance companies and other professional businesses have uniforms.
Though not completely, regular suits for everyday wear are phasing out. Since it’s all about making your business look professional, brand your wear.
There are cheap and easy ways to brand your wear, you can just add your logo or business name to suits, shirts or polos. Peculiar wears speak a lot about your professionalism. When you are all dressed uniformly, a client will immediate esteem your business high.
In addition, uniforms also help to create public awareness and people cooperate better with staff in uniform. People tend to regard people in uniform as working in a professional capacity so they treat them with reference. Your staff gets good self-esteem which equals looking more professional.
11. Your office space should be well arranged
The way you arrange your space matters a lot. Your table should not be cluttered and your office should not be rough. Things should be arranged tidily with everything in the right place.
The internal and external parts of the office should be fitted out aptly: paint where needed; furniture where needed. You may require the services of interior fit-out professionals to make your office space look warm and enticing.
When you need to have professional meetings, use the conference room. If you don’t have a conference room yet, book one. Hiring a space gives an impression of professionalism to your business in the heart of the clients.
12. Be a thought leader
For you to represent your business well in your industry, you need to become a thought leader by writing and publishing articles, speaking in forums and conventions.
This will put your business on the map of your industry and will make your business look more professional as you will be speaking from your experience as a business owner.
To make your business look more professional might seem insurmountable at first but as you take it step by step, you will surely attain that professional state.
13. Get A Business Address
Smart Ways To Make Your Small Business Look More Professional
Opening a new business location and address is a great way to look more professional, and in some cases, bigger. This can come with a mail forwarding service so that you never miss an important piece of mail.
It also implies that you can keep your home address safe and secure.
14. Take High-Quality Pictures And Videos
Your images should be of high quality too, whether you’re having pictures taken for your bio, photographing your premises, or taking pictures of your products. This will always make the difference between someone choosing to work with you and somebody who decides not to.
“A picture speaks a thousand words”. Without reservations, a picture will always depict more than the words can express. Taking photos of your business, product, and services (while rendering them) presents your business well. I need not emphasize that the better the quality of the picture, the better the representation.
So, employ a professional photographer to cover the inauguration of a new product, service or event. The photographic gadget may be too expensive, hard to operate or manage and that is why you should employ a photographer.
Take clear and representative photos. This is a good way to intimate a large number of people about what your business does. Get the photographer/graphics designer to work on the photo to attract people. While a simple picture may catch the attention of the eye, the work of a designer will captivate the mind.
A sweet video of 10 seconds at 25 frames per second (fps) will say can blow one’s mind away. Well, the math says 250,000 words! Big companies utilize this to pass a message across to the public. You will be surprised as to how T.V. commercials attract attention. To exemplify you as a professional, make viral videos.
15. Hire professionals
There is a common mistake most startups make. They want to do all the things by themselves. This wise saying always comes in handy in this situation: “jack of all trade, master of none”.
You can know how to do a dozen things but don’t try to do all if you want to look professional. Suppose you are considering expanding your business territory to Brazil. In that case, the International business transactions for contracts and legal principles need to be understood and accurate. Of course, you can use online tools for this purpose, but the language barrier may persist.
Therefore, for your Brazilian translation to English, you can hire professionals to do it for you or advise you on what to do. These professionals are well versed and they probably have more experience and tools in that field than you.
You could also hire an assistant. The assistant might be your secretary or someone to assist you with day to day tasks like managing the official mail, answering the office phone, etc. A business with a secretary will look more professional than one without.
16. Get a business phone number
Calling your business and answering the phone with a blunt ‘hello’ rather than a professional greeting takes your clients aback.
It does not present your business as one with confidence, whereas there are super ways to improve online shopping experience for customers that will keep them totally hooked on your services.
That is why it is important that you have a business phone number so that you can respond to customers appropriately. A welcoming response will make your client keep coming back.
Ensure the phone number is always reachable for calls at any time or during your working hours and it should also be written on your website and business cards.
17. Be conscious of where you make calls
As small as your business is, you must always consider the background before making any calls. Stay clear of noise such as the barking of dogs, cries of children, loud conversations in the background and many others.
This is because it gives the client a negative impression of your business. Also, all calls should be made where there is good call reception.
You can head to a trusted place to ensure smooth communication. Avoid children picking up the line for you. All calls should be answered professionally and with respect.
18. Be Confident
You can make your small business look professional by being confident but not arrogant. Confident people are more persuasive, thus more likely to succeed.
Take time to listen and learn even before speaking, this is a fantastic way to make customers feel special. Let your voice and your words be fearless. Let your clients know that they are with the best person for the job.
Give them room to trust you and what you offer. This might require you to take courses and training, but do not hesitate.
19. Get your clients’ attention with videos
Videos have been proven to be a great means of communication with people and a means of driving attention.
You can make your business look more professional by making short video clips of what you do, your vision, aims and objectives, previous tasks done for customers and reviews.
You can also create online ads to advertise your business.
20. Join an association
You can improve professionalism in your business by joining professional, certified bodies that would provide a seal of approval for your business.
A lot of people before reaching out to any business enterprise check to see if they are recognized under anybody as proof to gain trust and credibility.
Being affiliated or registered with a corporate body makes your business stand out.
21. Avoid spelling and grammatical errors
Your website or social media page is the first point of contact for your clients. It paints a picture of your business in their minds.
The presence of spelling or grammatical errors in any of your write-ups can ruin your chances of getting customers.
Ensure you edit and proofread them appropriately before uploading them for the public to see. Better still, employ the service of a professional editor who can check through for you.
22. Get feedback
Another way to make your small business very professional is to encourage feedback from your clients. You can create an online testimonial form, asking them to rate your services and deliveries.
They can state any problem encountered and suggest possible ways to solve such problems.
You can also record these testimonials or reviews and post them on your website via easily accessed customer service feedback software.
It tells intending clients a lot about you.
23. Maximise technology
Technology has made it easy for people across the world to telecommute and this has been accepted and well-utilised by consumers.
Maximise the service of skype for webchats or join.me to give presentations. This will give a touch of professionalism to your business.
24. Invest in networking
Build interaction with people in your line of business and you can achieve this by attending meetings of business owners, this is also a creative way to advertise job openings from your own business if you have any.
A cordial relationship with other business owners brings opportunities to your door because with your combined efforts, you can achieve a lot.
25. Show that you care
Oftentimes, people patronise a particular business enterprise because they feel loved.
When people see that you are concerned about them, they get stuck to you no matter what.
You can develop this feeling of care in your clients by checking up on them regularly, sending new month messages, season greetings, and many more.
This is easier with the emergence of the bulk messaging platform.
26. Do giveaways
Giveaways do not have to be material things. You can gift ebooks to your clients, lecture materials about growing a business and render free consultation services to aspiring entrepreneurs. You can also organise training for young chaps as a way of giving back to your society.
27. Utilize the social media
There are different social media platforms that you can leverage as a growing business to make your business look professional and welcoming.
Creating active and functional Linkedln, Twitter and Instagram accounts is a good way to start because there are profound benefits of social media for businesses. Post quality content and be available to reply to comments and questions from your viewers.
Also, ensure that the pieces of information on the pages are updated regularly. You can also include a customer care chat link on your social media pages so that clients can reach you directly.
28. Upgrade your payment platform
Technology has greatly improved and this has made payment quite easier. You should adopt the online mode of payment that would allow clients to pay using their credit cards.
This will give an impression of professionalism to your clients. Stop using cheques or cash payments. Upgrade yourself and flow with the trend.
29. Believe in yourself
To make your small business look professional, you have to believe in yourself before people can believe in you or your business. Pitch yourself high and place yourself in a ready position to access opportunities. When people see your skills and knowledge, they would believe in you.
30. Befriend your competitors
Society generally believes that competitors are enemies, but you can prove this notion wrong by using your competitors to your advantage and you can only achieve this when you make friends with them.
Engage in healthy competition with them rather than taunting or trying to pull them down. As a professional, do not give scornful remarks about your competitors. Connect with them and together, you can grow healthily.
You can outsource your marketing, hire a web developer and designer, graphic designer, manager, and other relevant professionals your business will need.
Apart from the fact that you will be more efficient at what you do, it will make your output professional.
I’ll suggest you use these tips without caution and begin to reap the benefits of looking professional in your business.