When you’re building a business, there’s so much for you to consider to make it more appealing not just to your target market but to other businesses as well. After factoring in everything that would allow you to create a successful business, there’s one characteristic that’s all the more important for your enterprise to have: professionalism.
You can’t say that your business is effective if it looks and feels unprofessional. Remember that the competition in today’s market is stiff, and buyers today are leaning more toward supporting businesses that are professional. In doing so, they know they’ll be getting their money’s worth with a company that delivers.
So if you’re looking for ideas on how to improve your business this year, you can’t go wrong with the decision to make it more professional. There are so many ways to achieve this, but this article lists some of the best ones below.
1. Have A Dedicated Phone Number
Even with the advancements in technology today, it’s still beneficial for entrepreneurs to have a business phone number. You can use that number for marketing efforts such as ringless voicemail offered by companies like Drop Cowboy. But the top advantage it provides is simple: you have a means of allowing customers to contact you without having to give them your personal number. Otherwise, you may mix important business calls with personal ones, especially if you’re running a small business or a startup.
For example, if your personal and business number were one and the same, you may accidentally answer the phone in an inappropriate tone, thinking that it’s your friend when in fact it’s a client. Or you might greet the caller with a casual ‘What’s up?’ when they’re a customer looking to talk to you about a serious concern. Those little mistakes, even if unintentional, can break your image and your business’ reputation.
The other benefits of having a business phone number include the following:
- You can limit yourself to answering calls to that number during business hours only. This way, your clients know when to best get in touch with you, and you don’t have to worry about having to attend to their concerns once you arrive home. This is especially ideal if you don’t have a customer service team yet.
- It allows your business to have a professional voicemail, so you won’t ever miss out on any important calls. Also, by using a well-written message for customers, you can leave a good impression on them.
- The phone number will help you build credibility for your business. Clients can have peace of mind knowing that when they call that number, they’re going to talk to someone who’s part of your company and can answer their inquiries well.
Once you have a business phone number, you can ensure customer satisfaction since clients will know where to reach you. If you’re looking for other ways to make phone calls work for you, consider boosting the reach of your sales team through services such as Autodialer.
2. Understand The Concepts That Will Enhance Your Professionalism
At its core, being a professional means having the ability to provide what your customers need. But given that you have a lot of competitors in your field, it’s not enough to play your part well—you also have to look the part. Image is everything in the world of business.
No matter the kind of business you have, there are three key concepts you have to focus on to increase your professionalism:
- Basics of customer experience: Customer experience refers to the way people feel when they’re interacting with your business in any way, be it on your website or in your physical store. Whether you’re a big or small business, you should know that customer experience is important, and it contributes to your company’s professionalism as well.
Customers will always perceive a business as professional when it’s able to ensure their happiness and satisfaction with its products or services. You have to think about the customer journey so you can determine how else you can serve them better.
- Basics of marketing: The way you market your products and services is also a high indication of professionalism. One of the goals of marketing is to attract new customers. If your marketing efforts and strategies are so mediocre that they don’t make your business look legitimate, then you’re only wasting your time.
- Basics of branding: When you ask people about what they think a professional business is, they’ll most likely say that branding has a lot to do with it. Branding refers to how you set your business and products or services apart from your competitors. You should be able to create a good brand image so you’ll become trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.
3. Rent A P.O. Box
Another tried-and-true means of increasing your professionalism is to rent a P.O. box. Like a phone number, this is still a relevant strategy despite the fact that many businesses today have taken the digital route.
The goal here is to separate your business mail from your personal mail. In doing so, business transactions, correspondence, and packages all go to your rented business P.O. box and not to your home’s doorstep.
First off, on the operations side of things, a P.O. box makes it easier to sort through mail and shipment that’s meant for your company. It minimizes delays simply because you’ll know for certain that everything in your rented P.O. box is for business purposes.
Second, it’s for your safety as a business owner. Surely you don’t want to give your personal address to suppliers or vendors.
Third, your overall professionalism increases when your business’ mailing address is secure given that it’s a P.O. box. Customers don’t have to worry about their correspondence with you being sent to a private address, which is usually part of how scammers operate.
4. Get Your Own Domain Name
Although you can create a website for free, having your own domain is deemed more professional by customers, and it gives you the same credibility that companies with domain names have. But it’s not enough to have a website with any name you want. It’s important that your domain name is appropriate for your enterprise.
Typically, your domain name would be the same as your brand or business name. This will help customers remember your website and company more easily. Follow these tips when creating a domain name:
- Keep it short, simple, and concise so it’s easier for your current and prospective customers to recall.
- Get your own secure sockets layer (SSL). This ensures the secure transmission of information during transactions, particularly when customers pay with credit cards.
- Always go for .com whenever possible, with other options including .org, .net, .co, and .edu.
- Use a thesaurus to help you in your search for brandable domain names that are also easy to spell and remember.
- Choose a domain name you can legally own as nothing destroys a professional image more than trademark infringement.
5. Set Up An Email Address Using Your Domain Name
Although known email providers like Google and Yahoo! are trustworthy, these should be mostly reserved for personal email accounts. If you’re running a business, the best way to create an email address is to use your domain name. This will make your business look professional as it shows that you put effort into paying for your own domain and using it for your email.
Here are other convincing reasons you should set up an email address using your domain name:
- You’ll know that everything that goes into your business email inbox isn’t for personal purposes.
- You can have multiple addresses for various purposes. For example, you might want to create email@example.com for clients and firstname.lastname@example.org for interested applicants.
- It lets you market your business every time you send emails to customers since they’ll associate the domain name in your email address with your company as well as your website.
6. Create A Website
Now that there are numerous customers looking for anything and everything online, it’s safe to say that having a website is another key metric of professionalism. If you don’t have one yet, then that should be your business priority after reading this, especially if you’ve already acquired a good domain name.
When you have a website, you’re making yourself look more legitimate in the sea of competition. This shows target customers that you truly exist because you’re not afraid to put yourself out there on the World Wide Web. Plus, it shows that you’re a serious business owner, you wish to be competitive, and you provide high-quality products and services.
With that in mind, here are some helpful tips on how you can build a professional website:
- Create your own website content, or have a dedicated team in your company with the responsibility of coming up with fresh, relevant content.
- Through different types of content such as blog posts and videos, show your customers what you can do for them and how your products or services can help address some of their common problems or concerns.
- Think of an appropriate website design for your business. Not every industry can benefit from having colorful web pages or an extensive photo gallery. Find out what works best for your company and what would benefit your customers most. It’s a good idea to pick a design that matches your branding in order to stay consistent.
- Remove unrelated stock images, complicated animations, and text-heavy content on your website. You don’t want to overwhelm or confuse your website visitors.
- Prioritize user experience, which means making sure that customers can navigate your website without a problem and easily find and access the information they’re after.
Once you do all those and end up with a well-designed website, you and your business can enjoy these benefits:
- Build credibility with your target customers
- Improve customer experience since you’re providing them with information and giving them another means of getting in touch with your business through your website
- Get the attention of prospective customers from all over the globe
- Strengthen your online presence, which is crucial if you want to stand out from the competition
- Have better interactions with your target audience and improve your relationship with them
7. Order Business Cards
It’s a common misconception among business owners that having a website and social media accounts is enough if they want people to reach out to their company. While that’s true on the World Wide Web, if you also have a brick-and-mortar location, remember that not all transactions are done online. There are still customers and partners you have to meet face-to-face, be it for meetings or in-store purchases. It would be inconvenient for you and the other party if you were to dictate your email address, P.O. box address, and phone number at their request, and they might make a mistake while taking note of those details.
This is where a business card comes in. It’s still one of the best and safest ways to provide all your contact details without the risk of errors. Plus, it makes your business seem a lot more professional; after all, designing and printing business cards require time, effort, and a bit of money. It’s relatively inexpensive to get business cards these days, so there’s no reason for you not to have them ready when needed.
These are a few of the advantages of having a business card:
- It’s a good way to promote your brand wherever you go. For instance, whenever you attend trade shows or seminars, you can immediately get the word out about your company by handing out business cards.
- It’s easy to distribute and carry around with you.
- It leaves a long-lasting impression, especially if the design is unique or eye-catching.
The goal of all the tips above is to improve your company’s image so customers will find it easier to trust you and choose you over your competitors. You have to make a lasting positive impression on clients if you want them to take you seriously and recognize your credibility. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to create a good impression. Just take it one step at a time, and you’ll eventually reap the benefits of your efforts.