Whatever space you operate in, any new business faces an uphill struggle to gain a reputation and carve out its own slice of the market. You can have all the skill, knowledge, dedication and people skills in the world, but the truth is that customers will still eye a new entrant with a certain degree of suspicion.
Convincing people that you are as good or better than established competitors and that you are not going to be here today and gone tomorrow is sometimes as much a case of psychology as business strategy. Even if yours is a small business that operates from home, projecting a professional image is absolutely vital for success.
Here are some pointers to think about that can make all the difference.
Have a separate business address
If your business address is clearly on a residential street or in an apartment block, you are immediately at a disadvantage. Companies like Regus offer virtual office space that you can use for meetings, and even better, will provide you with a mailing address that is typically in a prestigious part of the business district. You can then either collect mail or arrange for it to be forwarded.
Look the part
It might be unfair, but people judge on appearances. Working in jeans and a t-shirt is fine when nobody else is around, or if you are meeting someone you know well. But for new clients, a business suit is still the go-to attire. The only thing that people judge even more ruthlessly than what you wear is what you drive. You might not have the funds to spend on buying a brand new car right now, but Vantage Leasing offers highly competitive deals to put you behind the wheel of a brand new vehicle that will make you look the part the moment you pull into the client’s car park.
Don’t worry about the title
If your fledgling business consists of you, you and yourself, it is tempting to put CEO or something similarly grandiose on your business cards and email footers. Of course, you could similarly put marketing manager, operations director or tea lady. The point is, clients are not going to be impressed, they will simply think this must be a tiny operation if the CEO is chasing around doing everything. Better to just leave it at your name and nothing else.
The royal “we”
Another small detail, but it can strike a chord at the subconscious level. When speaking or writing about what your company can do, try to say “we” instead of “I.” That way, customers will feel that they are dealing with a professional business, not a professional individual.
Pay attention to your website
You might not be able to have the biggest and swankiest office, but more business is conducted in the virtual arena than ever, so make sure your online shopfront is second to none. Anybody can knock together a website in half an hour, but it is a worthwhile investment to get a professional designer onboard to ensure the site competes with the best.