In business, keeping up appearances is essential. It’s your reputation, uniqueness, code of conduct and trustworthiness all wrapped up in a single package, making you more appealing, safer and more desirable in the eyes of your potential clientele. The branding process of every business is a lifelong endeavor, but one that can make or break your long-term success, and a surefire way to overcome certain reputation challenges you’ll inevitably encounter.
No matter how busy you are trying to onboard new clients, discover suitable marketing strategies or get new meetings, make this a top priority, as putting some creativity and effort into improving your image now will save you numerous troubles down the road.
1. A business email account
As tempting as it is to use your personal email for greater convenience, don’t. It might seem like a harmless, even useful idea at the very earliest stages of your business ventures, but it will give the wrong impression to your clients and potential business partners.
At the same time you choose your domain name, you can use the same hosting provider to ensure a free professional email address to be a part of the package. These options are incredibly affordable, some can be entirely free of charge, but don’t be afraid to get a little creative when crafting your contact email address. Instead of “contact”, you can go for “howdy” or something brand-specific.
2. A website to dazzle
To say that it’s important to have a clean, user-friendly website would be the understatement of the eon. Everything is online nowadays, and if you wish to be taken seriously, your online presence cannot under any circumstances look like a shady Viagra-selling business, but every word, image and feature on your website needs to reflect your brand. Hence the need for a professional web designer to handle the project.
Always make it mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, clean and with authentic messages, as well as a well-designed contact page with all the needed details included. A bonus would be to make your website a living creature by regularly updating your content for better customer engagement.
3. A dedicated phone number
Just like an email address is a necessity for every professional, having a dedicated phone number just for your office (even if it’s located in your home) is an absolute must. You don’t want to run every time your private phone starts ringing thinking that it could be a potential client calling. And they don’t want to be greeted by a goofy message on your voicemail, either.
On a more practical note, business phone systems are a great solution that can divert calls to your cellphone when you’re not in the office, greet your clients using an auto-attendant and notify the caller about their place in the queue. All these and many other options become increasingly important as your business grows, so you’ll need a system that can grow with you.
4. Design your business cards
What’s the use of going to all those conferences, networking events and meetups if you cannot leave your card to any prospect employees, partners or clients you meet? A simple card with your name and contact details will suffice for as long as you’re the only one behind your brand, but if you do have several people with whom you collaborate, you can add a designated title, as well.
Pro tip: get them done with the help of a professional designer and printer, and you’ll be certain that you’ve created simple, classy, memorable cards to go with your brand’s logo and website.
5. Go social
No modern business can survive without using social media posting on a regular basis to ensure reputation management, keep an open line of communication with your customers, educate them, keep them in the loop of any company changes and interesting events.
Just being active and creating fun posts means that you’ll double your chances of sparking at interesting conversation online, perhaps get reviews from previous clients and meet potential influencers who can help you get your brand to a broader audience.
6. Go pro with photos
Much like your business cards can technically be done in the comfort of your own home, and cost you less in the process, hiring someone to fine-tune your image means ensuring certain finesses like lighting, angles, or emphasizing your most prominent features.
This is another image-builder, because the pictures you take and post online to represent your company will leave a lasting impression on your clients and potential partners. You can also check if your photos rank high in certain categories by using Photofeeler or a similar unbiased system before you make your final choice.
7. Suit up
Keeping up appearances with your own style is a significant part of building a long-lasting brand. Fashion plays a pivotal role in how people will perceive you, whether your first impression will be poor or you’ll come off as a business rock star, and how confident you feel in business meetings.
However, you don’t have to stick to the corporate look every single day, there’s plenty of room to get creative and still make a brilliant impression. For instance, customized polo shirts, business casual essentials for everyday coffee meetings and basic grooming will be all you need to look the part.