Every business has to start somewhere, but in the early days of an organization, it can be difficult to gain a customer's trust. Right now, you have no experience or credibility. But there are ways to make your startup look bigger than it really is while you're still growing. These methods improve your professional image and help you start building a foundation of trust among potential customers.
It's perfectly fine to run your business from your house when you first get started, but you probably don't want to post your home address on your business cards and website. Seeing a residential address may also put off some customers.
To make your operation appear bigger and more professional, get a central business address. There are a few ways to do this:
Regardless of which option you choose, you'll have a standard street address that you can use to receive business mail. You can also receive packages from UPS and FedEx at your business address.
Some virtual offices will even scan your mail and send it to you through email, so you know what's waiting in your mailbox.
Most well-established businesses have a PBX, or private branch exchange, that allows you to switch calls between different lines on the same phone system. These systems cost thousands of dollars, but they make your business appear more professional.
With a virtual PBX, you can choose your own phone number (even a toll-free number), or you can port an existing number. You can also provide multiple extension or have a virtual answering service to direct users to the appropriate department.
Think of your website as your virtual storefront. Most people use the web to find businesses and research products. It's important to make a good first impression when potential customers land on your website. A professional website can help you achieve that goal.
It's worth the cost to hire an experienced and talented web designer. Look for someone who offers responsive website designs. The layouts on responsive websites automatically change to fit the user's screen, so your website looks great on mobile devices, PCs and tablets.
Also, make sure that your designer uses licensed photos to avoid copyright issues in the future.
Here's a simple way to make it look like you've been in business for a while: Use larger invoice numbers. If your invoice has a small number like 10 or even 20, customers will know that you've just opened your doors.
Start with a higher number. There's no need to draw attention to the fact that you're just starting up. Many invoicing solutions will allow you to choose your own starting invoice number.
The way you package and present your products to customers will also affect your professional image. Pay attention to these small details – customers do.
Instead of using generic packaging material, invest in custom, eye-catching packaging. Use custom packaging boxes for your items and custom printed boxes to ship them in.
Weigh your options carefully (there are many suppliers to choose from), and find a design that fits with your brand.
If you have an online store or showcase your products on your website, hire a professional photographer to take your photos. High quality images will attract customers. Larger images also allow potential customers to zoom in on the details of your product to get a better look.
If you offer services – not products – hire a professional photographer to take photos of your staff and office. You can use these photos on your website to create a more professional appearance.