Posted by admin on Sep 10, 2011
Every business – large and small – needs to worry about their image. Sometimes we forget to take a look at ourselves from “the outside”. There are ten simple things you can do to give yourself a professional look.
1) Get a logo… and use it – properly. This might seem almost redundant to mention, but this is a pet peeve of mine. Every business or organization needs a logo – that is the easiest way for a potential customer to recognize you. The next step is to use it. Every time your business is mentioned, use your logo – in ads, on vehicles, on clothing – everywhere! The most important step is to make sure the logo looks right. There is a reason that large corporations spend a lot of time creating guidelines on how their logo is to be used. When you see a logo that is stretched out of proportion or all blurry, you notice it.. but for the wrong reason. You have a nice logo… make sure it is reproduced in a nice way.
2) Get a web presence. Now, this can be a simple one-page informational website, or a complex e-commerce site, but you should have your own domain name. I have written about the importance of websites before, and if you want to check out that article, you can read it here in my blog. The main point here is to get a domain name that is uniquely yours. Then, make sure people know about it. Make sure your website address is printed wherever your name and logo are.
3) Use the email at your domain name. You should not use a free email account as your business email. There are many reasons, but the main point here is that it looks more professional to use the email at your domain name. You already own the domain… why not use it for your email as well. Many companies still offer webmail access to your account, so it is just as convenient as Hotmail or Gmail.
4) Now that you have a logo, and a great domain name and email address… why not put that logo in the signature of your email. You will just further reinforce your brand, by reminding them of your logo every time they get an email from you. Also take that opportunity to mention your website.
5) Subscribe to a “call answer service”. Nothing bugs me more than a busy signal – except maybe no answer at all. Most telephone companies offer an answering service. I think that is better than an answering machine because it can take a message while you are on the phone. At the very least, you can inform the caller that their call is important and that you will contact them as soon as you can.
6) Invest in a colour laser printer. The prices of colour laser printers are dropping so fast, that soon they will be the same price as a black & white laser printer. You have a nice logo, and probably some nice photos… why print them all in black & white? There is a reason that everything a large corporation produces is done in colour… because colour sells. Why not print everything in colour, such as your brochures, flyers, quotations, and even your invoices.
7) Use social media. If you have time, you can use services such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to spread the word and keep track of what people are saying about you. This can take a considerable amount of time, so don’t take this initiative lightly. Large corporations have full-time employees that only keep track of the company’s social media sites. Nothing screams “unprofessional” than a Facebook page that has not been updated in over a year.
In a nutshell, you know your stuff… but you should look like you know your stuff.