The impression your business gives off is essential, but it is also easy to make mistakes and ruin your reputation. There are some small mistakes that are easy to rectify, and some larger ones that can take a little more time to come back from.
Your business needs all the help it can get with the competition you have, so make sure your first impression is the best and your professional demeanor stays with potential customers and clients.
The art of appearance
First of all, become familiar with the benefits of keeping up your business appearance. It isn't just the first impression that you need, but you must keep up appearances throughout all of your communications and operations.
You may get a potential client's attention by providing an impressive presentation, but if you can't keep up that motivation, your reputation suffers and you lose the sale.
Understand that the way your business is perceived is just as important as the products or services you sell. This is where the power of word-of-mouth comes in.
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Avoiding the wrong impression
If you're concerned about giving off the wrong impression, there are some things you can do to ensure this doesn't happen.
To start with, don't be afraid to ask for help. Even if you are an entrepreneur, you can't always do everything yourself. Hire a virtual assistant if you need help answering emails or phone calls. That way, your communication is provided effectively and you don't anger customers or clients by not getting back to them sooner.
You should also upgrade your phone system with a professional message service to look more professional.
For your email address, never use a personal email, like through Yahoo! or Gmail. Instead, use an official business email address tied to your website. You can also help make a good first impression with a professional, website, blog and social media profiles.
Tips on appearing more professional
When it comes to communicating with your customers, returning calls or emails within 24 hours is key. This makes you appear more professional as long as you are using your business email. You can also appear more professional in person by always making eye contact, smiling, and greeting people with enthusiasm and positivity.
Even on the phone, smiling makes a huge difference. Customers notice little things and big things. If they sign up for your monthly newsletter and start getting daily emails from you, they feel pressured into emails they didn't ask for. If they are signing up for regular updates, make sure they know about it and are not tricked into getting what they might assume is spam.
As far as social media is concerned, choose your professional voice and make sure all of your updates are consistent. A lazy Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page can be indicative of slow customer response issues, something that no one wants to project.
Lastly, you may be operating a business where customers will come into physical contact with you and/or your employees.
In those cases, make sure the office looks professional, it is clean and organized, and your employees act professionally if they will be in direct contact with customers or be in the background. From custom business entrance mats to plenty of sitting room in the waiting area, your office needs to be warm and inviting, not cold and impersonal.
With these tips and suggestions, you can make a great first impression and improve your small business appearance. It makes you look more professional and can help you network and maintain your clientele.
About the author
Tina Samuels writes on small business, social media, marketing, and home improvements.