It has never been easier to set up a business, I’m sure a quick scroll of your Facebook timeline will reveal multiple friends or former classmates who have their own side hustle. From dog walkers to childminders – everyone seems to have something going on. When it comes to setting up a business, yes it’s easy to do, but success isn’t guaranteed. In fact, it’s far from guaranteed. One problem is that many of the businesses that are set up in the home don’t always look as professional and legitimate as they could do, which puts them at a disadvantage. But good news: looking more professional isn’t all that difficult. Below, we take a look at five ways to up the professional ante.
It doesn’t matter how other people see you that should concern you; it’s how you see yourself. That’s useful life advice, for sure, which can also be applied to your business. If you don’t take your own business seriously, then why would anyone else? Your professionalism all begins with how you work. Don’t run your business from your bedroom or in your pyjamas, and don’t belittle it, either. Get dressed, create an office space or work at a co-working hub, and believe that you’re moving on to big things.
In the early days, your business might be considered “part-time.” You’re waiting for an order or an email to come in, or whatever, Because everything is happening pretty slowly, you’re not forever at your laptop, waiting for the next thing to happen. This can create a problem, however, in that your customers could be waiting longer than usual for a reply. You don’t need to be tied to your computer, but you should have the tools on your smartphone to answer your customers from wherever you are.
Nothing is more suspect than a lack of contact information, or if a website only lists one form of contact (it’s worst if that is an email contact form; people don’t trust them, they never expect a reply). To look more professional, look at adding as much contact information as possible to your site. You should have an email address, real-world address, and phone number listed. If you don’t want to list your home address, then get a virtual mailbox; it’ll function the same. A phone answering service might be an idea if you receive a lot of calls.
People really do trust other people. If someone else has had a good experience with you, then they’re more inclined to believe that they will, too – it makes sense. It might seem boastful to include all those glowing customer testimonials on your site, but it’s not: it’s just telling the people that you’re good at what you do. That’s not bragging!
Avoid Basic Errors
Finally, make sure you avoid making basic errors, such as spelling mistakes, broken URL links, and poor-quality photographs. It’s a big giveaway that the site isn’t run as well as it should be.