Find out how to make your startup look and appear professionally whilst you fake it until you make it.
As a startup you’re all big ideas, but unfortunately, until things take off, you don’t quite have the budget or facilities to present professionally. Offices, fancy meeting rooms, online presence – it’s not easy to get clients and customers to take you seriously when you don’t have the funds to look like you’re properly set up.
If that is you, don’t worry. Your fantastic big ideas will no doubt eventually be followed with a big budget for brand presentation. In the meantime, though, there are some clever tricks to help you present as a professional business as a startup:
First Things First…. Why Is A Professional Appearance Important As A Startup?
Essentially, it all comes down to making a good impression. As a startup, you don’t really get a second chance to look good to customers, clients and other people who will influence your success journey as a new business. As you’re trying to grow and make connections, it is important to at least present professionally, even if you really don’t feel like you’re there just yet. The reality is very much like a swan above water – graceful and together, whilst there is rapid, ungrateful paddling of the feet to keep things together under the waterline.
How To Look Professional As A Startup
Luckily, until a time comes where you look professional because you have all your ducks in a row and you are very much a thriving business, there are plenty of things you can do to appear professional and secure yourself clients, customers and fantastic employees and here are just a few of them:
Get A Website
You absolutely need a website to be considered as a professional company. It does not have to be flashy or complex, but it does need to have all the relevant information on it so that it appears legitimate and so it is actually useful. Pages like a simple ‘About Us’ and various links to your social media will do the job just fine. Just make sure that you keep the information updated, check that all the links work, and most importantly, never have any pages that say ‘in progress’ or similar. This detracts from the professionalism of the site and in most cases, it is better to have fewer pages than to have pages under construction.
Get On Social Media
We expect businesses to be on social media now, and if they aren’t it can make them seem less professional, so it makes sense to have some business social media accounts. The great news is, that with initial sign up you can do this for free and start to engage with potential customers right away, being sure to direct them to your website so those sales can hopefully start to flood in!
Get Your Stock Protected And Organised
Lots of businesses start off in the kitchen and don’t progress in physical size until they can afford a warehouse or an office. The problem with this is that warehouses and office rentals are expensive, and the contracts are really suffocating. They don’t allow for growing pains and can really stifle the business they house. What many people don’t realise is that there is a middle ground, which is cheap storage units. Self storage prices are much lower than the price of offices and warehouses, and yet, they can offer you secure, trusted self storage for your stock. Using the cheap storage units you can then organise and manage your stock and move it out of your kitchen, protecting its condition and also giving you somewhere to operate your fulfillment from, too.
Create A Professional Email Address
It is important that you have a professional email address simply because something more personal immediately lets potential clients know that you’re not a ‘proper business’ yet. Of course you are a ‘proper business’ but you’re not established enough to need a business email address – is the message they get when your personal email turns up in their inbox. Additionally, your personal email may also be inappropriate and make a bad impression. For easy professional appearance and communication, create a quick and easy email address that uses your business name or something related so that your potential clients and customers trust that the person contacting them means business.
Use A Virtual Office Service
A virtual office is a way to have a physical office address without having an actual physical office address. It means that you will be associated with a great building location that you’re listed at, that will also receive your physical packages and letters. There will also be an associated answering service, and if you’re in the local area, access to other handy services like meeting rooms, working spaces and even gym use. It depends on the service, but it’s an easy way to have a professional business address without paying for the privilege.
Get A Business Number
Although you may well give out your personal number in the beginning, it will become too much and the chance of an unprofessional answer is just too high. To limit that risk, use a business number either with a different phone dedicated to business only. Alternatively, do use your personal number but make it appear like a professional business number by using an answering service. They will give you a business number that then diverts to your mobile, or if you are unavailable, to an answering service. This is often a service that comes with virtual office packages.
Start Up Success: With Our Tips You’ll Appear Professional In No Time
The tips above are a great start to appearing more professional to your potential clients, customers and to rival companies. With the right actions, and without the need to spent too much money, too, you can appear more professional as your build and grow a successful company.