Your small business - First impressions

 

Making your small business look to the outside world like a big business is simple, and surprisingly it costs a lot less than you’d think. And what’s more it can be done a lot quicker than you’d expect.

Here are ten ways that you can transform the way your business is perceived, allowing you to compete with big businesses.

 

1. Move away from personal email services like Hotmail or Gmail

Using a generic email address, like @gmail or similar, can make potential customers doubt the trustworthiness of a business.

So use a domain registration company to purchase a website domain name for your business, which will allow you to set up email addresses using that domain – so for example [email protected] for as little as a few pounds every month. Even something as minor as your email address could affect your credibility to potential stakeholders, investors, lenders and suppliers.

2. Stop using your mobile number as your business number

In much the same way a generic email address gives people doubt about you, using your mobile number to run your business can do exactly the same thing.

Get a dedicated virtual number, including local prefix, which can be managed either online or via an app, that allows calls to be transferred directly to your mobile or home number. It only costs a few pounds a month and takes minutes to set up.

3. Stop using your home address as your business address

Give a professional impression, and protect your privacy at home, by using a virtual address for your business. These are available on a month to month basis and can offer additional services like mail forwarding.

But beware, some financial institutions and legal bodies won’t accept virtual addresses as the legal or core address for your business, so make sure you do your research into how this works.

4. Find help to do more, more quickly

Hiring staff is expensive and time consuming, but if you’re getting behind on your admin, marketing or sales, you might need an extra pair of hands.

But rather than take on physical staff, why not hire a Virtual PA to outsource activities to, either in the UK, or offshore. Freelancers can also be a great help for any startup. If you’re looking for help with creative design, your website or copy writing, sites such as peopleperhour, Fiverr and Freelancer.com are often used as interim options.

As a rule, they’re flexible and can be hired by the hour, day or month and can help with parts of your business that you struggle to keep on top of.

5. Find an inspiring location for meetings

Ok, so you don’t have a dedicated office - so where do you hold your meetings? Well outside of the usual locations like coffee shops, hotel lobbies, pubs or your client’s location – there’s not a lot left.

One alternative is a local coworking Hub. There tends to be one of these in most cities and large towns, and they’re full of creative small business types just like you. They tend to be inspiring spaces and have great meeting rooms or spaces that can be hired by the hour with reception services. They’re also a great place to meet potential clients, suppliers or partners.

6. Stop using a personal Facebook page for your business

If you’re going to use Facebook for your business, make sure you set up a specific business profile page. With more people using Facebook for local business searches, a business page will be found more and help with driving organic traffic.

In addition, there are several add on modules that allow you to integrate your page with third party apps, like Shopify to sell directly through the page, or to set up and manage events and meetings.

LinkedIn is another social media platform to look into as well. A professional profile on the site can show great credibility, as well as giving you the opportunity to share industry knowledge and thought leadership with your peers.

7. Open a dedicated business bank account, even if you’re a Sole Trader

Whilst there’s no legal requirement as a sole trader to have a separate bank account for your business activities, there are two compelling reasons why you should. 

One – It simplifies the division between personal and business transactions. This allows you to gain increased visibility over the health of your business.

Two – If you’re looking to secure personal credit – a mortgage for example – it will be easier to provide the lender details of your income, because it will now be clearly separated.

8. Streamline your bookkeeping

When you have a dedicated business account, you can benefit from linking it to accounting software and apps. This will speed up your accounting processes and allow you to manage expenses and invoicing on the move.

In addition, it will:

One – Give you increased, real time visibility over your current financial situation.

Two – Reduce accounting fees because you are doing more of the work yourself.

Three – Create accurate and timely financial reports.

If you’re looking for another solution to keeping on top of your bookkeeping, hiring an accountant could help you massively. This’ll give you more time to concentrate on other parts of your business and they’ll also be a great advisor when it comes to your business plan and cash flow forecast (something that a lot of businesses struggle with in the first year).

9. Invest in customer data management

Data laws, such as GDPR, affect everyone who holds any piece of customer data – however small the company. So, take a step towards compliance by using an online platform that is designed to securely manage data, like a CRM system.

A recent survey showed that 64.2% of companies using a CRM rate the technology as “impactful” or “very impactful” to their ability to produce great results and grow their businesses.[1] . With better management of your customer data, you should be able to improve relationships and also extract more revenue per customer.

10. Become more creative with your marketing design

Explore the world of apps to discover platforms that transform simple images and text into high impact visuals, with no prior design knowledge required. 

There are some Immensely creative tools that are freely available for smart phones or tablets, that create professional looking assets for website, social media, brochures and adverts with very little effort.

Incorporating images into social media has a direct correlation to its success – for example, posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts.[2]  

 

If you’re already a Cashplus Business Current Account holder, you’ll have access to the Cashplus Marketplace where you’ll find discounted rates and offers to many different services, including some of the ones mentioned above. If you’re not a customer, why don’t you find out more about the Cashplus Business Current Account?

 

Sources

[1] https://www.agilecrm.com/blog/statistics-that-prove-the-need-for-a-crm/

[2] https://medium.com/marketing-and-entrepreneurship/16-visual-content-marketing-statistics-that-will-wake-you-up-59c4c0b80465

 

This content was created on 3rd July 2019

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