People form a first impression in only seven seconds, according to Business Insider. Live Science adds that once people form their first impressions of you, you’ll rarely change their minds. As a business owner, you should always project your best professional self. Making the right impression with a limited budget may seem difficult, but the following four strategies can help your small business be a serious contender in your industry.
Use High-Quality Printed Materials
Image via Flickr by Jason Bagley
Printed materials such as flyers and business cards may be the first contact potential new customers have with your business, so make sure they’re produced to a high standard. If you don’t have a design team, hire a graphic design company to produce your materials. Many design firms have partners with printers to help businesses like yours get better deals. Trust their recommendations about paper, print quality, and finishes. Saving money isn’t worth it if your finished materials don’t look professional.
Get a Professionally Designed Website
People are even quicker to form opinions online, so enlist professionals to design your website. Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology found that online visitors form a first opinion of your brand in only two-tenths of a second, according to Entrepreneur. In another 2.6 seconds, an online viewer’s eyes will focus enough to reinforce that first impression. When online visitors make such snap decisions about your brand based on your online presence, you need to make that impression the right one.
A professional web designer can create a slick-looking website customized for your business. When completed, your website won’t look like so many others online, which invariably happens to businesses using templates and website-building software. A custom website also reflects your branding and online goals better than any one-size-fits-all solution.
Use Printed Checks
Rumors of the death of paper checks have been greatly exaggerated. While the number of paper checks written every year is dwindling, Business Insider admits that small businesses are using paper checks as they always have. But that statement isn’t fully true.
In the past, we all wrote details on our paper checks by hand. Today, many popular accounting programs let users print paper checks. These printed checks look much more professional than the paper checks of the past. Start printing your checks to make your business appear more professional to your suppliers.
Improve Your Telephone Manner
We may live in an increasingly digital world, but phone manners still matter. Even with other communication tools at your disposal, you’ll probably still speak to customers, suppliers, and other professional contacts over the telephone. If your phone manner isn’t on point, you won’t project the air of professionalism you want.
Practice makes perfect. Take opportunities to communicate by phone in your daily life instead of texting. Think about what you want to say before making calls, if possible, to seem more confident. Remember to be friendly and always keep your cool. Record your voice to critique the recording later. These strategies can help you improve your telephone manner.
In the business world, image is everything. When you take steps to present your small business as a professional organization, your business can be a contender against larger firms in your industry.