You’re an entrepreneur going down the road less traveled and running your own business. It’s an exciting and rewarding time but of course comes with it’s own challenges. One of which is looking professional as a solo business operator, without the resources and credibility of an established company to back you.
Whether you’re working from your car, kitchen bench, or an office, these tips will help you look legit right off the bat, helping you win business and grow into a professional and profitable business.
Keep tight control over your online presence
Showing that you’re a professional starts from the moment the customer hears about you. This could be anything from an ad, a social media profile, website, or review. It’s important to get a grasp of all the places your business appears online, and be sure you’re always putting your best foot forward. Review websites like Angie’s List or Yellow Pages are great for creating a free listing for your business. Some automatically create a profile and allow you to claim and update it. Always take this step and be sure to upload professional photos of past projects, include a quality write-up, add referrals from customers, and all the necessary info. One of these sites could very well be your first impression, so you want to have as much control over that moment as possible.
Make the most of simple online tools
When you work for an employer, you’re provided with all of the essentials: an email address, business cards, and a business phone number. However when you’re running solo, you have to arrange all of these essentials yourself. The good news is it’s easier than ever to set up a business email address, get a dedicated phone number, have a logo designed, build a website and more. There’s endless options available, so we’ve taken some of the leg work out and curated our top tools and tips to help you look professional with very little upfront cost.
Ditch the paper
Every piece of communication you send out should reflect the credibility of your business. That means ditching antiquated ways of communicating, including paper invoices and receipts. That’s why so many businesses choose to use a mobile invoicing solution like Invoice2go – it helps them ditch the pen and paper and up-level the professionalism of their billing. When it comes to storing paperwork and files, moving over to a digital format and keeping everything in the cloud is a great way to stay highly organized, which will also help you look professional in your day to day.
Always show up 5-10 mins early
Being early is not old school. It shows your customer that you have your act together and that they can rely on you to deliver what you’re promising – a high quality job. Show up early whenever you can. Your customer will likely do the same anyway so you can almost always start the quote or job earlier than they expect – and therefore get it done before they expect too. Using tools like Fantastical or Google Calendar is a great way to ensure you’re always on time for appointments. You can set up reminders so you never get carried away in your work and forget about a meeting. And you can evaluate your whole schedule with a few clicks and give your customer a very accurate timeframe for their job – remember it’s always better to allow some cushion time.