When you’re a bootstrapping startup, your image is everything. It can be the difference between landing or losing a new client.
That’s why it’s important to look the part. In order to appeal to your ideal customers and clients, your company must appear to be a confident and capable team of professionals.
But how do you do project professionalism when you’re just getting started?
That’s the subject of today’s blog post as we discuss five actionable steps you can take to make your startup look professional.
Protect Your Company
Many people advise against creating a business entity in the early stages of your startup. The theory is, the process of filing legal paperwork diverts your attention from actually launching and developing your business.
But, there are good reasons to protect your company and its assets early on.
Without a business entity, your personal assets are at risk. You’re taking a calculated gamble launching a startup, so it’s a solid move to protect your personal belongings just in case.
It’s also important to protect your company’s intellectual property. The internet is ripe with copycats who have no problem stealing an idea and making it their own. Unfortunately, you’ll have little recourse if someone steals your intellectual property unless you’ve protected yourself with trademarks.
Trademarking your business name and logo, and operating under a business entity is just good business. Just as importantly, the trademark and corporation designations on your website, business cards, and advertisements look professional to the world.
Get Professional Contact Information
One of the easiest ways to present a positive image is to ensure all your contact information looks professional.
Consider a P.O. box or mailbox rental so your Google My Business listing doesn’t show a picture of your home on your listing. Such an image will make your company look more like a home business and not a professional startup.
Always use a professional email address with your company’s name. Nothing screams amateur quite like getting an email from “email@example.com.” Instead, go with a more professional looking “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
You’ll want to separate business calls from personal calls so you can always maintain a professional tone. Business phone numbers are easy to get. If you have room in your budget, you can simply sign up for a new business line through your preferred carrier. Or, check out Google Voice which is a simple and free option.
If your company deals with customer face-to-face, you may want to buy name tags to add a professional touch.
Have a Professional Website
This one is a no-brainer. It’s hard to look reputable when a client or customer lands on a website that looks like MySpace.
As a startup, you’re always looking for money-saving methods to help you keep your finances under control.
Luckily, current technology makes it simple and inexpensive to create a high-quality website. Your site needs to look modern with a clean and organized interface.
Just remember, your website is your primary marketing tool so spend the time and resources to make it shine.
Make sure visitors can navigate your site on their smartphones just as easily as their desktop computers.
Your site must engage users and provide a positive experience strong enough to entice people to want to do business with you.
Develop a Unique Brand
A strong company’s identity is essential to connecting with customers. You’re logo and branding is a visual manifestation of your company. That’s why it is important and worthwhile to spend money on quality design work.
A memorable company name and unique logo will increase brand awareness. This is one example of the old adage, “Fake it ’til you make it.” If you want to be a million-dollar company, you need to look first like a million-dollar company.
Become an Authority
Content marketing makes it very easy to establish authority in your space. The more you are able to publish, the more trust you will build with your audience.
People buy products and services from people they trust. They refer their friends to companies they trust.
Become respected within your niche by sharing your expertise and knowledge in as many platforms as possible.
Create informative posts on LinkedIn. Contribute content on authority websites and publications. Give presentations at seminars, conferences and other events. Appear on podcasts, YouTube videos — you name it!
The Final Word on How to Look Professional as a Startup
If you want your startup to look professional, you have to be professional in everything you do.
Have clear company objectives and goals that everyone on your team knows and believes in. It’s easier to look the part when your organization exemplifies your values in all aspects of your work.
If you found this article helpful, please check out the five things every startup office absolutely needs.