Starting a business is no easy task. Challenges arise from every front, and being taken seriously is a common issue that many entrepreneurs face. It might start with your friends and family, but extend to your networking circles and beyond.
There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a business and being second-guessed and not taken seriously by others. Thankfully, brand and business image are fields in which a lot of research has taken place.
In this article, let us explore what you, as an entrepreneur, need to do to transform your business into one that starts getting taken seriously.
1. Branding Uniformity
The first priority you will need to focus on is brand perception and uniformity. Remember, branding is not just having a nice logo or company name. It also involves the impression that your business is making on your customers.
Thus, uniformity in visual elements needs to occur in every area. It’s surprising how often businesses forget simple aspects like ensuring their fonts, color schemes, and descriptions for core areas stay uniform.
This does require an eye for detail, which can be hard when you are managing a business in its early stages. That said, once you are aware of it, give it your top priority. Similarly, your brand’s image is significantly boosted by having bespoke merchandise.
If you own a brick-and-mortar store, having your employees wear company T-shirts or clothes ticks a checkmark in a customer’s subconscious mind. It helps establish the, “Is this place legitimate?” question with a clear “yes.”
These days, you can find plenty of custom branding services, like Printika, that can handle such needs, even for small businesses. What sort of items would this include? Well, it’s more than you can imagine.
Printika is one of many services that will help you create custom designs for T-shirts, hats, stationery, bottles, calendars, towels, bags, and more. Whether these are handed out to customers or used by your team, they upgrade your business’s image unlike anything else.
2. Online Presence Overhaul
With branding uniformity, you should already start seeing a lot of difference in the way people respond to your business. That said, the logical next step would be a complete overhaul of your online presence.
Spend some time looking at businesses with attributes that you admire. Ask yourself what it is about their online presence that you find “professional.” You might discover many aspects of your own website and online presence that need updating.
It could be the tone of the copy on your website, which feels a tad bit informal and amateur. It could be the quality of digital media, from the profile photos of staff to product pictures. Amateur businesses often feature images that are obviously not professionally taken.
In many cases, the CEO would be the only one with a professionally shot photo, while other core employees are pictures taken with a phone camera in informal settings. It may not sound like a big deal, but it’s small things like this that add up.
If there’s a lapse in quality in your service or product, customers might feel, “I knew it; they weren’t a legit business after all.”
3. Invest in Communication Skills Training
Perhaps the biggest mistake that new businesses make is failing to set a high standard for communication. It’s easy to see how this happens.
For the most part, people are able to get by fine by communicating, as they always do. They may think that trying to change the way they talk will come across as “fake” and disingenuous.
However, this is a belief that comes from a flawed perception of what good business communication is like. Good communication isn’t about using corporate jargon; instead, it has its basis in clarity and respect. This applies everywhere, from email etiquette to conflict resolution.
There will be many moments where it might be easy to slip back into more casual, informal communication. However, this is precisely where you want to be careful. You may need to ensure your team gets the right business communication training, but it’s well worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can small businesses create a professional brand image on a limited budget?
Thankfully, it doesn’t take much in the form of financial resources to make a difference. As we learned today, ensuring uniformity across your online profiles and platforms doesn’t require extensive resources. Yes, communication skills training can be one area that may cost money. However, you should still be able to see results with just the first two methods.
2. How often should a business update its branding to maintain a professional image?
According to Squarespace, there’s no perfect answer to this question, but ideally? As often as you can. There’s no telling when a potential customer will land on your website. If there are inconsistencies to fix, try to have them addressed as early as possible.
At the end of the day, coming across as “professional” shouldn’t cloud your focus. Remember, there are several areas of focus that you don’t want to neglect. It’s natural to want to impress people, but be realistic. If your business is truly in a fledgling state, you likely have more important concerns to worry about.