For entrepreneurs, running a small business can get quite expensive at times. Often these small business owners simply don’t have the necessary experience in domains such as designing, IT, and the like, and are forced to enlist help from outside which can get costly. However, some choose not to invest money in such things and end up doing them on their own or not at all. Yet, cutting corners in order to save up some extra cash will make your business look somewhat cheap and unprofessional. This in turn will deter potential clients from your business instead of attracting them, and it’ll only end up costing you more. Therefore, here are five tips on how not to be stingy with your money and make your business more professional in doing so:
Custom website and domain name
Getting a free website and domain name might look like a bargain at first, but in doing so you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Free domains are often marked by long and wordy names which will achieve the exact opposite of what you want, and that is for your website’s name to be short and memorable. What’s more, your website will look amateurish and that’s not the picture you want to paint of your business. Platforms such as WordPress allow you to install various themes, sort out your hosting, and get a proper domain name for your website, to make it more professional-looking without too many expenses.
Set up a business e-mail
If you are the sole employee of your company, chances are you’re using your own personal e-mail address as your business one. First of all, there’s the privacy issue, but more importantly, by using a free e-mailing address, such as Yahoo and Gmail, you’re effectively promoting those companies instead of yours. Having your own business e-mail isn’t just for the sake of branding, but, same as with the domain name, helps people find you more easily. In addition, there are a lot of impersonators and scammers out there and you want to distance yourself from them as much as possible by using a distinctly unique business e-mail. The good news is you can probably get one for free from your hosting company by simply using your domain name; if not, then get one from Google Apps for Business instead.
Acquire a dedicated phone number and update your phone systems
Nowadays, you no longer need a human secretary to act as your voicemail when machines can do all of that for you, and more efficiently at that. Furthermore, using your own private number for business purposes is both extremely unprofessional and a potential security risk. Therefore, upgrading your current infrastructures into more modern business phone systems will give you that added security which comes with professionalism, as well as a plethora of other features, such as: VoIP, voicemail to email, mobile diversion, and call direction and queuing, to name a few. This way you semi-automate the whole process and ensure that you don’t miss out on any potential deals when you forget to pick up your phone during your lunch break.
Register your business as an LLC
Though this might look like an unnecessary investment at first, setting it up is well worth the initial hassle. Registering your business as a legit enterprise will achieve two things: your business will acquire some credibility in the business sphere, and you won’t be held liable if things go from bad to worse. If your business has financial or legal troubles and you’re a sole proprietor, you risk losing your house or your car as a form of liquidation for that debt. Hence, similarly to how you want to separate your personal email and phone number from your business ones, you want your business to be a separate legal entity as well. Plus, you’ll pay less in taxes which is always an added bonus.
Work on your branding
Finally, all of this effort would be for nothing if you didn’t work on your branding after all that trouble. Imagine how you want people to perceive your business and focus on achieving that image. Invest in a quality logo that best represents your business, try searching on Fiverr and 99designs as it shouldn’t be too expensive. The last thing you want to do is to DIY and create a few incoherent pixels in Microsoft Paint. Follow this up by either blogging on your website or by posting on social media and you’re good to go, just remember, be consistent and always stay true to your character.
To sum up, separate your company’s identity from your own to achieve a certain level of professionalism. After all, it’s not just a hobby, it’s a business
Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.