One of the potential barriers entrepreneurs face is appearing to be amateurish next to more established businesses. Yes, in many cases older businesses have their standard operating procedures worked out more so than a startup, and yes, you should have your ducks in a row before pulling the trigger on starting your business. However, neither of these things should stop you from making your entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
When it comes to starting a business, the adage “fake it until you make it” often applies. As a startup, there are various tips and tricks you can use to appear more established from the get-go, without deceiving your clients. Here are five tips to keep in mind:
Get a Toll-Free Number
Chances are your startup business will use cellphones as the main contact point for potential clients. Rather than advertising a mobile number, consider getting a toll-free number to use for business purposes. You can set up your toll free numbers to operate like a company switchboard, not only adding an air of professionalism to your business but helping to ensure business calls are directed to the right team member.
Know When to Spend
Finances can be tight when starting a new business, and knowing where to spend and where to save is crucial to your success. It is especially important not to cut costs on keystone parts of your business. Doing so can cost money, time, and potential customers down the line.
Your startup probably doesn’t need the latest and greatest in office equipment. It does, however, need a professionally designed website and logo. You don’t need a brand new sports car as a company vehicle. You do need to make sure you have reliable contractors and employees in place to make your business thrive. Be smart when spending money.
Create a Presence
If you don’t exist on social media, there’s a good chance you will lose potential customers. Having a social media presence is especially important for startup businesses, as consumers will often check to evaluate your validity online.
Start building a web presence before your business officially launches. Reserve your names on the different platforms and share relevant content. If this task is too time-consuming, consider outsourcing to a virtual assistant or colleague looking for a couple of hours of work per week. These tasks will help you build a well-known, recognizable brand.
Convey Your Expertise
When trying to appear established, you aren’t trying to trick potential customers into thinking you’ve been around longer than you have. On the contrary, you are simply shifting the focus from how new your business is to how well you run it.
Show your potential customers how well you do your job. Highlight any prior experiences that directly or indirectly relate to your current business. Just because your business is new doesn’t mean that you are.
Company Email Addresses
A small but critical part of positioning your startup as an authoritative, established voice in the marketplace is having company email accounts rather than using a bulk email provider. In other words, having firstname.lastname@example.org as an email address looks a lot more professional than email@example.com.
Getting a custom email account is simple, and usually comes as a part of the package when you purchase your domain for the professionally designed website mentioned earlier. If you prefer to use a different platform, you can usually integrate your custom email address into your current provider. This not only creates a user-friendly system for you, but keeps your different correspondence files in one location.
Remember to Be Authentic
No matter how you decide to make a name for yourself, remember to be authentic and honest with your clientele. Remember, being a startup isn’t a weakness. Your dedication and time available for your early clients may be your greatest selling feature in the beginning.