The image of how a small business is presented to the public is incredibly important. In order to gain customers, investors, and even employees, an enterprise must be perceived in the most positive light possible. To help you improve your venture, 1-800Accountant offers up the following 5 ways on improving the image of your small business for National Business Image Improvement Month:
1. Adopt a formal entity structure (e.g., LLC or S corporation).
While it doesn’t have anything to do with how people visually see your small business, the type of entity you operate plays a significant role in your overall business presentation to others. This is why establishing a formal legal business entity is imperative to make others aware that you’re serious about doing business. It’s nice to start out with a basic sole proprietorship or partnership, but it’s highly recommended to explore registering a formal LLC, S corporation, or C corporation at some point. When others know you have “LLC” or “Inc.” in the name of your company, they’ll immediately place you in a higher category of business credibility because of this formal designation.
2. Improve your customer service.
If you put a lot of focus on properly serving and communicating with your customers, there’s a good chance your small business will be held in higher regard compared to fellow enterprises in your industry. Customers are extremely grateful for companies that treat them like they really matter – not like they’re just another number. When you truly care about your customer service, your customers will be more apt to refer their friends and family members to you. This automatically improves your image in your field. So respond to every customer in a timely manner, resolve any problems they experience with your products or services, and treat all customers fairly.
3. Beef up your marketing and promotional strategies.
The image that a small business presents to the general public has plenty to do with how it is represented through its marketing and promotional efforts. If you spend money on any forms of marketing and advertising, it’s critical to make a great impression on others so that your money is well spent. Create a company logo that is professional and accurately represents your firm. Design and hand out business cards that include your company logo and all relevant contact information. If you operate a website for your business, be sure it is laid out professionally and looks appealing to potential customers. The same goes for how you communicate your business image through newspaper ads, TV commercials, or website banners. When you make it clear to others that your small business stands out from the rest of the pack, your credibility and image as a business owner will skyrocket. You just have to practice what you preach by meeting your customers’ expectations.
4. Improve your own image as a small business owner.
Regardless of your industry, you should always look the part as a small business owner. What exactly does this mean? It’s all about presenting yourself in a way that allows those around you to take you seriously. Upgrade your wardrobe with some new and stylish clothing. Change your appearance so that you look a little more professional. You’d be surprised how someone perceives a business owner based on what he or she is wearing – and how this person speaks and comes across from a personality standpoint. So, overall, reevaluate how you are perceived by others, and do your best to improve yourself in any way, shape, or form necessary.
5. Organize and clean up your workplace.
If you run your own retail outlet selling bicycles or handmade clothing, make sure your store is in good shape both inside and outside. Customers walking in want to see a storefront that is maintained. When they open the door, they want to see a store that’s easy to navigate, organized, and one that makes them feel comfortable. These same perceptions are made about business offices where clients visit or even home offices where clients come for various reasons. Keep your workplace clean and tidy. Make sure you have enough lighting, and take some time to decorate. A little work can go a long way when trying to improve the visual appeal and vibe of your small business.
1-800Accountant can help put your small business on the map through various consulting services, including business planning and business accounting. Learn more by calling 1-800-222-6868 or at www.1-800Accountant.
Image credit: The image included in this blog post is used with permission via the Flickr Creative Commons license.