Following the events of the pandemic, the US has broken out of its decades-long start-up slump as more and more people are beginning to take more interest in entrepreneurship. Data from the Census Bureau showed that applications for small businesses permits rose to 24%, and economists predict that this number will continue to rise as the economy recovers. With all the startups being established at the moment, the competition for funding and customers is tougher than ever. That said, here are ten ways to make your startup more professional.
Best Ways to Make Your Startup More Professional
1.Prepare Your Business Plan
A business plan allows companies to put together organized objectives, for both the short- and long-term. Think of it as a roadmap for the future of your business — how do you see it growing in one, two, or five years? Entrepreneur lists the basic parts of a business plan, which often include an executive summary, products and services, market analysis, marketing strategy, financial planning, and a budget. This document is also shown to potential clients, business partners, and investors. Having a long-term plan will set you apart as a well-prepared business that aims towards success.
2.Create a website
In the age of technology, having an online presence can really make a difference. A website will help you put your brand name out there — interested customers will be able to find you and learn more about your products and services, and you can also show satisfaction ratings that will help boost your business’ reputation. Nowadays, there are plenty of website builders with great free and paid templates that are readily available, like Wix and Squarespace. If you want to be even more professional, buying a domain name will make your brand stand out.
3.Use work email addresses
As one of the main modes of communication, a dedicated email provider like Google Workspace or Bluehost will be very beneficial for a startup. Personal email addresses using default email services appear disconnected and less streamlined, and overall less professional especially to potential business clients. Moreover, a dedicated email provider can also provide perks to your employees, like online storage and access to document editing. Don’t forget to create a standardized email footer that includes all your contact information, and to ensure that all emails are well-written. Even if you are not meeting your potential client face-to-face, first impressions are still just as important.
4.Secure a business credit card
Amongst the numerous business advice articles on Ask Money, one recent post delved into the process of securing a corporate credit card. It provides businesses with a certain amount of financial flexibility in operation — corporate credit will also be an important tool to establish creditworthiness. For instance, banks, business partners, and clients all look into a business’ credit profile before extending future credit. A successfully managed business line of credit will signify that the company is on solid footing and is financially capable of managing itself. Additionally, it helps separate the personal from the professional.
5.Establish network and connections
Finally, begin networking as soon and as often as possible. Business is all about the connections you make — with the right people, your startup can get pushed to the next level. Start simple by signing up for business networking sites like LinkedIn, and then work your way up by attending networking events in your area, or reaching out to other brands for projects or collaborations. Networking will also allow you to learn about how other startups are being run, and you can also gain a broader perspective on the existing market.
6.Get a business phone number
Have you ever called a company and been surprised when the phone is answered with a simple “hello” rather than a professional greeting? It does not inspire confidence. That is why you require a business phone number: If a phone call, text message, or email is received for your business, you can respond appropriately.
Fortunately, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to pay for an expensive business landline. For a few dollars per month, you can add a second line to your cell phone. There are many low-cost options for obtaining a business phone number.
7.Use a business address
Starting a business from home, a co-working space, or anywhere in the world is perfectly acceptable these days. Using a business address, on the other hand, can add a layer of privacy and professionalism. Consider getting a PO Box if you aren’t ready to invest in office space. The address can then be used as if it were a street address. (Instructions for converting PO Box addresses to street addresses can be found here.)
Using a business address is a perfect way to make your startup more professional.
8.Establish a social media presence
Your business does not need to be on every social media platform, but determine where your customers hang out and consider developing a basic presence on the most popular ones. At the very least, secure the social media handles for your company’s name before someone else does.
9.Hire Virtual assistant
A virtual assistant on the side is a a good way to make your startup more professional. They not only save you time and money, but they are also a low-cost and experienced investment in the growth of your business. They can assist with bookkeeping, social media, design, web development, email management, marketing administration, and a variety of other tasks. It’s a simple way to appear large and busy.
10.Maintain High Levels of Professional Communication
When discussing business and conversing with clients, whether you’re answering WhatsApp messages, responding to emails, talking to the bank, a prospective client, or someone you’ve dealt with before, business professionalism is essential. Even the smallest details and communications with clients provide them with a wealth of information about how you work and how you deal with clients. To make your startup more professional, you need to do a communication across the board at all times.
Making an effort to make you startup more professional as possible as you can to help you stand out from the crowd. Consider these business professionalism tips and put them into action right away.
Above all, don’t be discouraged when unexpected challenges arise. With these five tips, you’ll be able to make your startup more professional and steer it towards a path of growth. For more helpful articles on startup, check also How to Set Your Startup Business Up for Success.