As much as we like to think otherwise, we all judge things based on their appearance. This is very much the case in business when choosing a company to work with – we’re drawn to companies that look professional.
You may know you’re good at your job and you may have the experience to back it up, but unless you look the part, people may be wary of putting their trust in you. Here are several ways that you can keep your company looking strong and credible.
Does Your Business Look Professional? Check Your Dress Sense
First, it’s worth considering how you compose yourself. A certain level of formality is expected from certain trades and you make sure that you’re not underdressing or overdressing for the occasion.
Suits might be expected from companies in law and finance, but may seem a little conservative in creative industries where a smart-casual approach may be better.
Some jobs may involve a more practical dress sense such as plumbing or dentistry.
Consider what other companies in your trade wear and whether you should dress like them.
Make sure that you’re not using any inappropriate colors in your clothing.
Blue and black can often present a more serious tone, whilst yellows and greens can feel more fun. Red is an authoritative color that can give off a sense of excitement or danger so be careful with its use.
Sites such as this one delve more into color psychology.
If you have employees they should dress the same way. This could involve enforcing a dress code or even implementing a uniform.
Always discuss a dress code beforehand with your staff to get their input so that you’re wearing a uniform that suits everyone.
There are certain fashion tricks that can add to your professional appearance. Along with the obvious rule of staying well-groomed and tidy, it could be worth wearing a watch – this gives a sense of good timekeeping making you appear more organized.
Similarly, polished boots show that you’re willing to put planning into your day and therefore are likely to put extra planning into tasks. An umbrella for the rain can also make you appear more organized.
Does Your Business Look Professional? Check Your Premises
If clients are allowed into your premises, make sure that this is well presented too, as this can have an impact on whether people trust you.
Free up any clutter and give a sense that there is always work going on. It can often be beneficial to have a designated area for clients to go that can be thoroughly cleaned.
You can use color and plants to bring life to the area too, although in some trades you may want to keep a serious tone.
Make sure that the outside of your property doesn’t drive people away. If you own a store, how your premises look from the outside will be of the utmost importance.
There are companies that can help with window shop design and signage. Offices may still want to invest in a sign to give some sense of being an official business to visitors.
The location of your premises can also play a big part in some cases.
If you work from home or have an office in a non-commercial area, you may not have clients coming into your office, but may still need to supply your address.
Virtual addresses can be handy to use on this occasion – all your mail is posted to a prime location and then redirected to your real address so that clients don’t have to know where you’re based.
Does Your Business Look Professional? Check Your Website
A website is usually the clients’ first point of call when finding you online.
Free website builders like WordPress have now made it possible for entrepreneurs to easily create their own websites without coding knowledge. However, a professional touch may still be needed to add a sense of flair and improve navigation.
Your website should clearly tell people what your company is about and should be regularly updated to reflect the business of your business (even if you’re not busy, you want to give this impression).
On top of a good-looking website, it could be worth investing in SEO to improve the rankings on search engines.
People are more drawn to websites that appear near the top of page one on search engines. If your website doesn’t appear until page 10, this won’t look good on your business.
Make sure that your web address also comes across professional in tone. A website with ‘.wordpress.com’ trailing after it looks amateurish.
Does Your Business Look Professional? Check Your Email Correspondences
How you communicate by email should also look professional. Having a digital signature can help to give your emails a professional feel.
If you have to send off invoices, make sure that these are composed professionally – you may want to try these templates. Also, make sure that you’re emailing from a professional email handle (i.e. no ‘hotmail.com’).
Does Your Business Look Professional? Check Your Vehicle
If you have to drive to meet clients, make sure that your vehicle also makes you look credible.
An old battered car won’t do your business any favors, however, a luxury sports car might also suggest that you over-charge clients.
In other words, you want a car in good condition that’s not too showy. Paying to have branding on the side of your car can look very professional.
Vinyl wrapping is the best solution for this as it can be easily removed making it suitable for leased vehicles and well as owned vehicles.
Does Your Business Look Professional? Check Your Brand Identity
The appearance of your overall brand is also important. You should ideally have a logo and a style of your branding that is consistent throughout your marketing, from your website to your signage to your packaging (if you need packaging).
Inconsistent branding could cause potential clients to think that your company is unfocused.
Get help from a professional designer to come up with a brand that stands out and feels right for your market or use specialized agencies that can help you design a unique and effective brand identity.
Does Your Business Look Professional? Summary
If you want your business to look professional and compete equally with the ‘big boys’ of your niche market you need to pay attention to the following issues. In particular, you should take into consideration your:
- dress sense,
- email correspondences,
- brand identity.
These six elements, if used properly, can provide a solid foundation for the growing and development of your business.