Business owners are, naturally, highly eager to deliver their best work and ensure that their company is as successful and profitable as possible. Alas, while it’s always possible to do things that’ll push a business forward, the truth is that many owners make a couple of fundamental mistakes that compromise the health of their company. Take professionalism, for instance. This is a tricky concept because it’s something that’s understood, rather than something tangible. If a business is going to reach its full potential, then it’s important to make sure that this area of their operations is solid. In many cases, that means simply avoiding the things that can compromise a professional image.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at nine things that’ll do just that — and offer advice on how to overcome them.
A Small Vision
While your company will one day take on a life of its own, remember that whatever grows will have come from you. It’ll be your vision that determines the overall professionalism of the image. One problem that many businesses encounter is that they think too small. Even if you are a small business, you don’t need to think and act like a small business. If you’re able to think bigger about your company, then your business will exude a confidence that brings a professional feel.
Poor Hiring Process
You might always have a professional demeanour when you’re working, but remember that you may not be the only person who represents your business. If you have employees, then they’ll have a big impact, too — indeed, they may, collectively, have a greater influence than you. So it’s important to know that they’ll be putting forward a good foot for your business. This all comes down to two things: your hiring process and your training. Your hiring process will influence the calibre of the people on board, while your training will ensure they know what’s expected of them. Even the best candidates might struggle if they haven’t been trained on what to do.
Low-Quality Digital Presence
You’ll (hopefully) already know that you’ll need to have a website for your website. But it’s not as if you can just put together any old site, and hope for the best. As with all things related to your business, it’ll be the quality of the website that determines how people see your company. There’s a big difference between a website that has been well-designed by a professional company, and one that has just been quickly thrown together. As well as the design of the site, think about things like the quality of the photographs and text. Even a well-designed site will struggle if the images are low resolution and the text contains a lot of typos and grammatical errors.
However, it’s not as if you’ll be able to simply rest on the laurels of your website once it’s finished. One subtle way that company’s compromise their professionalism is by having outdated content on their site. A small aspect of professionalism is showing the world that you’re part of the current world, not stuck in the past — but if all your content is from a couple of years ago, then your visitors will naturally raise eyebrows. Is the company still functioning, or is the site dead? This also applies to your social media channels. It’s always a little sad to see a company Twitter page that hasn’t posted in years.
You’ll have a lot of information on your website about your company, who you are, what you do, and so forth. However, there’ll always be times when customers need to contact you. It’s not just about making your contact information available, either; you also need to make sure that the information is presenting a positive and professional image. Instead of an “@yahoo.com” email address, it should be “Firstname.Lastname@[yourwebsite].com.” It makes a difference. Also, think about the address you’re listing. Instead of listing your home address, work with a company that offers virtual office address services. That way, you’ll be able to get all the benefits of having an enviable physical location, even if you’re still working from home for the time being.
One Person, All Tasks
You’re not going to have the budget or the need to hire people for every task, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be doing them all yourself. It doesn’t look professional if you’re the CEO, receptionist, accountant, and every other role at your company. So take a look at outsourcing some tasks to a third-party company. If you have to narrow it down to just a couple of tasks, consider the ones that are public-facing, such as receptionist duties.
Your reviews are going to be a big part of your digital success. They are, after all, becoming increasingly important, since studies have shown that people trust review recommendations nearly as much as recommendations from their friends and family. While you’ll hope that you get nothing but positive reviews, there’s always a chance that you’ll get negative feedback on occasion. At that point, it’ll be best to stay cool, calm, and collected, and to avoid posting an aggressive reply — even if you know that what they’re saying is wrong. You can reply, and put your point forward, but do so professionally. Anything other than a professional tone will feel good when you write it, but it’ll have a negative impact on how people see your business.
Mixing Business Life With Your Personal Life
Running a business should be fun, but it’s important not to get too carried away — or to begin mixing the personal side of your life with the business side of your life. This applies to all areas of your operations, such as your interactions with your staff and your customers. Also, remember that even if you’re not at the office, you may still be representing your business, especially if you’re driving a company car or have the uniform on. If you live in a smaller neck of the woods, then you may be representing your business at all times, since everyone will know that you’re the owner. As such, it’ll be important to conduct yourself well.
Happy With the Service
Finally, remember that the number one rule when it comes to professionalism is to ensure that the customer is happy with the service. If you go into your business with this desire, then everything else will likely fall into place. In this sense, it’s less about finding ways to improve your bottom line, more about doing things that’ll boost the quality of your service — the increased revenue will follow suit. So how can you make sure that your customers are happy? The first step is to do the best job that you can. The second is to follow up after the transaction has taken place. Do they know how to use the product/service? Has it met or exceeded their expectations? It’s normal to look after number one, which usually means ourselves, but when you’re running a business, number one has to be the customer.
Don’t let your company be dragged down by something that should be in your hands. Take the tips above, and you’ll be able to present a watertight image to the public. Indeed, once you’ve done all of these things, you’ll naturally find that you feel more secure in your company, and that your customers are happy — and that they’re greater in number, too.