Most small businesses start life as a side project before eventually becoming the owner’s full-time job. While this allows the owner to hone in on exactly what the company will do, who it’s targeting, and so forth, it can also mean that sometimes the company fails to make the transition to the professional standards expected of a small business. If you’re making the leap into the exciting world of running a small business, make sure you’re keeping the following things in mind.
A Pro Makeover
You can get away with most anything when you’re only running a business as a side gig. All your customers are a bonus at this stage, so you don’t think too hard about how you’re perceived. That’ll all have to change if you are scaling your business up, however. Now, you’ll need to have a website that looks the part. You’ll need to issue receipts (or at least have the capacity to) with your name and logo on the front. You’ll need to have business hours. All the things, essentially, that every other company you come across has as routine, you’ll need to have.
Making it Formal
In the early days, you might have had a pretty relaxed attitude toward all your business operations. Not so anymore; now, you’ll need to make things formal, to draw clear boundaries, and have things down in writing. Small business contracts don’t exist just to make you look more professional. They’re also there to protect you in the event of a dispute. They can be immensely valuable in protecting your business, and as you work up in the business world, you’ll soon discover you’ll want to have that peace of mind.
Your phone number got you so far, but it’s time to retire that for personal calls only and invest in some real, professional contact methods. You can quite easily get your own business phone number. Which would you trust more: a person’s mobile number or one that looks like it’s connected to an office? Additionally, doing things like having online web support, a central office for mail, and hours that you’re open for business will both make you look professional and help you gain the trust of your customers.
The Right Support Systems
You’re only a small business. You don’t have the resources to really compete with the heavyweights, but you can catch them up a little bit by outsourcing some of your important tasks. Think of an IT team, accountant, bookkeeper, and so forth as your support system. You won’t have to pay them a full salary. Instead, you’ll get expert advice only when you need it.
Above all, the thing that’ll determine how professional your company is perceived is you. If you act in a professional manner at all times, then that will naturally flow through the rest of the company. If you’ve so far just been winging it, take a read of how to be more professional and start representing your company the correct way.
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