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First impressions count: easy tips to transform your small business

The saying goes that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that’s especially true in businesses – including small business. In your personal life it’s sometimes possible to convince someone that you’re a different person from their initial impression, but an SME that creates a negative first image runs risk of leaving the door ajar for competitors and criticism on social media. Here are several ways to reduce the risk of such an occurrence.

 Strong website

Tens of thousands of businesses are found every minute online, through organic and paid searches – and a huge percentage of those experience a bounce rate when people leave immediately. There are multiple reasons, but one of the most common is a poorly-laid out, unattractive website that just screams ‘leave’. Thanks to platforms such as WordPress it’s easy to set up a logical, handsome site in a day or so. As you become more confident you can branch into some of the newer, more exciting products that Google and others have to offer, but for now just concentrate on a strong ‘shop front’.

 Social media presence

How many times have you seen on Twitter or Facebook that an interesting looking business or idea is ‘coming soon’, perhaps through people you’ve never even met? It’s a free form of advertising that will already be finding the right ears and eyes. When the SME is finally launched, social media showing offers, stock, staff, contact numbers, and maybe even short video introductions, instantly gives interested parties a heads-up. Also, if there are any problems, you can answer them quickly and smoothly.

 Employing the right people

Finding that perfect employee when your company is in its embryonic stages is not easy. Unless you’ve got big money behind you, you might not be able to match the salary offered by bigger, more established companies for a similar role.

Even if you can, how do you measure the candidate’s employment potential from a single interview, especially if this is your first role as a boss? Perhaps finding a mentor who can advise on all aspects of the business will lessen the chance of making an error.

But remember – every situation and employee is different, and this is one of those things that you’ll learn with experience. If you can find someone who is eager to learn, with good communication skills and clean references, this is a strong starting point.

 Depth of knowledge

Knowing the trends and competitors relevant to your company will instantly give your communications a level of expertise. One would hope that you researched the market before deciding your small business would be viable, so this knowledge should be easily to hand. When approaching potential clients, advertisers and stockists, an attractive data sheet with key take away messages showing exactly why you are a winning proposition is a good idea. Allied to this is dressing smartly and possessing an air of confidence.

Consistency of branding

A final tip; don’t try to be all things to all men. The tone of voice and branding should be similar or identical across your site, shop front, Ford Transit (or any other vehicle), business cards, uniforms, and anything else that represents you. Don’t deviate from the message about who you are, and what you can achieve.

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024