When you’re looking to make your mark in the business world, either with potential clients, suppliers or investors, the first impression that anyone making contact with your business receives makes a lasting impact on the way your company is perceived.
There are several ways in which that impression can be made. The way you and other representatives of your business appear when people meet with you face to face is an important part of your overall image, but those people with whom you meet directly may be relatively limited in the first instance, particularly if you’re just starting out as a sole trader or small business owner. The main ways in which people are likely to contact any fledgling business will be by telephone or post, and the experience of doing so will move anyone outside your business to form a view, positive or otherwise. That’s why it’s vital to get that first contact right.
What’s in a name?
Many companies just starting out operate on minimal capital investment and in whatever way can keep costs and outlay small. That means that for the vast majority of small businesses, the most sensible place to start out is in the home.
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The trouble with that is the impression that is made when handing over contact details to potential clients or investors. A home business, while economically the most cost-effective in the first instance, doesn’t give the impression of professionalism or establishment on a firm footing. Whether consciously or otherwise, people tend to place judgement on a business handing over details of a private residence as the registered address of a company and that judgement isn’t always positive.
One way to get around this problem is by using a postal redirection service. Several virtual office providers like http://www.touchdownanswers.co.uk/ will offer this service to clients who are looking for a business address that will impress their customers. While many of these operate PO Box numbers, which also give the impression of a fly-by-night operation, some now offer the option for businesses to simply list their business name and the address of the office building where the virtual office service is based. This offers the right kind of impression and with mail forwarded the same day, there is little delay in the process of receiving your post.
The value of professionalism
While postal addresses are one give-away of a home business when you’re trying to create a corporate impression, another is providing only a mobile phone number for business contact. This can also be judged as the mark of a new business or one that’s not terribly secure and can detrimentally impact on the perception of your operation.
It helps with first impressions if your receptionist isn’t a monster…
Offering a land line phone number is a good option, but only if you know that it’s going to be answered. The last thing you want is to give out your home number if you know that you’ll be out and about all day and calls from potential clients will be missed. Virtual office services can also provide call answering services to a central number from as little as £20 per month subscription plus the time receptionists spend on a call. Every telephone call is flagged for your business and answered promptly and professionally by someone who quotes your business name and will take a message for you. Messages can be sent on by email or text for speedy response, leaving your caller with a professional image of your operation and you with all the information you need.
Virtual office services can offer a vital range of services to new businesses working on becoming established. For a very reasonable price, postal forwarding and telephone answering can give the kind of professional appearance from which your business will benefit and give you the freedom to get out and do what you do best.
Image Credits: llee_wu and DoNotLick