Does your Small Business Look Legit?
One of our biggest fears as small business owners is that our business will not appear professional and legit to our ideal client or customers. When you are first starting out your business you may need to be scrappy and do many things yourself but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your business look legit without breaking the bank. There are several things you can do to make sure that your brand, website, advertising and marketing look professional (even if it’s all diy).Here are 5 mistakes I see small businesses making and an easy solution for each. Let’s dig in!
Mistake #1 Your small business may look unprofessional if…
You do not have a custom domain name for your website.
If you are using a hosting/blogging service such as Typepad or Wix the name of the platform will appear in your domain making it long and not as easy to search or remember. Acquiring a domain name sounds super difficult but the reality is that it only takes a few minutes and it’s usually pretty darn easy to redirect your website to that custom name.
To easily search available domain names and purchase the domain you can use a service such as godaddy.com. It will allow you to search your business name and it will let you know which domain names are available. Try to purchase a domain name ending in .com - while other names like .net may be available you customer may become confused. Most people assume a business domain name will end in .com.
Most domain names cost between $10-$15 annually. It’s a fairly small investment for something that could make a big impact on your business!
Mistake #2 Your small business may look unprofessional if…
You do not have a custom e-mail address for your business.
I have to admit that I cringe when I look at a business e-mail address and it bears the name of yahoo and gmail on the end. The only thing you are achieving with that address is advertising for THOSE companies. Your business will appear more professional if you can create e-mail addresses that are hosted by your domain name.
For example, for my brick and mortar business graced we use the website gracedhome.com. We then created e-mail addresses using that website. So, my personal contact address is email@example.com. For info we created a more generic address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you get your domain name set up you can create your own e-mail address using Google business tools. The process is VERY simple and the cost? Only $5 a month for each address. The cost of one fancy coffee drink! Again it is a very small investment that yields big results. Imagine how awesome it will feel when you get your business cards printed with your custom domain name and e-mail address, you are on your way to big things!
Mistake #3 Your small business may look unprofessional if…
Your branding is inconsistent.
I could write probably a 100 different blog posts about branding your small businesses but we are going to keep this super simple. Before you start doing your own branding and design work for marketing or advertising you need to have a simple plan in place. Nothing makes a brand look like a hot mess more than a website, business card or brochure created using 8 different fonts, 9 different colors (and not the same across all advertising) and inconsistent messaging.
We can’t all be branding experts and let’s face it, graphic design services can be an expense you just can’t afford when starting your business. But, with a little bit of planning and staying consistent you can make your diy brand look professional. Here are just a few tips to help keep your brand looking legit…
-Stick to 2-3 brand colors and use those colors consistently, if you feel like you need an accent color try to choose just one
-Choose just 2-3 fonts and use them across your branding, choose a font for headers, one for subtitles and one for paragraphs and use them consistently throughout your website and advertising
-Keep it simple. Try to avoid looking too cluttered or providing too much information. Think about the client who will be viewing your website or advertising and then choose the content that is necessary to attract and inform your ideal client
Mistake #4 Your small business may look unprofessional if…
You are using low quality images.
If you have a limited budget when starting your business (it's ok, seriously we all have been there!) professional photography is probably not a priority but using low quality, unprofessional images can really hurt your ability to attract the right clients or customers.
Start by using stock photography. Just a few years ago stock photography was expensive and kind-of cheesy but it has come a long way! There are some excellent websites that offer trendy stock photography images at really reasonable prices. Even as a photographer I use sites such as Creativemarket.com when I am short on time and need high quality images.
I would also highly recommend Death to Stock Photo. They offer a huge library of on trend images that cover a wide variety of topics and creative businesses.
Mistake #5 Your small business may look unprofessional if…
You are neglecting your social media profiles.
When starting your small business it is so tempting to sign up for every social media platform out there because more is better, right? Well, not really. What's the point of having a business Twitter account when you never tweet? Or an Instagram account that you never post images on? If people do follow you on social media you want to be connecting and engaging with them consistently.
Choose only one or two social media platforms to start. Once you create consistent habits around posting you can consider adding another platform but keep in mind that NOT every social media is the right platform for connect with your ideal client.
IS YOUR BUSINESS COMING ACROSS AS UNPROFESSIONAL?
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO FIX IT?