In the initial stages of business, the experience is akin to plugging a bucket full of holes. There are so many different areas you need to have your finger on at once that it seems inevitable that something will slip, but you just about managing to keep the main part as it should be.
If things get difficult, then it’s tempting to let the small holes seep their water – after all, they’re not the major contributors, but little things. Little things that can be left for awhile until you have the time to work on coming up with a permanent solution.
The problems begin to mount up when you leave so many of those little holes uncovered, that the cumulative effect of them is still enough to drain your business dry.
One such ‘small hole’ that can be easy to overlook is professionalism. Professionalism is a veneer; it’s a perception that you need to make reality. If your business doesn’t have a professional appearance and way of handling itself, then it can lose you a lot of money. Other companies won’t be as attracted to working with you on a business-to-business basis; customers may shy away in concern over how well your company is being run. So how can you keep the professionalism hole plugged, without it taking over everything else you are trying to achieve?
Delay Everything Until 100% Ready
If you’re launching the website for your startup with ‘under construction’ pages, then you’ve got a problem. Don’t ever unleash anything to do with your fledgling business into the public view until it’s perfect. It’s better to delay and hold off on announcements and new strategies than to appear to be only giving them half of the attention they need.
Ground Yourself Geographically
Despite the fact that the internet and cellphones have made remote working a viable choice for millions of people, there is still a part of us that doesn’t quite trust it. While it’s more reasonable than ever to begin your business from your home, it’s not necessarily a step that all consumers will be supportive of. At the very least, you should be thinking to rent an office address and ensure you have a separate business landline – even if you have it set up to divert calls to your cell. There’s something about these geographical baselines that convinces people you’re the real deal.
Unless you’re never going to be meeting other businesses and clients face-to-face, you need to be mindful of your appearance. If you spend your working day at home in your PJs without a comb so much as glancing at your hair, that’s fine. When you take things on the road, you need to dress appropriately. Smart clothes; well-coiffured hair; whatever it takes to project an image of someone who is in charge and professional to the hilt. As a general rule, if you couldn’t imagine a business manager going to work in your outfit, then you need to rethink it.
While there’s so much to think about during the early years of a startup, getting the appearances right is still well worth your time. By following the steps above, you should have a firmer grasp on all the ways you can project professionalism from day one of your business venture.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.