In today’s fast-paced world, small business owners are even more hyper-connected and overloaded with information, choices, and distractions. One of the hardest things to determine is whether you’re on the right path or not. Great work requires taking risks. Couch Sessions offers practical information, new perspectives and quick tips to help point you in the right direction.
Are you a struggling, frustrated or just inquisitive small business owner? Got a question you just can’t seem to find the answer for? Please submit your small business questions here. Be sure to bookmark and check this page each week, your question and the reply could appear right here in “Couch Sessions” for entrepreneurs and small business owners. This week on Couch Sessions…
A question I often receive from my clients is, “How do I take my business to the next level (appearing to be more experienced, higher level, etc.) even though, I am just starting?” Rita Morales, www.brainygirldesigns.com
First impressions will always take precedence. You have folks who have been in business for years, but by the looks of their website, business cards, personal appearance, etc. you wouldn’t think it were so. Then you have people who have a professional appearance, website, business cards, office, etc. and yet, their practices and policies are horrible.
Be true to who you are. It’s okay that you are a new business. Everyone had to start somewhere. What’s important is how your present yourself and your brand. Just because you are a small business, doesn’t mean you have to think, act or look like one. Make sure your brand image is professional and consistent across the board (i.e. website, business cards, personal appearance, documents, voicemail, emails, etc.). Make sure your processes, systems and client service are clean, clear and professional. Streamline where you can, use automation where you can, but don’t skimp on client service. Use the best that is available for what you can afford. As you grow, reinvest in your business (better technology, virtual assistant, low-cost/hi-return marketing, etc.)
Is it time to network in a bigger circle? Sometimes we have to change our circle of influence. You never want to be the smartest person in the room. Where are the people who are at the next level of business for you? Mingle your way into that circle. Ask for introductions. Invite someone you admire (who is at the next level) to lunch and just share some of your goals and aspirations. Ask them how they may be able to help you achieve some of them. Is there a local organization that could use your services? I mean really use your services? (i.e. look for outdated websites for local businesses that have been around a while, but haven’t kept up with the times). Find out who the decision maker would be, get a meeting, prepare a short presentation with a clear set of benefits (not features), have some samples and testimonials handy and make it happen!
Being professional is more than a look; it’s how you conduct yourself and business. Set your standards high and keep them there. Expect more from yourself and the people you work and surround yourself with. Know what your purpose is, establish a set of principles and core values, determine your priorities and practice them daily. That will speak more to being and appearing professional than anything else.
CORRECTION: The question was submitted by Rita Morales on behalf of her clients.
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Simplicity expert, A.Michelle Blakeley is the source for understanding and knowing how to align your purpose, principles and priorities with simple practices. She masterfully delivers the right information with step-by-step guidance. What’s good for you is good for your business. As a result, her clients are holistically and authentically operating their business and experiencing energized realities. Connect with her on twitter at @simplicityinc or read through her new online magazine, Micro Business Therapy.