By Yaniv Masjedi, Vice President of Marketing, Nextiva
You’re an early stage entrepreneur (read: no employees yet), and you want to go up
Yes, you do. Here are four ways to legitimize your company in the eyes of potential customers.
1.) Hire a professional website designer. A professionally designed website is of utmost importance in establishing a company’s credibility. While it may seem like an indulgent expense when starting out, the payoff can be huge. Consider the last time you researched a company online before calling. When choosing between two options, did the perceived professionalism/readability/attractiveness of the company’s site have anything to do with your final decision? The answer for most people is yes.
Creating a professionally designed site doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Try networking with small business owners in your area to get a few names of design companies. If the price is still too high, consider posting an advertisement at a local college or university. Chances are good that you’ll soon find an eager student with impressive design skills in need of beefing up his or her portfolio for a low cost. I also recommend checking out sites such as HostGator, iPage and Bluehost.
When registering your site online, make sure to create an appropriate domain name, not one with “.wordpress.com” (or the like) at the end of it. A professional domain can do a lot for your company’s credibility and search engine optimization (or SEO). It can sometimes cost more money to get the domain you want, but it is worth it.
2.) Professionalize your email addresses (yes, plural). Your company may consist of just you right now, but in the future (hopefully soon) you will be able to hire more staff. Ready yourself for your future success by using a professional email address. Many email services allow companies to include a business name after the “@” in an email address. Make sure to opt for your company name rather than accepting and sending messages from “@comcast.com” or “@gmail.com.”
From there, create multiple email addresses that compartmentalize departments in your business. For HR inquiries, establish an HR-specific email address. The same goes for sales requests, and so on. Even if every email is forwarded to you, it will still make your company seem more established than it is.
3.) Invest in a phone system. A business phone system is incredibly important when building the credibility of your business. I recommend opting for a cloud-based provider that allows you to record a professional message and route calls to different numbers. Cloud-based systems also allow users to forward calls to mobile phones.
When recording your professional greeting, make sure to use the word “we’” in describing your business, not “I.”
4.) Spend time on social media. Every business needs a robust presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Spend time establishing these accounts and posting regularly. Dedicate an hour a day to monitoring comments and try to respond to every post or Tweet.
If this sounds overwhelming, give Nuvi a try. It is a social media app that allows business owners to monitor multiple accounts on one screen. The more active your company is on social media, the more credible it will appear to potential customers.
Yaniv Masjedi is the vice president of marketing at Nextiva (@Nextiva), a leading provider of cloud-based, unified communication services. In his role, Yaniv manages the firm’s marketing and branding efforts by working to create strategies that drive awareness, strengthen the Nextiva brand and share the story of the company’s unique customer-centric culture (dubbed “Amazing Service”). Keep up with Yaniv on Twitter @YanivMasjedi.