Even though we shouldn’t, we all tend to judge things based on how they look. This applies to putting our trust in a company – many of us will look out for signs of professionalism before choosing to part with our money.
There are a number of things that you can do to make your company look professional. Here are just a few different aspects of your company to consider and what you can do to create the right impression.
Your personal appearance
Your personal appearance may not matter much if you conduct all your business on a computer/over the phone. However, if you regularly meet customers in person (or use video messaging), your personal appearance could be vital to consider. It could also be important to consider how your employees present themselves. Here are just some of the things to consider.
Stay clean and tidy
This is the most obvious thing you can do. No matter what you’re wearing, your clothing should be clean, free of creases and a good fit. You should also take steps to stay well-groomed. Messy hair or dirty fingernails will suggest that you don’t care about yourself – and that it’s likely you don’t care about your work.
Match your clothing to the formality
It’s important that your clothing reflects the type of formality that your customers expect. If you dress too casual, you could come across too carefree. If you overdress, you may come across as too conservative (in certain jobs, it could be important to come across as fun or creative). Establishing a dress code could ensure that you and your employees stick to this level of formality.
Consider a company uniform
Sometimes, employees may bend the rules of a dress code – putting in place a uniform can be a way ensuring that everyone dresses appropriately. You can also display a logo or your company name, which can make your company appear more established.
Compose yourself right
Composure is one of the hardest things to get right, but can often make the biggest impact. Your body language needs to suggest confidence and enthusiasm, which could include smiling, standing straight and offering a firm handshake.
Your business premises
If customers regularly visit your premises, you should also make sure that this aspect of your business looks professional. This could be an office in which you conduct meetings with clients or a shop in which you serve customers. Below are just some of the things that can make a premises look professional.
Keep it clean and tidy
Just as your physical appearance should be clean and tidy, so should your premises. Filth and clutter will scare a lot of customers away. Regularly cleaning and decluttering your premises will show that your company is healthy and organized.
Invest in signage
Unless you’re doing top secret government work (in which case, you’re unlikely to be inviting many clients in), having signage outside could be important for welcoming customers and showing that your company is official. You can also use signage to guide people to your car park, reception or to the bathroom. It’s worth paying for professional signage rather than DIYing it.
Know when to repair and revamp
If your premises falls into disrepair, it could suggest that there are parts of your company infrastructure that are also broken. Meanwhile, old-fashioned décor or outdated machinery could suggest out-of-touch practices. Repair damage as soon as you can and take the time to refurbish your premises every few years.
Every modern business needs a website. In some cases, it could be the first component of your business that potential clients see. This too needs to look the part. Here are just some of the ways in which you can make your website look professional.
Get your own domain name
If your site was built using WordPress, you should make sure that your web address doesn’t end in ‘.wordpress.com’ – this could make your company look amateurish. You can buy your own domain name via a domain registrar. Tech Radar lists some of the leading registrars from which you can shop for available domain names.
Use professional photographs
Any photographs displayed on your website need to be good quality. It’s worth hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your products or your team rather than relying on your own camera skills. Be wary of using generic stock photos as countless other company sites may be using these.
Maintain your brand identity
If potential customers are led to your website from flyers, business cards or social media, it’s important that there’s a consistent brand identity. Make sure to use the same fonts, color schemes and logos – otherwise your website could look like it belongs to an entirely different company.
Hire a professional designer
There are lots of small details that can make a site look professional. Hiring a professional web designer could ensure that your site contains these details. Even though you can build a website for free with no coding knowledge using platforms like Wix and WordPress, there’s no guarantee that your site will look good if you haven’t got a professional eye for design.
Your business vehicle
Do you meet or pick up customers in a vehicle? The general appearance of this vehicle could also be important. Here are just some measures that you can take to make your vehicle look professional
Keep it clean and well maintained
Turning up to a job in a dirty and damaged car is not going to fill customers with much trust. If you don’t care about your company assets, it may suggest that you don’t care about your customers either. Try to keep your car clean and repair any visible damage.
Make sure the vehicle is appropriate
The type of vehicle you turn up in can also make an impression. A van tends to come across more professional than a family car if you work in a trade and carry tools. A mistake that some successful tradespeople make it turning up to jobs in a flashy sports car – rather than suggesting to clients that you’re successful, this may suggest that you overcharge.
Consider vinyl wrapping
Vinyl wrapping allows you to display visual branding on your vehicle. This could include your company name, logo and contact details. This can suggest that your vehicle is an official company asset – and that you’re therefore an official company. An advantage of vinyl wrapping is that it can be easily removed, allowing you to sell your vehicle if necessary.
Your contact details
A commonly overlooked element is a company’s contact details. They can sometimes be a giveaway as to whether a company is likely to be big or small. Below are some of the things that you may want to consider when supplying contact details.
Choose a professional email handle
Using a personal email handle like email@example.com can suggest that you’re a small one-man company. A much more professional option is a personalized email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Many email services allow you to personalize your address for free.
Consider a vanity phone number
It could also be worth looking into a vanity phone number. These tend to be more memorable sequences of numbers that look more professional than general phone numbers. You can set up these numbers using the help of companies like Call Cowboy. Prices can vary depending on the area code and memorability of the number.
Consider a virtual address
If you work from home and need to receive physical mail from customers, you may not want to provide your home address. It could be a giveaway that you’re a small home-based company, plus you may not want customers feeling that they can visit you at your address. Outsourcing a virtual address could be a way around this – there are some companies that are based in prestigious commercial areas that can allow you to rent their address. Physical mail can be then sent to this address and redirected to your home address.
Finally, if you have a product to sell, you also need to consider how this is presented. This could include how a meal is served in a restaurant or how a toy looks on the shelf. Even if your product functions perfectly, some people may not buy it if it doesn’t look good. Some measures to take in order to make your product look professional are included below.
Invest in quality packaging
If your product needs packaging, make sure that this is designed and manufactured by a professional company. Good packaging can be essential to the attractiveness of a product – especially when it comes to food products, cleaning products and toiletries.
Prioritize aesthetics during the design stage
When designing your product, think about how it looks. It may not necessarily matter as much as the function, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought either.