In the first of this series we discussed the use of a virtual office to help a home office business look big. Virtual offices provide a professional point of contact through which your clients and business associates view your business.
In this article we will discuss a couple of other ideas that can help a small business look larger and help create a more professional presentation to outsiders.
Get a Website
One of the greatest tools available to all business is that of having a website. In today’s environment it is very difficult to take any business seriously without a professional looking websites. I know one of the first things I do when checking out a potential business associate or client is to go to their website. If it looks good, has solid information about them, I am more confident that I am dealing with a substantive firm. If it looks like it was put together using a template or is a one page wonder, I become skeptical and in many cases won’t go to the next step in developing a business relationship.
Small basic websites are cheap. There is no excuse for not having a good one. If you do not know where to go to get one developed, try elance.com to find a multitude of both local and offshore web developers. Even after finding a developer, you will still need to put some time into making sure the information you provide them about your company is accurate and complete, but it is worth the effort.
Your website should have at least 5 sections:
The home page with your unique selling proposition clearly stated with a call to action
An about us page to tell your story
A contact us page to tell visitors to contact you with a contact form
A product and services page describing your specific products and services and
A site map page so that your visitors can see your whole site in one place.
Of course, you can do more, but if you have at least these 5 sections and a professional design, your image will be that of a serious player in your marketplace.
A Big Phone System for a Small Business
Another great tool that small businesses can use is the use of a virtual phone system. For under $20.00 per month you can turn your phone system into one that sounds and acts like a large office. These systems include:
A Local Telephone number in the city and country of your choice (subject to availability)
2 extensions (addition extension available at $9.99 / month)
Dial by Name Directory
Your own On-Hold Message
Live Call Transfer
Voice messages delivered to your email
Fax messages delivered to your email
Send “Talking E-mails”
To find out more, check out the American Voice Mail site.
Just because you are a home based business doesn’t mean you are not serious about your business. These tips help to show outsiders that that is the case.General , Home Office