SMBs must convey a professional image to thrive

Wednesday 31 July 2013

As small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) aim to attract new customers and drive revenue, conveying a professional image can be important.

In an article for SmallBusiness.co.uk, Ed Reeves highlighted a number of ways SMBs can achieve this goal, and without breaking the bank.

He said that when it comes to building a business, "image is everything", since customers get a sense of reassurance and safety when dealing with an established firm with a good reputation.

Mr Reeves, co-founder of Penelope, told the news provider that virtual offices, call handling services, marketing and website tools, and social media can all play a part in creating the right impression with customers.

Virtual offices are particularly beneficial for micro-businesses which start in the home, he suggested.

"Advertising a home address on invoices, business cards and a website doesn’t instil confidence," Mr Reeves noted.

He said that having a prestigious address makes the business seem much larger than it is.

"If you can’t afford the rent or don’t need a full-time office, using a registered mailing address or virtual office gives you all the benefits of a city address at a fraction of the cost," the business owner urged.

Similarly, call handling services - where companies outsource telephone answering services to digital receptionists - can make an SMB look like a much larger entity than it really is.

Mr Reeves said that interactive voice response tools, where callers are given options on which area of the business they want to communicate with, can make the same impression.

"A missed call is a missed opportunity," he noted. "So it’s imperative that customers and potential customers have the best experience possible from the first-touch point with your business."

Having a fully-functioning website can also help, Mr Reeves claimed, as consumers can access the company from any location.

SMBs can use business-friendly tools for targeted advertising, web hosting and ecommerce to assume the guise of a bigger company, he suggested.

And at the same time, they should probably be on social media, Mr Reeves suggested.

"Not being active on appropriate social media channels is a lost opportunity, because if you aren’t involved, chances are your competitors are," he told the news provider.

"For consumer-facing businesses, Facebook and its advertising mediums can be a great way to reach targeted audiences."

Find out how Microsoft tools can help you market your SMB to customers more effectively.

Posted by Jenny Arthur