Is Your Small Business Image Losing You Money?

Small Business Image

Small businesses can be between a rock and a hard place when it comes to getting their names out there. A lack of financial means is often the problem – you just don’t have the budget to compete against the bigger players in your industry.

Another major issue is your company’s image. You are a small business – but you don’t want to look like a small business. Your image is everything when it comes to doing deals and finding customers. And, that puts you under a lot of pressure to spend some time developing your image, so you appear as professional as you are.

With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at a few of the most important things that prospects will take a mental note of when you approach them. And make no mistake about it – each of them is important, even on a subconscious level. Image building has to be an investment, even if it’s a small one. Focusing on these critical areas when you are just starting out will help you find better prospects. Let’s get started.

Business cards

Let’s kick things off with something simple – business cards. If you are talking to someone about business and you don’t have a card, it’s an instant red flag. Your prospect will wonder why you don’t have one – because every business owner should. Not only that, but your cards should look great. Far too many small business owners try to save a little money by using free templates, which just don’t have any impact. So, first of all, you should get your business cards professionally designed. Include all of your details on there, from your website through to email, and phone number through to social media channels. You never know who might call you a few months down the line after handing them a card.

Spelling and grammar

You might not think that spelling and grammar will have much of an impact on your image. But it does. People will question your credibility if your site or brochure is full of mistakes. Not only will your image take a kicking, but you’ll lose sales, too. In fact, correcting grammar mistakes could increase your revenue by as much as 100% – which is worth a lot to your business, no matter what you sell.

Office image

Office space

As a small business, you have no chance of competing with all singing, all dancing offices of your larger competitors. In fact, as a freelancer, you might not even have an office at all. More businesses than ever are starting out in people’s homes, which is causing a big image issue. Meeting in a coffee shop isn’t ideal so you might have to be a little more creative if a client wants to visit you. Organisations such as www.yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk and others might be of help. Services like these allow you to rent out meeting rooms – and can even give you a more credible address. It’s cheaper than renting an office and gives your image a much more professional sheen than bringing people into your home.

suit business

Dress

Like it or not, people will judge you on your appearance. It is critical, then, that you dress appropriately for your industry. Let’s say you are an accountant – or a financial advisor. While other industries might get away with dressing down, when people are talking money they want to see someone in full business gear. It’s pure psychology – and it is critical. First impressions really do make a difference. You will find you turn more prospects into clients when you dress better.

Etiquette

The way you treat and speak to people will also have an enormous impact on how they see you. Make sure you are aware of how you appear to others – not just the words you say but also your body language. As www.worketiquette.co.uk point out, it can really make a big difference to your sales. Greet people warmly and with confidence. Allow your clients to talk to you – and listen to them! You should be spending time hearing what your customers have to say, and they will expect you to frame your talking points as a response. If a customer outlines their problem and you offer a solution to something that doesn’t address their issue, how do you think that will play out? Finally, if you are meeting a client on their territory, be respectful and friendly with everyone – not just the decision maker. Word will get around if you are rude or ignorant of others in the building. People talk – make sure they have positive things to say about you.

Office meeting

Websites

The Internet provides your business with a wonderful opportunity to make more sales. But at the same time, a poor website can do more harm than good. If you look unprofessional, untrustworthy, or careless, people will be less likely to risk spending money with you. It’s as simple as that. Spelling is important, of course – as we mentioned above. But you should also focus on the customer’s experience, and ensure your site flows properly. While spending a fortune on your website is unnecessary, you should be prepared to fork out a little. Using a free website template might be a good starting point, but the sooner you get professional help, the better.

Social media

Social media can also be a help – or a hindrance – to your professional image. While it’s a great opportunity to develop a robust and loyal customer base, there are many dangers and pitfalls you might experience. You will need to invest time, money, or both to ensure your tone of voice is consistent. You’ll need to respond to people’s comments, and also face up to complaints and angry customers. Don’t fear negativity, however, – how you respond is often more important to your image than the initial charge. Finally, keep your message consistent and on-point. Make sure people know what you are about straight away, and you should be able to build a more focused audience.

We hope these tips help you see the value of improving your small business image. Feel free to discuss or comment on any of the points raised below.

You’re Fired! Serious Personal Issues That Could Kill Your Career

You might think that you can keep your personal life and your business life separate. For the most part, that’s true. But in some cases, a personal issue could cause you to lose your job or make you less hirable. Essentially, there are some occurrences in life that push you off your career track and into the unemployment line. Let’s look at some of these problems and how to handle them.

 

Criminal History

If you have a history of arrests you might as well wear handcuffs to your interview. There is absolutely no way that you’ll get hired. Particularly because these days most employers run background checks on potential candidates. It does depend on the crime but even small criminals acts will be judged and could prevent you getting your dream job. For instance, you might have a DWI offense on your record. Assuming you didn’t hit anyone, you may not think that’s a big deal. Unfortunately, it is to employers, and they could see you as a liability. If you’re looking for a DWI lawyer, you must make sure you find one of the best firms. Otherwise, you might end up with a mark on your permanent record that won’t be easy to hide. You should always try and prove your innocence when you’re charged with a crime like this. Or, work to have your record expunged.

 

Poor Credit

Your credit history is accessible to anyone who is interested in your finances, and that includes a future employer. Again, they might check this as part of a background exploration. If you have a poor credit, it does paint a rather negative picture of you as a potential employee. It shows that could be unreliable and you may even struggle to get a basic job. After all, employers will assume that people with poor finances are more likely to try and steal money. They will assume you are in a desperate situation and it could prevent you getting a job such as operating a till.

 

Appearance

Employers can be superficial and will judge you based on your appearance. Particularly, if you are applying for a job that will involve you representing the company by interacting with customers. If employers think you are poorly presented, you will need to work to cover up your appearance. This might include taking out piercings or covering tattoos. Generally speaking, employers are becoming more accepting of these style choices. But, there are plenty of businesses that will avoid hiring employees with this type of mark on their body.

 

Embarrassing Profiles

Last but not least, you need to think about your online footprint. You must make sure there is nothing online related to you that could embarrass a business. This might include social media posts, online videos or forum memberships. Anything like this should be private or deleted, particularly when applying for a high profile position at a business.

If you take this advice on board, you can avoid or fix personal issues that will kill your career.

The Real Secrets Behind Constant Wealth Growth

There’s certainly a lot of information out there on how to grow your wealth. Different people promote strategies and moves that completely contradict one another. Individual investments and how you choose them are a form of art. Your overall strategy to grow your wealth, however, shouldn’t be. Here, we’ll lay down the rules for constant growth from now into the far future. Keep the following tips in mind when you’re taking your first, or next, step in building your wealth.

 

Set defined goals

It’s time to redefine what wealth means to you and what it can do for you. If you don’t have any goals in how you build on your money, it can be easy to lose focus. So it’s time to start defining goals. For example, consider setting an amount that would see you living comfortably through retirement. For most savvy people, this isn’t all that difficult. After securing your future, individual goals come next. Do you want a further nest egg? Is there a home or a car you want? Or perhaps you’re building up towards a particular investment? From there, it’s about setting personal milestones. Set realistic amounts for much you’ll invest each month.

 

Stop putting off your future

Those realistic amounts are important. Because those are what gets you acting now and not later. A lot of people put off investing because they believe they’re not earning enough. It’s important to make sure you have enough for groceries. But by paying yourself first, even a tiny amount, you’re ensuring that not all of your money is simply disappearing. Regardless of how much you’re earning and spending, you need to set aside a portion of your money for long-term plans. Before long, you’ll have enough to start finding investments. Believe it or not, going on the markets doesn’t have to be overly expensive. There are lots of investments you can make with even a little money.

 

Start eliminating your bad habits

We’re all told that it’s permissible to allow certain bad habits. We hear ‘it’s your money, do what you want with it’ too often. It’s not untrue, but it’s not a helpful thing to say. As your budget grows and your income increases, those habits are all too easy to exacerbate. You spend more money on a lifestyle and possessions that you think will make you happy. All the while, you’re continuing to put off your future. It’s worth learning to live a little more frugally. You don’t have to have a life devoid of luxuries. But you should be scaling your investing with your income, not expenditures. Get a handle on your own spending before it becomes a problem.

 

Remember that cash is king

One of the worst habits that people have is treating their credit options like it’s an asset. Yes. An overdraft and credit cards can be very useful. But they are not part of your net worth. They are not something you can use willy-nilly. Overreliance on your credit is something that should be curbed. It can be useful to get a loan that can help you with a big investment like a home or a business. But treating it like your piggy bank means building more restrictions on your wealth. It’s only an effective tool for building wealth if you’re guaranteed to pay it back. So, don’t use it as temporary spending money. Otherwise, it can be what ruins your finances.  As Huffington Post will tell you, it’s possible to go without using credit at all.

 

Invest in what you know

When you build up your investing money, it’s easy to want to jump into the real money. To get into Forex and stocks and markets that you know have huge potential. But it’s also dangerous. If you leap without looking, you’ll have a much harder time mitigating risk. It’s a good idea to start by investing in what you know. Look at local businesses that could use a cash injection. You might even want to start your own. Or you could look into setting foot on the property market. What’s important is that you start with things you can understand.

 

But study new markets, too

At the same time, you want to explore your options. You might have a talent for the stock markets or for currency investing. To grow truly adept at investing, you have to treat it like a full-time job. As with most disciplines, that means you have to go to school, first. Spend your spare time studying about investing. Not only in markets that you don’t know but get to know the subtleties of the markets you’re already in. Nowadays, it’s easy to find tutorials for beginners in all kinds of markets. Some of them even offer demo accounts so you can try your hand at trading before you actually start putting any money in. It’s not fool-proof, but it is a handy way to practice.

 

Don’t lean too heavily on one side of your portfolio

The primary reason that looking into new markets should be part of your day-to-day is because you want to split up your investments. When all of your money goes into one pot, your future success is tied entirely to it. Sometimes, if that investment is out of your control, this can mean huge losses. Yes, that also means it can turn out huge gains. But it’s not an effective strategy for growing your wealth. Diversify your portfolio. Splitting your investment money into different opportunities is a lot more effective. That way, your gains on one trade won’t be affected by some losses in another. Even if you think you’ve discovered a brilliant investment, resist the urge to dump all your money into it.

 

Pay attention to the news

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking out for those opportunities. By paying attention to the performances of companies and the news around them, you can get a good idea of how the market will react. As you can see online at Money Morning, following the news on Facebook highlights exactly how its value continues to skyrocket. Even when, at a surface glance, it looks like it has peaked. You have to learn to start diving deeper into the news. The same goes for currencies, too. You need to pay attention to national news to get an idea of how the markets are going to react.

 

But don’t take it as gospel

What you shouldn’t do, however, is jump the gun. There are all kinds of advisors and pundits online who will tell you the opposite. People who will tell you ‘now is the time to buy’ as soon as news comes out. For one, you can never be sure of the impartiality of financial advisors and pundits unless you’re paying them yourself. You don’t know their motivations. In the best case scenario, they can sensationalize news just like any media outlet. The financial markets fall victim to all kinds of hype and scaremongering. What looks like doom for a currency or a miracle for a stock can even out before you know it. For example, when new tech hits the market, it usually shoots right up. As it proves unprofitable, however, it bottoms out. You have to be careful of the effects of overreaction.

 

Choose different income-building strategies

It’s also important to not rely too heavily on investing, period. Sure, it’s the most effective way of building wealth when it works. But you need to lay yourself some security in case your efforts don’t turn out too well. You need to build towards your savings and your fixed investments, too. You need to prepare for retirement through other means. Again, diversifying is the key to a reliable approach for growing and protecting your money. Saving is a better way to deal with debt and to build an emergency fund, for instance. Your methods need to change based on your goals.

 

Control your emotions

It’s easy to get emotional over money, we realize. Your gut feeling isn’t always the most reliable source of executive decision making, however. This goes for the positive and negative reactions you have. If you win big on an investment, don’t think of that as an opportunity to buy high. You’re just putting your newly won money in a terribly risky situation. Similarly, don’t start selling everything if one of your investments take a hit. Look to see if you can identify and long-running trend. As we said, lots of big movements on the markets even out pretty quickly. Letting panic get the best of you is an easy way to lose more on an investment than you should.

The tip that should prioritized above all the rest is the sheer importance of actually putting the time in. It’s not enough to think and to research. Even if you don’t see any investment opportunities worth pouncing on, keep building that investment fund. Otherwise, more of your hard earned money is going down the drain when it could be contributing to your future.