If you’re a small business that is capable of providing the same services that larger companies provide, there’s no reason you not to go after bigger clients. Once you’ve given your confidence a boost, it’s time to give your professional image a boost.
Many small business owners believe they don’t get bigger contracts because they are small. Not true. In fact, they often don’t land the business because they don’t look professional enough to do the job.
If you want buyers to have confidence in you, ensure your image projects your commitment to doing a professional, quality job.
A great place to start is with email. Here’s the quick list:
- Use a proper email address. That means creating an email address that aligns with your website URL, not using GMail, Yahoo or your local cable provider’s email account. My motto: If you use a Yahoo email account for business, you ARE a yahoo!
- Use a proper email signature. Include your name, title, company name, and a phone number where you can be reached. After a couple of replies, it’s okay to shorten things but anyone you email should only have to go back to your latest email to find your phone number, not search through countless emails and/or their contact list.
- Have a consistent email signature. Everyone in your company should be using the same email signature template, it’s part of your brand. Anything less indicates you may be haphazard in other areas of your business. Is that the impression you want to leave?
- Be concise in your communications. We’re all busy people, so no one has time to read to the bottom of the page to find out what you want. Spit it out! And keep it brief — there’s way less room for misunderstanding. If you need action, say so up front and if you need more than one action, use a numbered or bullet list.
- Leave the drama at home. We should all know this, but it bears repeating: if you are fussed about something, think twice before sending a heated memo. Nasty emails leave a very long-lasting bitter taste that’s hard to get over, not to mention they are very easily forwarded far beyond the reach intended.
- Keep it professional and friendly. But not too friendly. Email IS professional communications these days and it has a less formal, less rigid structure than traditional written correspondence, which is a good thing. Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean that courtesy and decorum are no longer necessary.