Making a good first impression in business start-up phase

With start-ups popping up quicker than you can say ‘work for yourself’, small businesses are a fast-growing breed. Quite often, whilst the plan is to set up the business in dedicated premises, get a great brand identity and website, employ staff and grow, getting there can sometimes be a slower process than anticipated and with barriers such as cash flow and funding, this can be made even slower.

So in those early days of set-up when trying to establish a customer or client base, it’s easy to forget about making a good first impression in the start-up ‘fever’ that can often take hold. It’s all about appearances, and keeping them up mightn’t be as difficult as first thought.

Get social behind the scenes – there’s a lot that can be done behind the scenes that can be put into place quickly when the time is right to help position a business at the right end of professional. Brands and businesses of all shapes and sizes understand the power of social media, so setting up some social channels, and working to create a good bank of content to upload when the business launches, will ensure the channel looks established rather than new and light on content. Social media is an excellent way of conveying brand values and ethos from the word go. This can be on popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, or by setting up a company blog page to contribute to regularly.

Networking tools – getting along to local networking events is a great way to get the business name out there, but often start-ups are put off by the set up costs – not just a networking club membership fee but the expense of investing in impressive stationery and business cards to catch the eye. With brand identity creation not usually being a particularly cheap exercise, a good option to start off are Moo Cards, which are very cost-effective. Moo Cards allows the creation of customised business cards, which come in a range of innovative shapes with nice touches such as rounded corners or mini cards to stand out from the crowd. Small print runs can be bought from professionally designed templates and because of this, the card could be tailored to the event or audience, for a really bespoke feel that will stand out a mile from other generic business cards.

Professional communications – separating work from personal communication methods is crucial to creating a good impression. Getting a separate business phone line (for those working from home), a PO box rather than personal address and a ‘proper’ email address i.e. not Gmail or Yahoo, is an important first step. There are business services offered by the likes of Office 365 for Business, providing subscription options for email, that means there’s really no excuse for using an old Hotmail account!

Arrive in style – in the absence of a car that isn’t likely to conk out outside a client’s premises, forcing the undertaking of an undignified vehicle pushing session, it’s best to park down the road or take the train – using the downtime on public transport for work to make the day even more productive! Even in the early days where money is tight, investing in a good quality suit or at least donning a fresh, well-ironed shirt and tie, will do the job.