First impressions are crucial and can make or break any potential business relationship. It’s human nature to make snap judgements based on the first impressions that we encounter in any sort of situation.
Why do people spend so much time preparing themselves for a job interview or a first date? It’s because they know, instinctively, that they will be judged on that first meeting. If a person shows up on a first date without showering, or showing any effort to make themselves look presentable, he or she will be judged to be lazy or not worth the time of the other party. Likewise if someone shows up to a job interview late and with numerous excuses (even if they’re legitimate) they will be judged to be unreliable and may miss out on the opportunity.
What does this mean for your small business? Small businesses are subject to first impression biases as well. A bad first impression can be the beginning of a death sentence for a small business. Fortunately if you keep these three key areas in mind you’ll be well on your way to making a great first impression.
1. Your Address Matters
Do you think potential clients won’t recognize a residential address on your business card? You can bet that most people, especially locals, will recognize a residential address when they see one. This is particularly important if you are a local business. The moment a potential client realizes that your business is run from your home they will dismiss you.
So what’s the answer? Lease an office space in an inexpensive and potentially shady area of town so that at least it will be a commercial address? Not exactly. Just as most people will recognize a residential address they will also recognize when a business is in a not-so-great area. It is very important to project a professional and established image when making a first impression. This is a where a virtual office can be the perfect option. Not only can you get a prestigious business address but you can use the facility only when you need it.
2. The Right Meeting Place
Having the right place to meet potential clients and customers is crucial. Meeting at their office or at a coffee shop can only work for so long, but sooner or later you’ll need a professional facility to establish a more solid relationship with your client. If your office facility is outdated, in a bad area, or is simply your basement you will lose an immense amount of credibility.
This is another area where a virtual office can take your business to the next level. Not only will your clients be able to meet with you at a prestigious location, but you will have access to all of the most up to date equipment and all the needed amenities to put your best foot forward.
3. Who’s Answering Your Phone?
Answering your business’ phone yourself, or worse yet having your personal cell phone double as your work number, is a sure fire way to out yourself as an amateur. It might be an unfair judgement but clients expect to call a business and speak to a secretary or someone other than the owner. This projects a measure of professionalism that can’t be attained any other way.
Think you can’t afford office staff or a full time receptionist? Don’t worry; a virtual office can be the answer to this problem as well. A virtual office will provide a receptionist to answer your phone with your company’s name as well as call-transfer and an inbound fax number.
Make sure your business is projecting a great first impression to all your potential clients. Consider a virtual office to help take your business to the next level.