Sylvie Garvey is founer and owner of Computer Fitness, offering straight-forward and practical IT advice and support to individuals and small businesses.

e: sylvie@computerfitess.net
m: 07775 638325
w: computerfitness.net

How To Look Professional When Starting Up

How to look professional when starting up: The catch 22 of starting up a business is attracting new customers before you have an established track record. It is particularly difficult when your business is a service and you are selling something they can’t see or touch. Creating a professional image can make all the difference, instilling confidence in your clients.

A beautiful website is likely to be at the heart of your marketing, but it will take time to build and you may not have the budget on day one. There are some steps you can take to project the right image even before your website is ready. Here Sylvie Garvey of Computer Fitness shares her experienced advice.

1. Use A Professional Email Adress.
Receiving an email from sarah@sarahjonesinteriors.com is far more professional and reassuring than receiving an email from sarahjones@gmail.com or even sarahjonesinteriors@gmail.com. This may be even more important for securing trade accounts with the suppliers you need than for establishing first clients.

Easily addressed, as soon as you have decided on the name of your company, check that that the domain name is available, purchase and create an email address. The best urls to choose are .com or .co.uk, but if they are in use there are a wide number of alternatives such as .net, .co, .london, .tv etc. But do check that the trademark is available also, and that you aren’t going to run into any legal issues with your company name.

2. Set Up Your Social Media
Social media is likely to be an important part of your marketing but it is also time consuming. Research which is the best social media for your business and limit yourself to the ones that will work best for you. Instagram and facebook are better for visual businesses, twitter for press and news. Linkedin is more for corporate businesses but can be a good way to stay in touch with a wider network.

Once you have decided on the media that suits you, find a name or “handle” that you can use consistently across the media you choose. Then, consistently post good quality images. A good quality instagram feed is an excellent short-term portfolio until your website is ready.

Hootsuite or Buffer are great apps for scheduling your posts at times to suit your customers and managing multi-channels. They can take a little while to get used to but will help you create professional feeds filled with good quality content more easily.

Check your security settings to be sure that your posts always go to the right people and that unwanted communications are blocked.

3. Get Your Hardward in Order.
We have become an impatient and fast-paced society and we expect quick turn-around times to our requests.  Efficiency is associated with professionalism. A good quality computer and phone, set up so that everything is synced, will help.

Purchase the best quality equipment that your budget will allow. If you are going to use skype or zoom check that the laptop comes complete with camera and microphone. In the quest to be light, many companies have removed these from their hardware. It is possible to use an external plug-in microphone but it is not ideal if you are using skype regularly.

Check that you are going to have enough storage space. Images need a lot!

4. Find the best software to help.
There are great software packages available to manage all the interactions you have with your clients to ensure that you look professional and communicate efficiently. It is just a question of sourcing the best tried and tested software and setting up the ones that suit you and your business best.

Many of the best software packages are free to start-ups and depending on your ambitions for growth may never need to be paid for. Mailchimp is popular for sending out newsletters and xero for managing your financial accounts.

5. GDPR. Keep your data secure.
Every business is legally bound to manage their clients data safely and securely. It is prudent and professional to put measures in place to avoid any susceptibilities in accessing data. Good antivirus software should be be installed with carefully considered passwords across all software.

Computer problems are sometimes beyond your control even when following the most professional code of practice and so do make sure that your work is always backed up.

6. Review as you progress.
Businesses tend to grow piecemeal and it can be difficult to keep track of passwords and where your data is stored. It makes sense to have an IT declutter from time to time to keep everything running smoothly and to be sure that you can access the information you need efficiently and securely.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch and I will be happy to help.

Sylvie Garvey