First impressions are lasting impressions, especially in business. It used to be that the first impression of your business was when you either met a potential customer for the first time or they came by your establishment. Well a lot has changed! You might be making an impression without even knowing it thanks to the internet.
The Business Card
Now days everyone has a business card. People hand them out like they are giving away free money. People have all kinds of important titles like CEO/President/Owner on the same card. What that says to me is that you must have a small organization if you have to be all those people.
On top of that, after listing themselves as CEO/President/Owner their email address is bjones at gmail.com. They don’t even have a proper business email address.
Use a business card for what it was intended. A way for someone to contact you after an initial meeting. It should be simple and contain the following;
Your Professional Name (not Bob “The Duke” Jones)- You can list a title but keep it simple.
Your Company Name-The name should convey what you do. If not make sure your slogan does.
Your Company Email Address-Please use a professional email address not a Gmail address. Est. cost $10 a year.
Your Company Website-No website? Please don’t hand me your card
Your Company Slogan-Should describe in a few words what your company does.
Business Address – Not necessarily needed with the number of internet and virtual business online today. Only needed if you are trying to do business in a particular geographic location.
Fax Number – Only if your business uses fax as a means to communicate. Some companies still use fax to send confidential information.
List of Services – Be careful. You might change your products and services but now you have all of these cards printed.
Having a website is just as important as having a business card. It is the very first thing people check out after meeting you. Most people are checking you out minutes after you give them your business card, sometimes while you are still standing in front of them. Make sure they have something to check out.
There is no reason not to have a website today. There are many ways to create and host a website for free. There are also many tools that will help you develop your own website very easily if you have a basic understanding of how to use Microsoft Word. If you don’t know how grab the closest teenager. If they are your child, remind them how good food taste or how life would be without high speed internet access.
Tell them that the site can be developed over a weekend or a few nights so they won’t have to spend that much time alone with you.
Make sure that your voice mail is a professional as possible. When I hear voice mails that say “You know what to do” I do just that, hang up. Keep it simple and short. I will generally hang up on the ones that go on and on, especially if they are giving some type of tip on life. If I wanted that I would call my mother.
If you are using your person phone as your business phone I recommend that you get an online business number from Google Voice or any other internet based phone service. These numbers are answered by a professional message and the call can be transferred to you if you want to take it. You can even get a business number that is answered by a live person and transferred to you if you want to talk to the person calling.
One other really cool thing is that you can call the person back from your phone and the number displayed is the online number that they originally called protecting your personal number.
Marc E. Parham has been successfully consulting for all types of businesses for over 20 years. He has consulted for small to mid-sized business, large corporations, and non-profit organizations in all areas of business development. He has certifications in Project management, Network Engineering, Non-profit Management and other areas of business development. Marc has made it his mission to help people start and grow their small businesses. He has created a successful business coaching program that has assisted many people in changing their lives. He is also available for speaking and training events.
Please use the contact information below schedule a free business coaching session with Marc Parham.
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