Up your (Social Media) act
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest… there’s huge fun to be had online. And more than fun: there’s also inspiration and connection. But it cuts both ways.
“I used to respect Jo*”, says the MD of an ad agency, “until I followed her on Twitter. Yuck – talk about oversharing! Now I’d never want her associated with my brand.”
There’s no privacy on Web 2.0. Every picture you’re tagged in, every comment or post you make is out there, in the public arena. Just as you Google everybody you may do business with, so people are Googling you. And if what they get are pictures of you and your best girls at the end of a long night showing off your lingerie, they may not send business your way after all. Keep things dignified and respectable online.
Register an online domain
Hotmail and Gmail are free, Web-based and convenient. That’s why every spammer in the universe uses them. They diminish credibility – and credibility is everyone’s toughest challenge and most important asset. Register the name of your business as your domain and use a service provider which will allow you to make it your address. Alternatively, make your own name your address – for instance, firstname.lastname@example.org
Get business banking
Even if you’re the sole proprietor and sole employee of your company, you want your business to feel like a well-established one. When you make or receive electronic payments or cheques, you want to look professional – people should be paying your business, not paying you personally. Many banks also offer quite good terms for small businesses – ask at your own, as well as others for the best offer.is lasting.
Spend money on your business cards
"I didn’t think my home-designed, budget business card would look cheap,” says Siki*, until I was sitting around the table with the heavyweights with whom I’d been angling to do business. We exchanged cards. Theirs were printed on both sides, on heavy paper, with a lovely texture – very sophisticated. My card, which I’d thought was so pretty, looked home-made and childish. I was very embarrassed.”
You don’t need to pay a fortunate to a design agency. Your card needs to carry only your company logo and name, if you have them, or just your own name, with relevant details. Cruise the Net for examples of sophisticated typefaces and take along samples of business cards you like when you go to the printers. Spend money on quality. First impressions count, and the impression of an amateurish card is lasting.
Learn to listen
Listening starts with thorough research and continues your pitch, spell out what you understand of the needs you might be able to meet. If you’ve done your research well, you’ll be roughly on the right track. Listen attentively to responses and don’t be afraid of silent gaps as you think through the implications. Thoughtfulness is more appealing than slickness and a quiet, but insightful voice is wildly authoritative.
* Not their real names.details