Act like you've been there...
Act as if...
Fake it til you make it...
Can you handle this? @#@# Yes we can.
How many times do you have to watch the boardroom movie speeches and listen to that old fashion advice before you realize there is a lot of truth to it.
We are not here to tell you to lie or deceive your customers.
The objective here is simple:
Your brand and image must resemble that you are able to handle anything. That you are bigger than you actually are, and that you are representing an image you want to become.
Because the truth is, you can. You are an entrepreneur, willing to do things that other individuals are not because you believe that there is a better way.
Often times, as your head is underwater, grinding through orders, the image represented to customers gets cloudy, faded, and does not resemble your business, as well as you, would like.
Remember, first impressions are so important in this industry.
Imagine if you walked into a grocery store and the aisles were dirty. Would you go back?
Imagine if you were researching car dealerships, and the website didn't work and you couldn't get a phone number to the place. Would you buy a car there?
Imagine if the CEO of a new company you met didn't have a clean business card, a nice website, and a basic digital presence?
Is that you?
It is important that you always act and appear that you are bigger and better than you are. They say teach as you ought, not as you did when referring to helping others. The same goes for the business.
Act like the business you want to be 5 years from now. It will eventually turn into a reality.
How do you make that happen? Let's break it down:
You might not have all the answers to web development or a tremendous budget, but there are inexpensive solutions on the market today. For a low price, you can get a Squarespace, Wordpress or Wix site up very quickly.
A professional website is an absolute must. It is the first thing customers see.
Make sure you have a real domain name. ".coms" are great, but not required. Make sure you have a professional email address tied to your domain name.
Need help? Check out Gsuite. for that. Create emails like info@, sales@, orders@ or artwork@.
Gmail.com does not look professional, make sure you switch over using your info@ address.
Make sure your company has a solid logo. One that is unchanged, and looks professional. That logo should be the same color, sizing, scale on everything. You are an artist - you get it.
It is better to have a simpler logo or symbol than trying to come up with something intricate. It is better to have no logo than to have one that is not refined. This creates brand identity
This means you need to create business cards for yourself and your staff. Create some basic literature that can be printed on a tri-fold. Something you can carry around with you at all times.
Simpler is better, less is more, but you do not want to be empty-handed.
Make sure to connect the two so you can post on Instagram and have it tied to your Facebook page.
When you post on social media, make sure your posts have some taste, and brand identity. If you are a small shop, customers do not need to see the inside of your garage. Post about your orders big and small. Make it seem like there is not a single order you are not capable of.
Social Media will build your brand credibility over time, but it must be done consistently.
Don't forget about Twitter! For each Instagram post, you can have it posted on Twitter as well to help populate your feed.
Make sure your Facebook and Yelp pages have plenty of 5-star reviews. Ask your customers to leave genuine testimonials. When you go out to eat, you check Yelp and the reviews. Your customers will do the same.
If you act like a mom and pop 4x4 color shop inside your business, you will never grow out of it. Make sure you have a business plan that outlines your goals and vision.
HR should be handled like a professional company, and you should develop HR so your employees know you take your business seriously.
Make sure you hold weekly and monthly meetings with your staff. How do you think employees are managed by a large corporation? They are guided, helped, nurtured, incentivized and motivated. You must do this in your business.
You need to make sure you are managing invoices, expenses, and jobs properly. You should not be mixing this in with your personal expenses and bank accounts. If you want to grow, you need to run a clean business.
Your customers should have easy ways to pay for invoices and have a record of their orders.
Imagine a sandwich shop vs Jimmy Johns. Both make sandwiches, but one is probably run a bit differently than the other.
You need to work with an accountant or someone that understands this stuff if you have not yet already done so. That means paying your taxes and creating a legal company.
Bill Walsh, the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers said it best with his standards of performance in his book, The Score Takes Care Of Itself.
He writes "Culture proceeds positive results."
When you create a winning image of your business for outsiders looking in, one that is seamless, put together, and ready to take on anything, and you combine that with a winning inside operation, you will become bigger.
Image credit @redwallprints
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