First impressions are crucial, not just in business but everywhere. We all know that. Especially now, in an age that’s more technically savvy and visually-minded than ever before. That’s why first impressions can literally make or break a budding business.
People will begin to form opinions about your business within the first few seconds of any form of interactions. Whether it’s looking at business cards, visiting the website, speaking to a representative or passing by on the street, they judge. We all do it. It’s involuntary. It’s how we can differentiate between a retail chain and a mom-and-pop store. One has an established brand, and one Is visually inconsistent or just pieced together.
The good news is; you are in control of those first impressions! The even better news is; I am about to give you four ways to make sure your new business appears much more legitimate and wont crush your startup working capital.
- Create a unique and aesthetic visual brand.
First impressions are 94% design-related. That’s a large percentage. So it should come as no surprise that your visual brand plays an integral role in how others perceive the quality of your business. The key to a great visual brand is consistency. You may not have the funds to get a professional graphic designer when you are just starting out. Fear not! Just maintain consistency with your logo, fonts and colors and you will appear so much more professional just from that.
Keep the logo simple and legible. Develop one logo option for horizontal formats and one square variation (like an icon) so you have versatility, and use them over and over again. Everywhere. Take a less is more approach with the font. Again, keep it consistent, and keep it aligned with the business you are trying to represent. With color, follow those same rules. Consistency is key, not to sound like a broken record but it’s important. Choose two or three primary brand colors, and stick to them. Always.
A consistent brand does not just do wonders for first impressions, but it leaves a lasting impression on your customer base. It increases brand memorability and recognition, and just reeks of professionalism.
- Use high-quality images.
This is a no-brainer. Seriously, how do you expect to be looked at as a professional business with pixelated and low quality images? Spend the money and invest in professional headshots as well as branded photos that you can use on your company’s website. Have the pictures taken in a relevant and appropriate environment, and make sure that the color scheme of your photos are consistent with your visual brand.
While this may require some money to get done, it pays off in the long run. If you don’t invest in high quality images, the negatives that will come along with that far outweigh the cost of having to get something professionally done.
- Develop an attractive, user-friendly website.
According to a Stanford research study, 75% of users admit to making a judgment about a company’s credibility based on their website. Thankfully, there are multiple free platforms that you can use to develop a pretty decent website in no time for no cost. And if you have followed the other suggestions I’ve given you thus far, you will already have a consistent streamlined brand and high quality images at your disposal.
However you decide to go about getting your website up and running, whether it’s on your own or with the help of a designer, you’ve got to just keep it simple and make sure that it is user-friendly. Make sure you include plenty of call to actions. Make sure the items in your main navigation are simple and easy to understand, and organize them in a logical manner.
In a world that is becoming increasingly more and more web-based, it’s very important that new businesses do their best to create and maintain an attractive, user-friendly website.
- Maintain a consistent, authoritative voice.
If you want to be taken seriously as a new business, you must exercise authority. You have to act like you’ve been around the block, be sure of yourself, your actions and what you say. Demonstrate that you know what you are talking about.
It’s a pretty simple concept. Would you get on a plane with a pilot who seemed unsure and timid about flying it? Or would you choose to ride with the one who maintained confidence and seemed at ease with the procedure?
So always take note of your business’s tone of voice. Whether it be on social media, webinars, emails or your website—maintain confidence and consistency. Just because your business is just getting off the ground, it does not have to appear that way. So go out there, implement these strategies, and make a positive, professional first impression.
Working With Sprout
Sprout is an online marketplace where businesses come to compare and save on small business loans. You go to www.SproutLending.com and simply fill out a profile or call us at 800-865-6057. Based on that information you provided, Sprout suggests the best matches depending on the amount and purpose of the business loan you are seeking. Last year, Sprout and it’s staff was responsible for over $100 million in loan approvals.