Just because you’re operating your business from your garage, doesn’t mean you can’t look bigger and professional than it really is that your business is bigger than it really is. There’s nothing wrong with sharing an office space with a mini van, but sometimes you just need to give customers and clients the impression that you’re more than just a bootstrap startup. Fortunately, there are several ways of accomplishing this, even if you’re operating on a shoe string budget.
If you need to enhance your business image to look bigger and more professional without spending a lot of money, try using these tools and applications.
Get a Virtual Phone Line with a toll free number
Instead of answering the phone with your kids yelling in the background, use a virtual phone line with a professional greeting. You can get a toll free number from Kall8.com for as little as $2/mo.
You can also setup command prompts (“For sales, press 1, for support, press 2”. ) or hunt groups (call forwarding to any cell phone). Grass hopper offers these services for as little as $12/mo.
Use a mail forwarding service
Don’t want to share your home address? No problem, use a virtual mail forwarding service. They cost around $10/mo. You get a real address that you can use to forward business documents or share on your website.
When you receive mail, the service provider will send you an email with a snapshot of the package at which point you can instruct them to mail it to you, scan it or discard it. I’ve used virtual post mail for a few months and have been very satisfied.
Use a professional email address
Still sending and receiving emails to your personal gmail account? Not cool. If you have your own website but haven’t setup your email, then this is first thing you should do!
If you’re a fan of Gmail, then sign up for their cloud based email service which costs only $5/mo and you can use your business email within the gmail platform.
Publish an article on LinkedIn
Anyone can publish on Linkedin. You don’t need to be an expert. Just write a short article related to your industry and publish it on Linkedin. If you sell shoes on eBay, do some research, write a 500 word article on the exploits of the shoe industry, throw in some graphs and numbers and share it with the world. Boom, you’re an expert! Seriously, people publish absolute junk on LinkedIN but they’re still viewed as the “expert” just because it’s on LinkedIN. So if you do a half decent job and put some thought into what you’re sharing, it’ll be well received by everyone.
Appear on a podcast or on the radio
Podcasters and radio shows are always looking for guests who can fill air time. Subscribe to the free radio guest request list and you’ll get weekly emails from different radio shows and podcasts who need guests to appear on their shows.
When contacting a host, the key is to let host know that (1) You’re not necessarily looking promote your business (2) you can add value to their show and (3) You’re willing to give listeners a free give away or a deep discount.
Don’t forget to promote your guest appearance on your website, newsletter and social media profiles.
For a list of resources and tools for eCommerce businesses, checkout The eCommerce Resource List