As the owner / part-owner of two small businesses I am a very busy person.
Combining a part time job with motherhood and two business ventures leaves me very little time to do anything that isn’t absolutely essential to running my business(es) or my household!
In the constant buzz of activity small business owners can neglect to pay their own small businesses the attention they deserve. I know this, I do it. Constantly.
For my clients I am a stickler for planning: making lists, checking them twice (that reminds me, I must write my Christmas cards…), outlining projects, defining milestones, researching, site mapping….
For my Communications business alone (don’t get me started on how many cookies I need to make!) there is a list a mile long of things that keep getting shunted down the “to do” list to wait for another day.
For example my website (not my blog, my actual website, yes I have one, the link is just there) was hurriedly thrown together one night in Fireworks to do “properly” another day. What is supposed to be the online showcase of all things “Jane McKay Communications” has myriad issues and oversights I’ve been meaning to attend to (none that are necessarily apparent to the end-user but I know they’re there). At the top of the list is migrating to whole site to a more user-friendly, responsive WordPress template, integrating my blog and including testimonials and a portfolio (any volunteers?).
So, to all small business owners I say the time has come to treat ourselves as we do our clients. Roll out the red carpet and give ourselves the Rolls Royce, gold star, top-of-the-line treatment. And it starts now.
But where to start?
While it’s easy, when you work from home, to drop some of the professional elements that you might take for granted in a corporate environment, there are simple things that I do to remind myself that I am running a professional business; a very important one at that and I owe it to myself to take it seriously.
Here are first steps to take to give your business a more corporate feel:
- Have a professional logo designed. And by professional, I mean by a designer. Use it. Everywhere. Email signatures, business cards, letterhead, etc.
- Incorporate said logo into your corporate Style Guide. Define your colours, your fonts and logo use. Use a uniform look and feel across everything you do for your business.
- Have professional business cards printed (see my new, shiny artwork above which I finally had printed after creating my new website). The feel of your business card is just as important as the look. Don’t underestimate the power of stock and how potential clients and customers judge your business by the weight of that innocent-looking (and hopefully beautiful) 55x90mm piece of paper in their hand.
- Have a professional website designed. There is a lot to be said for a slick online presence.
- Create templates for your business documents. Proposals, quotes, invoices, etc.
- Create a gorgeous HTML newsletter to send to your email subscribers each week/fortnight/month. Even if you start with a subscriber list of one, it is the first step.
The next steps?
For me, as a marketing business I’m going to allocate some time in my (very busy) weekly schedule to attend to the things that will help my business grow. Without growth your business will stagnate.
There are things on my list that are going to help my business get exposure, gain new clients and further develop the professionalism that I aspire to.
After all, if you don’t take your business seriously, how can you expect anyone else to?
And of course, if you need someone to help you with any of the above logos, templates, Style Guides, etc. Contact me, I’m always here to help!