Appearance Pays Big Dividends for the SOHO
by Mike Burstein

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Promotion takes many forms in the small business arena. A key piece of the success puzzle is appearance.

This sounds like a simple task - to have your business appear to be more than it currently is - but in reality there are numerous facets to consider.

Your corporate image is immediately on display by your business cards, brochures and letterhead. Don't scrimp here - buy the best quality that you can afford - maybe more!

The way your phone is answered speaks volumes to your size and stature in the business world - buy a small office phone system that utilizes an auto attendant to route your calls. This immediately creates the appearance of size for your company.

Spend the money necessary to have the latest and greatest in computers and software. Nothing makes your company seem small more than telling a prospective customer that you are unable to open a document because the software version you are using is too old or that your Internet connection is too slow to download a large file.

Every successful business has a presence on the Internet now. Create or pay to have a website created under your own domain name. Using your domain name in your email address is standard practice today. Insert this address on all printed materials and signs.

Your personal appearance tells a story. Depending on the type of business you are running, always dress sharply. If it's a service business, clean uniforms are required daily. If it's a professional service, dress the part - nothing spells success better than an expensive suit with matching accessories.

The vehicle you drive can be a great promotional tool. Don't scrimp on signage for service vehicles and whatever type of business you run, be sure that your vehicles are always clean - inside and out.

If your business is home based, there are lots of great places to get acquainted with customers when a meeting is required. The lobby of most upscale hotels has an appropriate area to hold a meeting. Even a local Starbucks or similar store can make a suitable meeting place. Always pick up the tab for your prospective or current customer -it's just a cost of doing business.

Promotional items are an expense that pays you dividends. Try to select items that your customer or prospect will have a need for throughout the year - keeping your name, number and URL within easy reach.

Keep in mind that people like to do business with those that appear to be successful. Your image needs to make you appear to be a thriving businessperson in your chosen field - even if you haven't hit the jackpot yet!

2003 ODEC


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