In this context ‘professional’ is a bit of an abstract term as it’s on a scale. What is very professional to someone might not be to someone else. Having bean bags in the office like Google, might not be seen as professional by a law firm in London. SMEs have a problem, sometimes, when growing because they start off small and then start growing without updating their processes at the same time and it can come across to potential customers and partners as unprofessional.
If you’re company is growing, which hopefully it will be, then it won’t be long before you can’t afford not to have a good human resources department. You only need to hire one person, but make sure that person is a trained HR professional. It would also be a great idea to get some form of xcdhr.com style HR software to help them out. This will allow them to manage leave, personnel documents, training records, timesheets, payroll, expenses and so much more. This will streamline your business and make it so much more efficient.
Depending on your industry, you may have been able to function remotely, with people dotted about. For industries like digital marketing or web design, this is perfectly viable, however as you grow you will need to move into a physical office space with a dedicated meeting area to demonstrate to clients that you mean business and you should be taken seriously. If you’ve only got a few employees and you’re quite small, you might not insist on a dress code, however when you grow you should implement one. It makes employees feel more important (if uncomfortable) and it presents your company as professionals and an authority in your field.
Social media is your biggest ally and your worst enemy. One of the first things prospective clients and partners will check out is your profiles and if they are sloppy and not constantly updated, they will assume you’re not professional and will go with a company with a better internet showing. To the younger generations it shows you care about your business and will make you much more attractive to clients. Your website should also be spotless and designed by professionals. You may think you can do it yourself, but you can’t.
Make sure people can contact you from anywhere. If your social media profiles are up to scratch then they can be used to contact you, but in conjunction with that, you will also need the following.
- If you still don’t have a physical office, and won’t ever need to meet clients, then make sure you have a PO Box so that people think you have a real office and it also provides a location to send documents to that isn’t your real address.
- Domain Name Email: Make sure you’re email address is @companyname. This makes you look much more serious and professional. No one trusts an @gmail and an @hotmail is even worse.
- Phone number that isn’t your mobile or home phone number – so obvious I don’t need to explain.
- Finally, get business cards as you will ensure that if you meet a potential customer you will look prepared and professional.