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Maintain a professional image: 5 tips for a small business

In order to be taken seriously, small businesses need to convince customers of their professional ability and their value. Small businesses can punch above their weight by taking the time to go to market with a professional set of business documents, templates and content to ensure customers aren’t dismissing them before they have a chance to pitch the value of their product or service. 

But how can small businesses deliver a professional image when they don’t have the same resources as big businesses? Web-based solutions, also known as ‘cloud solutions,’ help small businesses maintain professional-looking documents even while collaborating and editing with employees in real-time from different locations. Gone are the days where employees hoped documents maintained proper spacing and margins; small businesses can now create materials in confidence and showcase their professional ability to customers.

Below are just a few of the ways small businesses can ensure they are maintaining a professional appearance when it comes to the business communications:

Make the First Impression a Professional One

An email newsletter is often a small business’ first connection with a potential customer; they can keep it professional by registering a business email domain (johndoe@yourbusiness.com) and sending all communications to customers and potential customers from there. Most cloud solutions offer a cost-efficient and easy way to customize emails with basic client information – small businesses should take the time to add a personal touch to connect with their customers. Messages should be short and to the point to ensure their email will bring value to potential customers. Email signatures should be simple, clean and professional, and employees shouldn’t forget to run a spell-check before hitting send.

Create Customer-Ready Documents 

Whether creating documents on an office desktop or on-the-go on a mobile or tablet device through Office Mobile Apps in Office 365, small businesses can rest assured that their documents will look as they were intended to for customers. Small businesses should look for cloud services that let them  format and design documents and emails accurately and professionally every time; with some services, the document or email looks nice as a staffer works on it, but once it’s sent to a customer, they find the font sizes and types have changed and spacing looks messy. Small businesses should look for a cloud service where they can be confident that clients and customers are seeing documents exactly as they were intended.

Leverage Professional Templates 

Small businesses don’t need a designer to create professional-looking documents. Cloud services offer banks of customizable templates, making the formatting and editing of copy and images a simple task for any small business. With Office 365, they don’t need to break the bank creating a website from the ground-up; easy-to-use tools will help establish a small business’ presence on the Web with no additional hosting fees.

Shape Up Social Networks

Networking is an important part of any small business. They should groom their social media presence online to make sure that the images and posts projected are the ones the business wants customers to see. Some email services show social media information alongside emails to give small businesses more information about the people they are communicating with. Keeping content business-relevant and professionally appropriate will ensure coworkers and customers see any small business employees at their best.

Remember that customers expect professional communications and content at all stages of the engagement. Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Premium is one service that can help small businesses maintain a professional image and, as a result, gain confidence from their customers that they can handle the job.  

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