Many start-ups and service professionals need to have an established, professional look for their office space (without the overhead of typical commercial space.) So we solicited comments from five Office Business Center owners from Massachusetts to get their advice for how to make your business look well established:
- Establish Your Brand
Be clear from day one what makes your business different and better from the competition. Be consistent with this message. Focus all of your marketing efforts on conveying your brand clearly and consistently. Branding is more than your logo, your tag line, your ads – it encompasses all encounters that any current or future client or funder has with your company. – Lisa Kirby Gibbs, WorkCentral
- Manage You Image
Your image communicates who you are as a company: stable, innovative, and successful or… operating on a shoestring. First impressions are powerful, and you and your business will be judged by that. — D Craver, The Centres At Burlington
Easy, low cost ways to spruce up your business image:
- E-mail address that reflects your business (opt for a paid domain name, not Gmail)
- Corporate address on your business cards, website, and all marketing materials
- Professional phone answering and an impressive website – your interface with the world!
- Professional place to meet clients. (Even if you met clients 99% of the time at their business, it is impressive to offer to meet at “your office.”)
- Your image: clothing, grooming, briefcase, etc. should create a first impression consistent with your brand.
- Your ATTITUDE (above all): Be confident and THINK BIG!
- Seek Feedback
Small businesses want to appear bigger, so they can attract more clients and become bigger. It’s the classic chicken and egg dilemma. One sure way to get more clients is to LISTEN. Pay attention to what your clients (or funders) want. Questions they are asking may indicate holes in your message. Your clients are an invaluable source of information. Ask them questions and pay attention to the answers. — Leslie Liebeskind, Highland March Workspaces
- Allow for Change
As a small business, agility can often be your best competitive advantage. Large corporations take longer to implement new ideas. Integrate feedback from clients and funders; be alert to your competition, and look for opportunities to adapt and to grow. Start with the end in mind, but be flexible and modify your strategy as the demand as well as the marketplace evolve. Change should be a constant in every growing business. – Mark Wiatrowski, Boston Offices
Having a broad network is important for small businesses. In the early days of many startups, an entrepreneur’s or chamber network is their bread and butter while their company establishes itself; a source of warm leads and introductions that can be a great sales and marketing method. Small business networking ultimately helps you build connections with important people in your industry. — Paul Crevadi, Newton Executive Office Center
The Centres At Burlington
Newton Executive Office Center