The trend of people working independently has grown steadily since 2008 recession.
But rather than it being a necessity-driven temporary solution, self-employment has become a lifestyle choice for many Millennials working in a digital sector.
Digital economy is a lucrative industry generating £71 billion in revenue each year in the UK alone.
This has provided a lot of hope for would-be entrepreneurs, along with the rise of the internet making it a lot easier to source everything you need to set-up a new company.
But with so many online businesses popping up online, it is difficult to stand out.
A new online company has a lot to prove, as it always going to be against more established competition.
Customers are wary about scams and fraudulent websites and dubious shopping with new companies. Because of that, many will just stick to what they know and trust.
Your trustworthy and legitimate startup image is critical in persuading your potential customers to part with cash.
Here’s how to give customers peace of mind, and make your business look bigger than it actually is …
A professional website
Your website is the face of your business, even if doesn’t drive direct sales.
You can be sure, that Millennials will look up your company online before deciding to buy from you.
Building a website has never been cheaper and easier.
Four years ago, when I started Lucky Attitude, I paid £0.99 for a domain name, $34 for a lifetime theme and £12 for a yearly website hosting (now £34 a year).
I have never had to use web developers. All the information has freely been available online – it’s that easy to use.
To date, my website costs have been nominal compared to the returns on my investment.
A professional website will also make your email address look the part, i.e ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or some variation, instead of ‘email@example.com’.
Virtual office address
If you are a startup on a limited budget, would you rather spend the money on developing your product or service or renting premises, buying office furniture and hiring staff?
Agile business models, remote working arrangements and global outsourcing, have meant that there is no pressing need to hire an office space.
Technological progress means, that a bricks and mortar office is not always an essential requirement for a modern business.
As a small internet company, you can easily work from home or a local co-working space, but it doesn’t always look professional, when potential customers or clients check your location and find a residential area, indicating your home address.
This can not only be unprofessional, but also dangerous to list your home address online for everyone to see.
A virtual office enables businesses to have many of the benefits of a physical office, but without any actual space or desks, saving you tons of money along the way.
You can buy a virtual address from a site like yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk, which gives you a legitimate office address and forwards your work mail to your home address.
Registered PO address means, that if customers check your address on a website or Google maps, it shows a centrally located office block in London, which is a good way to make your business look professional.
Apart from the office address and mail forwarding service, Your Virtual Office London also offers call-handling and reception services, that allow the business to portray a professional image without the inconvenience of you actually having to answer all the incoming calls and ad-hoc requests.
Virtual office address services are not only limited to startups and small businesses. Many corporate giants use virtual offices to establish a presence in new locations all over the world to either test new markets or enhance their corporate identity.
A business phone number
One of the things customers might look at before placing an order, is your contact number. They will want to know that if something goes wrong, they can easily get in contact with you.
A landline phone number that is either handled by a virtual assistant or directed to your mobile phone, will not just make you look like a pro, but it can also help you cut down on the time spent answering administrative phone calls.
Offering a free phone 0800 number makes it even more convinient for your customers to phone you, as they know they are not charged for the call.
People can be dubious of entering credit card information onto sites they’ve never used.
By having PayPal checkout option on your site, you’ll give your customers a safe option to buy from you.
PayPal is globally recognised name and safe for both, a buyer and seller.
People know that if something goes wrong, they can get their money back, which is enough to give your customers the peace of mind to hit ‘Buy’ button.
Majority of people would want to pay with PayPal on a site they’ve never heard of.
Incorporate your business
Being a limited company can make your business look bigger, more credible and trusted.
If you are freelancer doing business with larger companies, you may find many potential clients and agencies will only do business with individuals who operate as limited companies.
The main advantage of running your business as a limited company, is that you are likely to pay less tax than a sole trader.
Accountants usually recommend to register as limited company, when your earnings rise above £60K a year.
Best to always seek advice from a qualified accountant before making definite plans to change your business structure.