For new businesses, there’s a lot to do when you first set out on your venture. Unfortunately, there’s no book or step-by-step guide that tells you everything you need. Sure, there are countless articles and e-books about the fundamentals, but the nitty-gritty stuff you have to do for your web presence often remains a guessing game. That’s why it’s so easy for new businesses to make mistakes when putting your company out there on the web. You’re bound to hit some stumbling blocks as you go. However, Prospect Genius wants to help you correct those mistakes so you can keep forging ahead. In this blog post, you’ll discover three of the most common, yet easily fixable, errors we see new businesses make. Are you guilty of any of these? Let’s find out!
1. Using Your Personal Cell Number as Your Company’s Primary Phone Number
When first starting out, many small business owners, particularly local service providers, use their cell phones as their main business phones. This seems logical when you first think about it. After all, you always have your cell phone with you, and it’s the easiest way to answer calls when you’re on the go. However, as you continue on your journey as a business owner, you’ll come to realize how important it is to have well-defined boundaries between your company and personal life. Unfortunately (and, perhaps, inconveniently), using your personal cell phone as your business phone blurs these boundaries quite a bit. For example, you feel pressured to answer your phone when you’re out with your family because a customer might be calling. Also, to be a little more frank, it creates a nuisance. Do you really want your personal cell phone ringing at all hours of the day and night? The answer is probably no—especially when you consider that a lot of those phone calls are spam. You see, when you use your personal number as your business number, it will appear everywhere your business does. This means your personal phone number is all over the internet (on your website, Google, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, and dozens of other platforms). This also means the National Do Not Call Registry no longer applies to you. As a result, you’ll be getting solicitor calls nonstop. Importantly, using your personal cell phone for business also prevents you from hiring a receptionist or answering service to assist you with incoming calls.
How to Fix It
As we see it, you have a couple of options. You can:
- Go to your preferred wireless retailer and get a new cell phone dedicated exclusively to your business.
- Add a separate, company landline for your home office (if you have one).
- Get a metered, VoIP line (like our CallTrax service or something similar). This kind of phone line enables you to track all of your incoming leads, and it also comes with spam-blocking technology to limit how many telemarketers get through to you. Best of all, you can forward this line to any number you like at any time. This means you can forward calls to your personal phone, go on vacation, scale up your business, add more phones to the line, and so on.
2. Setting Up Facebook Incorrectly
If you’re not already an avid Facebook user, the platform can be confusing. Often, we see novice Facebook users accidentally put their business name on a personal Facebook profile, instead of creating an official business page. In doing so, it’s as if their account is for a person named “Mike’s Plumbing” (for example) rather than a verifiable business. Why is this a big deal? It matters because Facebook treats personal accounts and business pages very, very differently. So, if your company is limited to a personal account on Facebook, it won’t have the same capabilities that most other businesses have. For instance:
- Personal profiles don’t give you insights into your page’s performance, such as audience engagement with your posts and visits to your page.
- Personal profiles don’t include important business information. People won’t be able to see vital details like your industry/category, phone number, street address, “About Us” description, products/services, and customer reviews.
- Personal profiles don’t allow customers to leave reviews of your business. Without customer reviews, your business won’t have a star rating or any way to demonstrate value. People like to read reviews before choosing a business for their needs.
- Personal profiles can only have up to 5,000 “friends.” If you want to grow beyond that, you need a business page.
- Personal profiles can’t advertise with Facebook Ads. Therefore, your reach will be limited and you won’t be able to boost any of your posts, promos, or coupons.
Above all, having a personal profile for your business looks highly unprofessional. It instantly tells people you don’t know what you’re doing on social media. This doesn’t exactly instill confidence in your other skills.
How to Fix It
Thankfully, this mistake is easy to fix. There’s no need to delete the personal profile you accidentally created. Instead, you can follow the steps outlined here in Facebook’s Help Center: “How do I convert my personal account to a Facebook Page?” If you’re confused by Facebook’s guide, you can always ask your marketing team for help. Prospect Genius offers assistance with this, as well.
3. Having an Unprofessional Email Address for Your Business
Are you using the same AOL address you’ve had since the early 2000s for your business? We hate to break it to you, but you need a new business email ASAP. Your company’s primary email address must look professional. This is for two reasons:
- Prospective customers want to know you’re a legitimate operation. So, if you list a wacky, personal email address under your company’s contact details, you might lose some business. Generally speaking, most people would rather do business with “email@example.com” than “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- Dealing with Google is much easier when you have an email address on a corporate domain (like “mikesplumbing.com”). Whether you’re claiming a listing or assigning a new manager to your listing, the whole process is streamlined when you can email your authorization from a corporate domain (because Google sees this as a verification of your identity).
We understand the desire to simplify your life and only have one inbox to check, but having a separate, professional email address for your business is an absolute must.
How to Fix It
You have a few options here:
- If you have your own website and domain, the process for setting up an email address on your domain is relatively easy. This is the ideal move because you’ll appear super professional and official. At the same time, it will make all your dealings with Google much easier in the future.
- If you have your own website but can’t figure out how to set up your address, your advertiser should be able to do it for you. (For example, Prospect Genius offers this service for a small fee.)
- Don’t have your own web domain? You can sign up for a Gmail address, instead. It’s 100% free, and the whole process is fairly simple.
- For any of the above solutions, you can set your new business address to forward all emails to your personal inbox. This way, you don’t have to check two separate accounts, which makes life a lot easier.
Don’t Be Discouraged
For new businesses, getting yourself online for the first time without a single error would be unheard of. The opportunities for mistakes are endless. So, please, don’t feel discouraged if you’ve made any of these missteps. All that matters is you fix your mistake in a timely manner, learn your lesson, and keep moving forward. And if you ever feel lost or confused, reach out for help! Prospect Genius is here to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Now get to work!