11 – Your public face

Last Updated on 24 June 2020

People will look to you to help them understand what sort of work you are looking for. This is true of potential clients, but it’s also true of friends and family.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Work out what to say when people ask you what you do. Always make it forward-looking and optimistic.
  • When starting out, speak to one new person every day and describe what you do.
    General phrases like “I’m setting up a new business” can be useful to get you in the right frame of mind.
  • Do you have a 15 sec ‘elevator pitch’ describing how you benefit others?
  • Make sure friends and relations know what to say when they’re talking about you. Work can come from word of mouth like this.
  • If you’re a sole trader there’s not much restriction on what you can call your business – avoid anything that will cause offence.
    Or just use your name.
  • Limited companies have to have a unique name.
  • Expect to have up to 7 points of contact with someone before they give you work, e.g. phone call, email, meeting, possibly over many months or years.
  • Keep a structured contact list, and prioritise by importance. Focus on people with a budget and authority to give you work.

Projecting an image

  • Business cards are useful. Simple designs work better.
  • URLs are cheap to buy. If you have a website, start simple.
  • A blog might work well – make it personal, and keep it fresh.
  • Use social networks that are relevant for your type of work. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can all be used for building up professional relationships. Pick the best ones.
  • Use any online presence to support your face to face meetings.

Polishing your image

  • Terms & Conditions can include how you intend to invoice and your cancellation/postponement policy.
  • Agreements & contracts – prepare a template to save time (see our examples under ‘templates’ in your Course Materials section)

Find out more:
www.gov.uk/market-research-business – some important general points
www.bgateway.com – see ‘Sales and Marketing’ section
www.mygov.scot/researching-customers-competitors – useful points
www.companieshouse.gov.uk

Stationery & business cards:
Many print companies let you design things online using templates, for example:
www.vistaprint.co.uk | www.moo.com | www.printed.com

Websites and blogs (a very small selection):
www.nominet.org.uk – explains the web registration process
www.123-reg.co.uk | www.easily.co.uk | uk.goDaddy.com
www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com – free blogging sites (for raising your profile)
NB: We’re not saying these are all brilliant. They’re just examples of established services.

Posted on 12 January 2020