What is your digital image saying about your business?

First impressions count, as the classic saying goes - and in this digital age, it is truer than ever. But how many business start-ups can be confident that their digital identity is making the right first impression?

Starting and building a business takes courage and a lot of time. You’ve considered, researched and prepared. You’ve talked, panicked and planned. And now is the time to take the leap. Once you’ve leapt, your time will most likely be spent building customer relationships through sales and networking, as well as looking after all the administration that comes with a new business.

All too often, new business owners overlook the simplest things that will help put out the best impressions to their potential customers, when a little delegation could ensure it is looked after for you.

Think social Social media is not new anymore but it is still something that is sometimes overlooked in business. Setting up a Facebook page or Twitter profile and then using them incorrectly or not at all is pointless. It takes time to build up your audience and get your messages right. If you don’t have the time or skill to do it, then look into hiring someone. There are a number of freelancers who can cover this for you. With social media being a genuine tool to aid new business, it is a good investment.

Get connected right Your telecommunications are key in putting the right image out there. As a start-up, your business may be small - even only you - and you will not always be able to answer calls. A cheap hold tone, or impersonal voicemail, sounds amateur. A fully integrated telephony system can include call queue management, interactive voice response, voice-mail to email, conference facilities and music on hold. This will not only ensure you sound professional, it will ensure that you are professional, by not missing leads and offering a better service from the start.

Online all the time You don’t need to personally be online all the time. But your website is the place your potential customers will find out about you, so your web design and site performance needs to be professional. Again, this is an investment worth considering as it can sell for you while you are not there - but more importantly, by hiring a professional web developer, you will benefit from their expertise in helping you come across well in search. A website that nobody can find is of little use to you.

Public Relations PR is not just local newspapers or business pages any more. The media is completely digital now, and by communicating with it you could reach your customers more quickly, as well as help in your online search engine optimisation. Business start-ups cannot usually afford large PR consultancies, but some agencies do like to work with fledgling companies on a project basis, and there are a number of freelancers who can be more flexible on time and cost. They will get your messages in front of your audience for you. As the owner of a new business you will have a myriad of new roles - these may include CEO, MD, accountant, PA, Secretary, Business Development Director and more. So while you are juggling all these roles, do consider delegating to others, who can help your digital profile give out the right first impression about your business.