5 Ways for SMEs to Make the Right First Impression

There's no second chance to make a good first impression. So if you're looking to make your mark on a potential client or investor, here's how to make those first impressions count.

Recent news from O2 Business suggests that small and medium-sized businesses are losing £13 billion every year, by failing to make a mark on potential clients. So with that in mind, and following last week's blog post on how home-based entrepreneurs can boost their at-home image, here are five top tips from United Business Centres on how to make those all-important first impressions.

1) How's your phone manner?
First impressions start with first contact. It's essential that you, or your front-of-house team, have a highly tuned and service-led telephone manner that's helpful and polite. Ensure your team has access to regular training sessions to ensure they are always delivering high quality service. If you don't have a dedicated receptionist, or you're fielding calls yourself, why not hand it over to UBC? We have a team of professional, highly trained receptionists who can handle calls in your company name. You don't have to be a full-time resident to enjoy these services - we offer call handling through our popular virtual office service, too. Find out more about virtual offices here.

2) Kerb appeal
It goes without saying that an office with kerb appeal scores serious brownie points. After all, what would you think if you pulled up outside a drab, dirty-looking office? Would it speak 'success', or would you be tempted to keep on driving? At United Business Centres, all of our offices are smart, professional and well-kept - which all adds up to great kerb appeal. They're modern inside and out, and we ensure they're always clean, tidy and presentable, because we believe that's a necessity in any business environment. It's also right up there in "First Impressions 101". Take a quick peek at our offices, here.

3) Meet and greet
No-one likes to wander around feeling lost. Make sure you have a central point of contact at your location, or helpful signage, which helps to point clients or visitors in the right direction. At UBC, all of our buildings benefit from a central receptionist area which offers a friendly meet-and-greet service for guests. In fact, we're so particular about great service that we run our own 'Academy of Excellence', which offers training and development to all UBC employees, ensuring a happy team who always offer the highest standards of service.

4) "Let's meet up"
When a client wants to meet, where's the first place you consider? The local coffee shop, perhaps? Some clients may enjoy informal surroundings for an initial meeting. But if you're dealing with large corporates, multinationals or big-time investors, it's time to think differently. We offer a range of meeting rooms at all UBC locations, from Newcastle to Southampton, with smart, professional facilities to help get your meeting off to the best possible start. Whether it's a small interview room, a conference space with audio-visual gadgetry, or a full-day meeting with refreshments and all the trimmings, we've got the meeting room to suit. Find out more about our meeting rooms, here.

5) How does your website stack up?
Website visitors rarely stick around for longer than a few seconds. So it's vital to make sure your website and online services are finely tuned, offering everything your potential customers need to know. UBC doesn't do web design, but what we can do is help you find a great person for the job. Every UBC business centre is like a networking portal - they're filled with ambitious, high-growth businesses like yours, and we can almost always guarantee that somewhere within the UBC network is a company offering a service you need. Come along to one of our regular networking events, or simply speak to your Centre Manager. They'll put the word out and help put you in touch with the right people. We're helpful like that.

Why not pop in to one of our centres and see how we work? Remember those first impressions as you walk in. We're proud of what we do, and we're confident that whether you speak to us on the phone, by email, or face-to-face, we'll deliver the right first impressions - leaving you feeling suitably impressed. Find out more on www.ubcuk.com.