The One Thing That Can Make Your Small Business Appear Unprofessional
What is it, you're probably wondering. It's your business email address! Many small businesses use free personal accounts such as Yahoo!, Gmail, or AOL. While free email offerings these days have become quite robust and reliable, they can still make your small business appear unprofessional and amateurish while telling potential customers and business partners that you are too "small" to be taken seriously. To clarify how this could affect a business transaction consider the following (fake) competitive bidding situation:
- Robert.Smith@ibm.com emails a competitive bid for a project.
- JohnnyTX12@yahoo.com also emails a bid for the same project.
Immediately, you can tell which bid looks more serious and professional. After considering the example, you should get a better idea about how having a business email can improve your chances to succeed in the competitive business world. You should take advantage of the tools out there to get any leg up that you can. Also, chances are if you already have your own web site (domain name and web hosting) your web hosting provider includes email addresses using your own domain name. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to set this up, log into your web site’s control panel to do so. Typically it only takes a few moments to set up. Also, if you still prefer to use your personal email address to receive business emails you can set up email forwarding from the newly set up email address to your personal email.
However, if you do not have a web site for your business and are not looking to spend a lot of money setting one up, there are affordable options available. The cheapest option would be to purchase a domain name for your business. You’ll just want to make sure that the domain registrar you purchase your domain name from offers a free email address in the package. Many include this free while others don’t offer email at all or charge anywhere from $1 to $5 a month. To find a provider that offers free email addresses with the purchase of a domain, please use our domain comparison tool.
Another option, if you purchase a domain, is to use a custom email product such as 1and1's Instant Mail or Network Solutions nsMail. Since you are paying more, these products tend to be feature packed and easily allow you create an email address that points to your domain name. In addition they typically offer mobile tools to make viewing your email easy no matter where you are. Expect prices for email hosting to run you about $15 - $30 per year.
Lastly, you could take the plunge and purchase web hosting. This is of course the most expensive route. Email is included with nearly all web hosting plans. To make sure though, you can use our web hosting comparison tool. In addition to creating your business email, this is also a good opportunity to get your business presence online with a web site. You should note that you do not need to create or have your web site up and running to be able to set up email addresses. These are done independently in your account.
In this competitive business world don’t get lost in the crowd or caught keeping yourself down with an email that makes you appear unprofessional! Drop that @yahoo.com or @hotmail.com email and reinforce your business’ brand with each email you send.
Do you have any thoughts or comments on this article? Please post in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you have to say!