Most Common Business Mistake

Think for a moment, one day you are at an event and run into Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates. You shake his hand, talk about some business, and he hands you his business card. Imagine you look down, and you see his email address ““.

What would you think? Would that seem savvy to you? Would you consider that to be really professional? What about branding? Wouldn’t you wonder why it wasn’t “”?

That scenario above simply would never happen. Bill Gates didn’t become the worlds richest man without understanding the importance of image, branding and professionalism.

Nearly every day…

But nearly every day in my business, I encounter business people, that hand me a business card or brochure with a Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL email address. It’s perplexing to me, because most of these people have a domain name, and a company website listed too.

It also makes things a little more difficult to remember, when I want to email Bill at Microsoft, it’s easier to remember ““, than “” (and to prove that, the email address above was “billgates295” not “billgates293“, so we’d already forgotten.

The majority of these email addresses are also the persons personal email account, which is a certain no no, because do you really want to stand mixing up a client called Clive and your cousin Clive and sending the wrong email to the wrong person. Far better to keep business and personal emails separate, and not accidentally send your invoices to family members, and your rant about Uncle Ernie getting drunk at Christmas dinner . . .  again . . . to your clients.

Are you one of these people?

Do you use an email address provided by your internet service provider (ISP), even though you have a company web site? Sure, it’s free, but is it smart?

Small Problem, you don’t own or control it.

Today, may work just fine. But one day you may decide to move to an area where your ISP doesn’t serve, or they are too expensive, or they get taken over, or any number of possible scenarios, you need to get an internet connection from someone else.

Now what? Yes, you are locked into an email address that you don’t own or control. Now you must notify every business contact and friend about the address change if you want to continue receiving email from them. And your business cards, brochures, letterhead, stamps, printed materials and website all just become obsolete. Time to spend lots of money updating them all!

And guess what, you’ll now be locked in again to another companies email address, so you’ll get to enjoy repeating that cycle again in the future.

Big Problem, you look small and unprofessional.

Besides having no control over your email address, if you actually have your own domain, it’s terrible from a marketing and branding perspective to use a free or ISP-provided email account. Instead of your email address reinforcing your company name, it’s providing free advertising for Yahoo, Google, AOL or Hotmail. You are weakening your brand, and strengthening theirs!

It’s the equivalent of having your postal address be courtesy of another larger company, “Send my mail to the local Walmart, and I’ll pick it up there.”

Can I just forward all my domain email to my Yahoo account?

Well, it’s an improvement, but this also is a bad idea, because when you reply to these business contacts, they will have sent email to “” yet you will respond from “” and it’s confusing, and further damaging to your image.

Rule #1.

Splurge the cash to own your own domain name, it’s not a lot each year. You will own it forever, you will control it, it will never change. You will build your own name, your own brand, and you will look far more professional. You can have the same email address for as long as you keep your domain registered, and you can have as many email addresses as you want.

If you already have a domain name and aren’t using it for email, start using it immediately. If you are in business, it is well worth the cost to have a permanent email address that is fully in your control and reinforces your company name and brand.

Need help registering a domain, and setting up your hosting and email accounts then get in touch?


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