Published On: Sat, Mar 16th, 2019

Making Your Small Business Look Bigger Than It Is

It’s not easy to grow a small business, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s hard to find organizations or people willing to take a risk on a smaller, untested, and unproven company, as everyone wants the best results they can get — and that often means feeling like you’ve got to turn to bigger, better-established businesses that you can trust to get the job done right.

Yet the truth is that those huge companies didn’t start out huge. Nobody built a massive client list overnight, and that makes it frustrating when it seems like no one’s willing to take a chance on your own company so that it can grow. Thankfully there are some great ways to make your own small business look and feel like a bigger, more well-established one by presenting yourself with the confidence and professionalism that belies your company’s size or age. Here are some of the best methods for accomplishing this feat.

photo/ Gerd Altmann

Use a Centralized Business Address

A lot of small businesses and start-ups are run from home offices by necessity. However, using your home address as your business address tends to send the wrong message to prospects regarding professionalism, especially when it takes a moment to run a web search on an address and reveal if it’s associated with an office building or a residential neighborhood. It might be unfair to judge a company solely on their business address, but you know it happens all the time.

Yet this is perhaps one of the easiest problems to resolve. It’s also likely to be one of the most cost-effective. Instead of having to maintain office space in an overpriced commercial building, which is something that is far beyond the budget of many small businesses, you can avail yourself of any number of managed mail services that will provide a centralized business address. Whether it’s one of many from FexEx and UPS stores to even just a PO box at your local post office. Yes, the downside may be that you’ll have to physically retrieve your mail from a centralized location, but the advantage is that no one will be able to tell if you’re running your business out of your garage anymore.

Get a Professional-Looking Website

If you want to project an aura of professionalism and competence, you can’t go wrong with ensuring that you use high-quality website design. While it’s certainly an investment, it’s worth it to spend the resources on what is likely to be the first point of contact for your prospective clients and customers, especially when the only other alternatives are to do it yourself or find a cut-rate option that isn’t going to provide you with enough functionality or features.

It’s not fair that you’ve got to take all the time and energy that you could be spending on actually performing work for your customers and instead invest it on simply presenting a slick version of yourself to the outside world, but the truth is that you’re judged by appearances. If your website is designed poorly and the content is bland and uninteresting, no one is going to be motivated to partner with your company. That’s why constructing and maintaining a professional-looking website, filled with professionally-created content, earns you the attention you deserve and provides you the opportunity to succeed on the quality of your work. Try a service like nostop.net if you cannot or don’t have the time to write yourself.

Field Phone Calls with a Virtual PBX

The easiest way to list your company’s contact number is to use your own mobile phone number, isn’t it? Yet doing so can lead to some real complications down the line. Even if you have just one partner or employee, suddenly this “simple” solution is no longer quite as helpful. In larger businesses, a PBX system, or private branch exchange, makes it easy for any number of staff use a single phone system by having one company share a number of phone lines, but this isn’t exactly a viable solution for a small business… or is it?

There’s a quick and easy way to resolve this situation, one that doesn’t involve having to pay unaffordable fees. You can use a virtual PBX system to provide much of the functionality of a real PBX without having to maintain the infrastructure. There’s no trickery involved, just technology. Using cloud-computing tech like Voice-Over-Internet Protocol systems are a fraction of the price of a physical PBX and offer a host of features, including automated phone trees that can forward incoming calls to the proper “department”, even if it’s just all coming to your own home office.

Widen Your Chances By Narrowing Your Focus

Finally, perhaps the most effective method for presenting your business as larger than it truly is can be accomplished by widening your chances of experiencing positive networking interactions by narrowing your company’s focus. This is primarily accomplished by adopting a specific strategy when it comes to presenting yourself in professional settings. You can accomplish this by selecting a more niche focus for your business to specialize in, as this will provide the best potential for focusing your efforts on a smaller pool of industry events and conferences.

This narrowed focus can help ensure you can attend more of these events overall, whether it’s you personally, a partner, or a staff member. To reinforce this focus, you can simply omit your title on the business cards you give out at these conferences. While you might naturally want to include your official title as CEO or founder, it’s so easy to have custom business cards printed up that you can always have one set printed specifically for networking and another set for your ego. Still, no one is going to think that your business is very big if the CEO is the one handing out business cards at every single event, will they?

Wrapping It All Up

It’s not right that many people won’t give you a fair shot simply because your small business looks small. Yet the strategies discussed above are a good starting point for evening the playing field and claiming your chance in the spotlight despite the prejudices people may have against startups and smaller-scale companies. In today’s competitive market, you need every edge you can get to succeed — and if you have to fake being a big fish until you actually become one, then there’s nothing stopping you from doing just that.

Author: Shariq Toor

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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