Being a small business is great! However, there are times when appearing to be bigger is beneficial. Here are some tips for how to make a small business seem bigger.
Editorâ€™s Note: This post was submitted by guest blogger, Laura Gayle. Enjoy!
Bigger isnâ€™t necessarily better, but many customers automatically look to the â€śbigâ€ť name brands as the reliable experts. If youâ€™re a small business, or even a one-person proprietor, you might be missing out on sales opportunities by letting the cat out of the bag that youâ€™re a small operation.
If larger businesses are siphoning away potential or current customers, why not take a few steps to put yourself on a level playing field? Instill your business with a public persona that appears larger than it actually is. With these 10 suggestions, your company can benefit from the illusion of seeming â€śbigger.â€ť
- Donâ€™t use your own name as the company name
Using your name implies that youâ€™re a one-man operation and can give the perception of being an amateur. While this could be furthest from the truth, itâ€™s hard to shake that consumer impression. Give your company a name that sounds grander and has the potential to generate a buzz.
- Refer to your company as â€śweâ€ť
As the old saying goes, There is no â€śIâ€ť in â€śteam.â€ť Using â€śIâ€ť in your communications and promotional materials, and when speaking at networking events, screams out your small status. Instead, refer to your company as â€śweâ€ť when speaking about it â€” this gives the appearance of being a full-team operation.
- Consider moving to a less-saturated market
As with other aspects of business, itâ€™s all about location, location, location. If your business is currently located in a saturated area, try moving your business to a smaller â€” and less pricey â€” city, instantly making yourself a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
For instance, relocating to a city like Tampa is likely to give you different opportunities than trying to stick it out in New York City swimming with all the other â€śfish.â€ť Youâ€™ll not only save money, but you can also establish a stronger presence in the less-saturated market, effectively boosting your business.
- Build a stronger web presence
The internet, and technology in general, has given small businesses the opportunity to operate on the same playing field with the big corporations. Use this to your advantage to cloak the size of your company.
- Build a robust and up-to-date website
- Give yourself an authoritative persona online
- Establish a strong social media presence with lots of followers
- Update social media and web content on a routine basis
While youâ€™re running a small business, it can be hard to keep up a strong web presence because it does take extra time and energy. To help alleviate some of the pressure, consider hiring a part-time employee or college intern to help you with your website and social media presence. Many college students would love the opportunity to build their experience and portfolio.
- Automate as much as you can
Speaking of technology, strive to automate as many tasks and processes as you can afford to do. Technology is a terrific time-saver and can free you up to concentrate on your core competencies. For example, automate the calculation of self-employment taxes and other bookkeeping. (And keep in mind: Anything you purchase thatâ€™s used for operational purposes is tax-deductible).
- Upgrade your email address
If youâ€™re using a free email service such as Gmail, Yahoo, or â€” gasp! â€” AOL, as your professional email address, ditch it ASAP and secure yourself an email address that features your company name after the @ symbol.
Also, once you upgrade, remember to go professional: Move beyond the basic construction of firstname.lastname@example.org; instead add both your first name and last name before @yourcompany.com. The goal is to make your email address sound â€śbiggerâ€ť â€” as though there are too many people at the company to be able to reach someone via a first name-based email address.
- Become a thought leader
Position yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry. Write an ebook, establish a table at a high-profile trade show, speak at networking events, record professional-looking YouTube videos offering expert tips, or pen some white papers. Use one or more of these types of strategies to establish yourself as a thought leader by sharing your expertise. The more extensive your intellectual presence in your industry, the bigger your company will look.
- Pay attention to website security
If youâ€™re selling products or collecting consumer data online, be sure to seriously invest in security. Ethically and legally, itâ€™s the right thing to do, plus it provides a bonus effect: Maintaining strong security on your website also gives consumers and other businesses the impression that your company is serious and can be trusted. Using cloud-based services that harness top-notchÂ tech is one way to ensure constantly updated security.
According to statistics, 84 percent of people wonâ€™t make a purchase from an unsecured website. Chances are. theyâ€™ll bounce on over to a competitor’s website instead â€” or, more likely, to a brand name they recognize. If you donâ€™t stay up to date on security, youâ€™ll look like a small company that canâ€™t handle the task and might risk your customersâ€™ information.
- Get an 800 number
Donâ€™t use your personal cell phone for business purposes; obtain an 800 number instead. While 800 numbers arenâ€™t as important as they were decades ago to offer free long-distance calling, their value lies in the fact that they imply â€śbigâ€ť and â€śestablished.â€ť You may even want to consider pairing your 800 number with a virtual phone system.
It may seem counter-intuitive to make it slightly harder to reach you, but presenting your business as though it requires some navigation implies a “bigger” operation. Set that 800 number and front end greeting up so that a user can choose their department and then have all calls answered by a professional answering service to really appear legit.
- Leave title off business cards
Since you’re wearing many hats, you want to be careful not to pigeonhole yourself into one title. Get professionally made business cards (stay away from the freebies â€” those scream “small-time”) and leave your title off. This way, when you meet prospective clients or business partners, you can identify yourself with whichever title is most appropriate at the moment. Leaving off a title also ensures that you don’t give away the size of your company.
Donâ€™t let your size deter you from making a splash in your industry. You have the experience and the skills; thereâ€™s no reason why you shouldnâ€™t swim in the same pond. Smaller doesnâ€™t necessarily equate to better â€” but realistically, sometimes you do need to position yourself as a formidable competitor against the big guys. Make some strategic moves to give your company the illusion of being â€śbigâ€ť and see what a difference it can make!
About the Author:
Laura Gayle,Â Â Business Woman Guide
Laura is a full-time blogger who is passionate about e-commerce and the ways technology is helping to rejuvenate the American dream.Â I created this guide to be a trusted resource for women trying to start or grow businesses on their own terms. For many of us, entrepreneurship is the key to true work-life balance.