There are many advantages to running a small business. The streamlined outfit will undoubtedly allow for rapid redirection and mobility across the business-scape. On the other hand, smaller businesses are often overlooked by major clients looking for the “well-established” larger business, who they assume are running a more legitimate practice.
Of course, this is not how things work, but for a smaller business hoping to shred with the big dogs – some things can be done to make your small business appear larger. In the following article, we will take a look at a few ways to apply your digital technology to making smaller operations seem larger and more professional.
Dressing a Small Business to Look Like a Big Business – Even When You are Not
Stop Using Your Free Email Account
One thing you can do to make your business look less like an aspiring startup and more like a functional operation, is swap out the old Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook email address for something a little more professional. Because your email address will be used in communicating with valuable clients, something with the company name looks better. This can be done for as little as $10.00 a month, the deal will typically come with a domain name and an email with the website URL, and should look something like this email@example.com.
This is a much simpler and more professional look. The fact that you have names listed in your organization makes it sound more like an “organization” and less like a one-horse town.
Use VoIP Technology to Greet Callers
It may be your dream to one day run a nation-wide operation with many centers bustling with activity from Miami to Anchorage. You may be a ways away from that day, but your client’s don’t need to know that. With the right VOIP set up, you can have a list of numbers from an assortment of locations that all lead back to the phone in your office. More sophisticated VOIP software comes with a long list of advantages, including special features like caller ID and tracking.
Get LinkedIn and Twitter Off the Back Burner
Here is where it will come down to a test of sinew. For better or worse, size matters on the social media scene, and it can be tough for a single person to compete with a crowd. So how can you improve your social media presence? Begin by tweeting regularly and letting the world know you on top of your industry and leading the way with on-point commentary and critique of industry-related happenings, trends and more. Thought leadership is one of the significant advantages of staying active and connected through LinkedIn. Make sure you are regularly publishing non-promotional articles that show you have the time and expertise for being smart and helpful. Finally, make sure everything you place out there is fitted with a link that heads back to your business website.
Use Meeting Software
Today is the day of the online presentation and customers can benefit from the personable and personal face-to-face meetings without you having to fly halfway around the globe. Of course, presentations are a time to put your best foot forward and you will need to get your hands on proper industry-leading software. Pick up something a big-name company would use like WebEx or GoToMeeting. In addition to allowing you to share what you have on your screen with your remote clients, you can even have a video conference.
Create a better website
Once you have sparked the interest of a prospective client, it is quite likely they will look up your website to learn a bit more about your business. This is where the great start can suddenly hit the skids as your clients’ interest is vaporized by unprofessional web work. No matter how “operational” your website, if the layout, load times and imagery appear shoddy and unprofessional, it can be as bad as having no web presence. You may be a small organization, but there is no reason that you can’t find a suitable price for a website that will serve its immediate purpose effectively –– and for much less than it would cost a larger organization that has higher demands and needs from their website.
Go Pro with Payments
Another tell-tale sign of a small and “immature” operation is the lack of a fully-operational system for making payments. If a customer sees something they like, they want to know how they will pay for it fast and easy. For B2C companies, you will need an online store that accepts payment methods of all types. There are many such online market set up that can help the up and coming entrepreneur accept payments of all types, Shopify is a good example.
You don’t make billions of dollars from your business to be an authority figure in your industry with plenty of information and expertise to provide your clients and colleagues. By putting your name on the top of some informative and high-value content, you will increase your visibility in front of your target audience. Once the connections have been made, it won’t even matter if you are running a small operation, your status in the industry will be established.
Small businesses need to access a solid customer pool if they grow into the larger profitable corporations they are destined to be. But this requires attracting customers and clients, and this can be difficult until you have moved passed the appearance of a startup stage.