Being seen as “small” can cost you business.
That’s not saying that the service or the quality of a small business product is poor – (often it is the exact opposite), but a common perception encountered by small business is that “big” is better or safer. In a world where you are competing with “the bigger guy”, then this perception can easily cost you business – especially in the initial marketing phase.
So the answer is simple…… don’t “look” small!
In my varied dealings with business over the years, I have noted that there are 7 indicators which signal that I am dealing with a small or tiny operator;
- Gmail or Hotmail address
- No web presence
- Flimsy or poor quality business card
- Lack of definable product or service…..”we do everything”
- No Google presence
- Mobile phone number listed as the only contact point
- Absence of processes and systems
Just one of these items could apply to many mid and large businesses, but when you see more than that, then it’s typically a smaller operation. If I’m looking for a small business operation, then that’s fine, but if I want some greater bench strength in the business – then I have likely already moved on to the next one in my search list.
So if you don’t want to be labeled or perceived as small from the outset, consider these remedies;
– Nothing screams small or “part time” more than a Gmail/Hotmail type address, so at a very low cost you can secure a domain and email hosting package. This is not expensive or difficult to do, but it adds significant credibility during the initial search enquiry. Align the domain with your business name for maximum continuity.
– Few real businesses don’t have a web presence of some description. Naturally some sites are very large and complex, with multiple features and a cutting edge look. With the many different forms of sites available, you can spend from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, but this should not stop you having something. You just need to be clever in the way you do it. If budget is an issue, then consider a one-page style site which is a bit edgier in the content and design – so that it essentially distracts from the fact that you only have one page. Sure this type of site is going to be more limited, but it provides a presence which you can then build on.
– In a face to face encounter, your business card is still a very powerful positioning tool. A card which is well thought-out and designed, printed professionally and is of a quality construction, positions you well. Something however that is printed on the home printer on one side, on standard paper says something else entirely. For the relatively small cost difference between the two, spend the extra $100 dollars and get something worth having.
– Being able to “provide everything” can be a real problem, as is the eagerness to win or get the work, the business is essentially showing it will do anything to just get some trade. Successful businesses have found that core product or service offerings is how they build synergies, brand and reduce risk. These product or services may have a lot of flexibility in them, but there is still a base framework. So for your offering, define it – create a clear product or service offering which you can market. Know how to vary it for the market so that it remains profitable, and be clear on when you should be saying “no”.
– Local Area Market / directory listings are a key element for web searching, so directing some resource to this is recommended. You want to ensure that all the online directories are speaking the same language, have consistent content, current contact details and that your business is registered in the Google My Business directory.
– If avoiding the cost and potential constraints of having an “office number”, then consider a 1300, VOIP or Skype number. All of these provide the ability to have an “office number” from a “virtual” location. Costs and features vary, so check out what is the best option for you, as all can work well.
– Good systems and processes translate to efficiency, predictability and reliability, so if you are looking to foster repeat business, these are important. As I have said to many clients over the time, you are the expert in your field – so if I come to you for your service, I expect that you will lead me through a process to deliver the best outcome. So, whether it be sales or operations, create a clear process (supported by systems) for the key elements of your product/service offering.
With these elements attended to, your business operations will no longer immediately flag as being small. Instead, you have the ability to create the ideal perception of your business – obtaining the ability to show the quality of your product or service. In an ever competitive market place, removing any unwanted perceptions or biases which may get in the way of doing business – just makes sense.
To explore what else can be done to accelerate the performance of your business, contact us today to arrange for a preliminary consultation.