Community Futures Meridian

Box 2167, 125 - 1st Avenue East, Kindersley, SK - Phone: (306) 463-1850

10 Ways to Make a Small Business Look a Little Bigger

  • August 8, 2016
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Micro-enterprises are everywhere these days. Depending on what you sell, many businesses can easily be run from home. Spare rooms, bedrooms, and basements all double as corporate headquarters of small businesses – even some that are not so small.

For many small businesses there’s no stigma to working from home, but it can often be a significant advantage to appear larger than you really are. The other thing is that many home-based, or other small businesses, fall into the trap of being homely in the way they present themselves to their market. This may not be problem if you are selling honey at local markets, or funky costume jewellery to local gift stores, but if you are in a b2b environment appearing more professional, business-like and larger might very well give your businesses the boost it needs.

Here are ten things you can do to give your small business a makeover, making it look not only larger but more professional.

1. Business cards – these are not an expensive item, but too often small business owners either print them themselves, or get them cheap from somewhere. Invest just a little more and get them professionally printed on good card stock. You’ll be glad you did the very first time a prospect admires them.

2. Your title – it’s tempting to call yourself president, or owner, but one way to appear a larger company is to give yourself a title such as Marketing Manager, of VP Operations. Something that implies there are people above and below you.

3. Email address – don’t use @hotmail.com or any other generic address. If you haven’t already got a business URL get one so you can have your email address read yourname@yourcompany.com. Oh and create, or have created for you an email signature for the foot of all your outgoing emails.

4. Website – they used to be expensive, now you can set up a professional looking website at a very low cost. It’s time to retire the one you made yourself ten years ago that you know looks hokey. This time make your site responsive so it changes dynamically depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to view it. The vast majority of business websites are viewed on mobile devices.

5. Social Media – this has been a boon to business when used correctly, but too often business owners don’t make their personal sites private thus allowing clients see them with their pants down – maybe not literally but often in less than professional situations, or making controversial statements. Remember, the world is watching.

6. Use an invoicing service – this not only looks professional but will allow you to accept credit card, or PayPal payments.

7. Promotional material - the days of designing and printing your own are long gone. The business world has become a whole lot more professional, don’t let it leave you behind.

8. Branding – if you haven’t got a professional logo and a brand image to go with it, consider getting someone to help you brand your company. Companies with defined brands look larger.

9. Virtual office/assistant – if you always answer your phone it’s obvious that you’re a one-person business. In today’s hi-tech world you can have a service answer your phone and ‘put people through to you’ just as if it was your receptionist in the outer office.

10. Online postal mailbox – if your postal address sounds unprofessional (47 Cotton Candy Lane perhaps) you might want to invest in having your mail sent to a service address. These are especially useful if you get a lot of mail. Depending on the level of service you require, they can scan and send you an image of your unopened mail allowing you to instruct them to keep it or trash it. They will also, under your instruction, open mail, scan it and send you an image or PDF so you can decide whether you need them to forward it to you. It’s like having your own post room!

Just because you’re a small business, your clients and prospects don’t need to know it. Here’s a bonus tip – promote yourself as an expert in your field. Let local, regional, and national newspapers know your credentials and that you’d be happy to comment on your industry should they ever be writing about it. This is awesome personal publicity and a great credibility builder. Or, write a book – even self-published books these days can help build credibility and make people think you’re running an empire rather than working at your computer in your PJ’s!

 

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