Although many consumers and business customers these days are open to dealing with small companies and side hustlers, there are also conservative buyers who like to feel like they’re dealing with a company of size and substance. They might worry about whether your home-run ecommerce business can really deliver their new PC on time or whether your small consulting practice can truly be trusted to help them with their business strategy.
There are, fortunately, a range of ways you can display that you’re running a serious business and that you’re ready to deliver the service or product they need. These techniques show that you’re running a tight and professional business and you’re able deliver a customer experience worthy of a big brand.
Let’s delve into four ways to create the impression your small business is bigger than it really is.
1. Create a professional website for your small business
When customers are looking for suppliers or service providers in your market niche, they will do a web search to find a list of potential partners. If you were referred to them by someone in your network or introduced yourself by knocking on their door, they’ll go online to learn more about your business.
Don’t underestimate how important a modern, professional-looking website hosted on your domain is in making a favourable first impression on your prospect. The basic boxes your website should tick include clear, error-free copy; a modern look-and-feel; up-to-date information; easy-to-find contact details; responsive design (looks good on any device, including smartphones); and SSL security.
The website and the domain name are the foundation of your digital professional presence. Once they’re in place, you can start looking at search engine optimisation (SEO), email and email marketing. Once you have your web domain, you should get a professional email address – for example, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com.
SEO is important because ranking higher on the search engine results is a signal of trust on the Internet. Email marketing done well can create an impression that there is a vast sales, marketing and service engine behind your brand creating exciting content for a large and growing customer base.
Pro tip: Not sure where to start? Get going with GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing, which lets you manage your digital presence in one place and get found online everywhere, including Google, social media, and your customer’s inbox.
2. Look for a virtual office solution
Running your business from your garage or your study might be good for your company’s financial health, but it may not cultivate the right impression among your customers. One way to project an image of strength and success for your company is to use one of the many virtual office services that have cropped up around the country.
Depending on the package and provider you choose, virtual offices will be able to give you a prestigious address in one of the country’s major business centres, alongside a mailing handling service and someone to answer the phone in your company’s name and take messages for you.
You might also be able to rent meeting rooms or an office from your virtual office provider, so that you can host clients in a more professional setting than your house. All of these can add together to make your company look like a bigger organisation with an established presence in the heart of your city’s business centre.
3. Get a virtual assistant
You might not have the cash flow as of yet to start growing your team, but you could benefit from an extra pair of hands and would like to look like your company is a bit bigger than it is. Enter the virtual assistant, a person who can provide a range of support services to your business as a remote worker.
Virtual assistants range from thriving agencies to individuals working from home, and they are usually paid on a per hour or per month basis. You have the flexibility to use them as needed, so you are not tied into an ongoing financial commitment as you are when you make a full-time hire. Plus, they’ll be able help you do many things your typical one-person band doesn’t get around to, like writing blog posts or running a professional social presence.
Services virtual assistants might offer include typical personal assistant tasks such as managing your calendar and making phone calls for you, as well as managing your social media accounts, helping you with marketing or copywriting, bookkeeping, data capture, website management, and pretty much anything else that can be done across the Internet.
4. Invest in professional branding
Cultivating a strong brand can help your small business to punch above its weight. A once-off investment into developing an attractive logo, well-designed collateral, good-looking business cards, and an appropriate name can all pay off as you scale up your growth. This is especially the case if you’re dealing with cautious corporate clients or operate in an industry where image is really important.
Professional marketing services are not cheap. However, you don’t need to contract an expensive agency to do the work. There are marketing and design freelancers who are able to offer lower rates because they don’t have the agency overheads. Some of them love the freedom of working with smaller companies. Depending on your business, you might be able to barter for their services, too.
Making the right impression
Making your small business look bigger isn’t difficult or expensive these days, and it can help you to compete more effectively with larger rivals. But winning the sale is just the start. Once you’ve converted a customer, delivering on your promise is the key to keep them coming back.