Does size really matter when it comes it business? Many though the advantages that start-up companies can offer to customers and clients – more personalised service, flexibility, prioritization, focus on their project – these attributes are often overlooked during the early days. The fact is that many are more comfortable dealing with bigger organisations. They expect this means more security, larger channels to redress any complaints with service and automatically have more confidence in a larger outfit that projects an image of experience.
Much of this thinking takes place at a subconscious level, but it has the power to decide who customers go with – and especially in the online environment, where we are required to put more trust in who we are dealing with and go on less physical proof about the fortunes of the business. But there is a silver lining – it’s very possible to ‘fake it til you make it’ when it comes to projecting the appearance of a larger business. Here’s how:
Use a Virtual Address
Is ‘head office’ actually your kitchen table? There’s nothing wrong with working from your home in the early days – it actually saves large overheads, which in turn may even allow you to offer customers a better deal on goods and services, and especially if you are a solo entrepreneur. However, in some sectors, a residential address is a dead giveaway that your business is in the fledgling stages and can inspire a lack of trust. Remedy this with a virtual business address from a provider such as physicaladdress.com. For certain businesses, this can also be a way to list a major trade centre or prestigious city in their address that makes the company look more successful. Some may even benefit from listing multiple addresses, especially if you are trying to land large contracts with bigger organisations. It projects an image of success which can be a deal-breaker in the corporate world.
…And a Virtual Call Handler
The problem with working solo is often keeping on top of all the office admin. There is only you to process all incoming email enquiries, answer the telephones and return calls. Sometimes that can unfairly lead to an impression of disorganisation, and turnaround times that don’t tally with ever-rising customer expectations. A virtual reception service can work around this – providing a landline contact number where all incoming calls and emails are answered and processed swiftly, and giving the appearance of a larger back office function to tackle all the admin. Some services can even provide multiple-digit extension numbers, which really give the impression of a big operation. This in turn makes you seem less of a one-man band, which can elevate your own status in the eyes of some you will deal with.
Work on a Specialism
It can be tempting to take the scattergun approach if you run a business-to-business organisation, and try to grab every bit of work out there in your sector. After all, being a ‘jack of all trades’ means that you can take on more business, right? Actually, you could be creating just the wrong impression and spreading yourself way too thin. A better strategy is to initially focus on one niche of your sector, and do it really well. Become known for this particular specialism and dominate it. Go to all the relevant industry events. Write specialist articles to post on LinkedIn. Make yourself the go-to guy for this area. What happens is that you will meet people, build a network and gain a reputation for being the ‘voice’ in this specialised area. This gives an impression of domination that makes your business look larger and more credible than offering all services to everyone.
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Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex
Your Creative Coaches @ CoSydney & ArtSHINE industries