More than thinking big: looking big
There are a whole bunch of reasons why you might want to appear a bigger business than you are. A small business has its advantages. You have more direct control over your work and invoices. You have more flexibility. You have less costs.
But what if your potential clients are looking to work with an organisation that they consider sufficiently big to meet their needs? They might have the idea that a large company will have more experience and provide a better service, because of having been able to build up to a certain size.
But you know you can do this work – and probably for a more competitive rate, since you have less overheads, and definitely with more personal involvement. But you simply aren’t a large business.
So, what are the ways that you can seem bigger than you are, land those clients and then be able to prove to them that you are who they’re after?
Here are six of our best tips:
1. What’s in a name?
The name of your business is going to tell the world what you’re about. Obviously, if it’s got your individual name in it or a family name, it may look like you’re the only one working there, or that it’s a mum and dad sort of operation. Some small businesses have had luck with really generic names, in terms of seeming bigger. Branding agencies could be invaluable to help you choose just the right name. The wrong name will definitely give the wrong impression.
2. Website, website, website
For many companies, first impressions are going to be through your website. So, it’s clear that your website needs to be slick, professional and well-written. You know the websites you’ve come across that look like they were designed by a student or outsourced to poor-quality contractors (possibly in a country far, far away).
You want a great website that looks good and appeals to new clients, as well as being a reference for current clients. Pay to make sure it’s professionally designed. Your website should be well-written and to the point. Hire an editor if there’s no one great at writing on your team. It should be kept fresh with updates.
Most of all, it should either give the impression of being a larger company than you are, or at the least, not show how small you are!
The same applies for design. Your business’s visual identity will not only be on your website, but used in many other materials. So, you need an identity. You should have a great logo designed by professionals. Too many companies use inexperienced freelancers or friends of friends.
Designers have a particular set of skills that the rest of us don’t have! They’ll know what conveys a professional, established company and what doesn’t look like it was made on the cheap or represents an individual consultancy or smallish business. You might not need to go with a design agency, but you should find someone who is great at what they do, and who gets you. You’ll need more than a logo and should know what font you want to use and your corporate colours too.
4. More than a website: your promo materials
Not to be repetitive but appearance is everything. You’ll need to translate the name of your company (solid, trusted (see #1)) and your website (#2) and design (#3) to other materials such as stationary, promotional materials and even invoices. Don’t scrimp. Use high-quality paper stock and finishes that don’t look like you’ve used the cheapest option at the local print and copy store.
Also consider business cards, or the online equivalent such as your Facebook page and your LinkedIn profiles. All of these must give the impression that matches your aim of looking bigger than you are. They must all look impeccably professional.
5. Look like you’re everywhere
This point has two parts: presence and focus.
One way to seem bigger than you are is to have a big presence. It’s easier to do this online than by going to meetings and events (though you could do this too if you can). Be active in discussion forums where your clients are likely to be. Publish articles and blog posts on relevant websites (subcontract writers if you need to). Maintain an active social media presence on whatever streams are most effective, whether that’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or otherwise. Let your business be seen.
It seems like a pretty hard task, but having a clear focus on who your clients are will make it easier (and you should have this anyway for the health of your business). A narrow rather than wide target audience means that you can more easily cover relevant forums, events and publications, and your targets will start to know you because you’re seen everywhere (and they’ll think you’re bigger than you are).
There’s a new trend in Australia’s cities which is advantageous for small businesses: it’s the proliferation of office space for rent. There are very professional office spaces that are available to be used, with meeting rooms, in central locations. Clients often will want to meet you in the middle of the action, or at the very least, somewhere that’s convenient for them. For meetings and making presentations, you’ll want an impressive, professional and clean space.
If you work from home, or from a cramped shared office, let’s face it: it doesn’t give the impression of grandeur. If you’re aiming to appear established, then meeting at the local coffee shop isn’t going to do you favours. So consider making use of office space, rented by the week, day or hour, to give the right impression.
Another thing can help you implement your business strategies to appear larger than you are, or become larger than you are, is a commercial loan. If we can help you out, you could apply here, or just contact us for a chat and more information.