How To Make Your Home-Based Small Business Appear Bigger And Impressive
There is nothing wrong with having a small business - it is often assumed that you get better customer service from small businesses, and they tend to be considered to be more trustworthy. You definitely don't want other organizations and other people to confuse the size of your business with a lack of potential or professionalism. This is why investing in image management is critical.
You need to view your business from the vantage point of a third party. If you were looking from the outside at your business, what impression would you have? If you are honest with yourself, your business may look inexperienced, unprepared, or erratic.
Fortunately as long as you a great idea for your business and are willing to work hard and do everything it takes to continue to grow your business, then you can always fake it until you are able to make it.
It is easier than ever to display a professional image, and still remain nimble and small at the same time. Let's take a closer look at some of the specific techniques, strategies, and tips that are available to you:
Use a Virtual Office
It is completely acceptable to work out of your spare bedroom, basement, or garage. If you can save money and it allows you to pour all of your available resources into growing your company, then it is a good idea to stay as lean as you possibly can.
However, what do you do when you schedule a meeting with an important investor or prospect, and they want to stop by your office to meet with you? It isn't very professional to give your home address. You need to have an image that is more sophisticated and professional.
Using a virtual office is one potential solution. Depending on what you need and where you are located, a virtual office can normally be rented for a couple of hundreds of dollars per month or even less. Some even provide added services as well.
Use a Domain-Specific Email Address
Your business website says a great deal about your business. However, there is one mistake that many business owners and entrepreneurs continue to make. Although they might have a domain name that goes with their brand, they keep using a generic Yahoo or Gmail address. It screams unprofessional and is lazy.
For just a couple of dollars per month, you can have a domain-specific email address to use for your business.
Incorporate your business
If you are a limited company, your business can appear larger. Incorporation can be an inexpensive, quick, and fairly easy task - you may even be able to pay a lower amount of tax and have more to use in your business. Determining whether or not it would be better for your business to be a limited company is a fairly simple process, but you should seek out individualized advice from an accountant before you make any final decisions about changing your company's structure.
Hire a virtual receptionist
There isn't anything wrong with being the manager and owner of a one-person business. However, that does mean you need to handle all tasks yourself, which includes answering the phone. So if you are having a hard time answer calls that could potentially result in sales, then it is worth it to pay a virtual receptionist service a monthly fee. A receptionist will answer all of your phone calls professionally and promptly, and you will then be notified by text or email. In addition to freeing up your valuable time, it can also create the perception that you are a larger business that has administrative staff working for you.
Use bigger invoice numbers.
Start out with higher numbers if you send out invoices and quotes to clients.
That can help give the impression that you have been in business for a longer period of time and helps to promote buyer confidence and trust.
When you use a low invoice number like 13 or 30, the customer might think you just started your business a few weeks ago. Even if you have just recently started your business, that isn't the image that you want to convey to prospective customers.
There are a number of invoicing solutions, like Quickbooks and PayPal, that let you select the starting invoice number. This allows you to keep everything organized for all of your bookkeeping and accounting needs.
Use a Virtual PBX
A PBX is a kind of phone system that allows you to transfer your call between different lines while also allowing all of your employees to use the same phone system. Rather than having to invest thousands of dollars into a physical PBX system, you can use a cloud-based alternative like Skype that uses VoIP (voice over Internet protocol).
You get to select your phone number, or you can port over an existing number that you already have. You can have extension-to-extension dialling and multiple extensions for your business. Also, a virtual PBX makes it possible for you to have a toll-free number along with a virtual answering service that sends callers to the right department where their issues can be addressed.
Don't add a formal title to your business card
You are clearly the CEO if you are a one-person business. But it isn't clear why everything in your business is being done by the CEO. Until your business has grown to include multiple contractors or employees, don't use a title on any of your communications or business cards.
Establish Thought Leadership
It isn't necessary for you to be the leader of a major corporation in order to gain a reputation as a leader of your industry. Writing posts for leading publications can help introduce you to prospective clients. When you get a pitch meeting scheduled, they will recognize you as an authority on the topic that you are presenting. It won't really matter at that point that you are a one-person business.
A small business needs to have clients to grow. However, clients often prefer to go with a business that is successful already before contracting for their services. To get early contracts, the leader needs to convey an image of leading a thriving, strong business so that customers can trust it.
Nobody dies wishing they had spent more of their time working in their office. It is common for business owners to sacrifice their physical and mental health, friends and family to try to accomplish their business goals.
To avoid this, find a good work-life balance for your self. Exercising regularly, spending time with friends and family, and getting enough sleep can help you stay in good health and allow your business to thrive over the long term.