There are millions of small businesses (SMBs) working hard every day to carve out a place for themselves in the United States. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, in 2018 there were 30.2 million small businesses that employed 47.5 percent of the U.S. workforce, and that number continues to grow. While there are many advantages to keeping your business small, there are also a variety of reasons a small business might want to appear bigger.
Maybe they are looking for a way to ensure customers feel secure purchasing from them. Perhaps they’re attempting to secure additional funding/attract investors. Or, maybe they’re just looking to more effectively compete with larger players in their space. Whatever the reason, here are some tips and tactics for presenting your small business as a larger company.
Share the Cost
One surefire way to make your business appear larger is to secure dedicated office space. Working out of your home or at the local Starbucks can save money, but it won’t do you any favors in terms of presenting your business as a robust enterprise. However, office suites can be expensive, particularly in bigger cities where your clients likely are.
Consider finding the right co-working facility for your business and give your small operation the look and feel of an enterprise much larger than you are today. Depending on the co-working space you select, you’ll be able to host clients in upscale conference rooms with services like front desk support, internet, cleaning and coffee, beverages and snacks all built into a reasonable monthly bill. Often, businesses based out of co-working offices are able to find nicer, larger spaces with more amenities that make the business look larger and more established for a fraction of the price of an individual office suite or building.
As a business owner, it’s imperative that you’re capturing vital customer information to help you deliver an excellent experience that would rival a larger competitor. In fact, an achievable goal would be to secure and utilize tools for your business that will provide superior customer service than a larger firm to show how dedicated your team is to your clients’ needs. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool that is designed specifically to meet the needs of SMBs can help make that happen. The right CRM can play a pivotal role in helping small businesses stay on top of every customer interaction and even offer predictive analytics technology to assist in making the best next move with each customer to help drive transactions.
Sales and Marketing Tools
Speaking of transactions, there are a plethora of sales and marketing tools available for today’s SMB. The key is to make sure the services you select integrate well with your CRM. With full integration, you’ll be able to access all of your customer information, effectively follow up with leads and track prospects through the sales pipeline. Whatever you choose should include marketing automation technology which will not only enhance but impact the success rate of your email and follow up campaigns, making the business feel like it belongs when stacked up against larger competitors.
Dial by Name Directory
Few things can undermine one’s confidence in a business like thinking you’re calling their office help line and getting a silly outgoing message or having a child pick up the phone. While that’s fun for personal use, it doesn’t project the right impression for business. Make sure your primary business line isn’t a cell phone or shared number. Cox Business recommends securing a dedicated line with a professional answering service and directory to facilitate connecting the caller with the person or department they are seeking. This is the type of small detail that makes a big impression.
Find Your Niche
As an SMB, it may seem overwhelming to try to secure prospects from a variety of industries. Staying on top of news, trends and attending industry events when you’ve spread yourself thin can seem impossible. American Express Business suggests finding your niche and focusing on that. That isn’t to say you can’t accept business outside of your primary demographic, but concentrating on one area could help amplify success with a key audience and help you make lasting connections. Let your larger competitors chase leads all over the map— while you focus on presenting your SMB as a (larger) force to be reckoned with to the prospects that matter most.
Create Appropriate Collateral
Running your small business isn’t just about you and your skill set. It’s about the image you project. Investing in the right collateral is an important, but often overlooked, piece of the puzzle.
Business cards – Who needs business cards when there’s LinkedIn, right? The truth is that having a professional business card for use when you’re out in the field can help legitimize a small business in the eyes of a potential client. Entrepreneur advises that you might consider leaving your title off the card if you’re a one-person operation, because it might not make sense to prospects that the CEO or owner is doing all the work.
Logo design – A professionally designed logo can represent your business and offerings in a way that shows you are a serious player in your space. Take time to connect with a skilled designer who specializes in logos for your industry.
Marketing materials – You may want to enlist a designer to help you create other collateral as well. Product one sheets, company backgrounders and investor presentations should all be professionally designed to add the necessary level of professionalism to your communications.
Website – Just as with your marketing materials, your website should be created by a professional. A designer will know the best way to present and highlight your business strengths and will make sure your website is easy to navigate.
Make a BIG Impact
Are you ready to impress? These are just a few ways to make your small business look big. With a combination of tactics like using a dedicated office space, employing a professional answering service, utilizing a CRM with marketing automation and integration with your other sales and marketing tools as well as taking care to design professional collateral, your SMB will feel and operate like a larger company. Now get out there and secure some BIG business!
Chad Ruff, Chief Technology Officer at Swiftpage
Chad is a serial entrepreneur. At the age of 24 (1995), Chad started his first company – Sage Software. Sage Software was a software engineer consulting company that specialized in the telecommunications industry using spatial analytics. In 2006, Chad started his second company, Salesfusion. Salesfusion is an enterprise marketing automation company that now ranks in the top 5 next to Marketo and Hubspot. After Salesfusion, Chad started Kuvana/InboxGuru to compete in the SMB market for marketing automation. In 2018, InboxGuru developed an integration with Act! that is now known as Act! Marketing Automation (AMA). Swiftpage acquired Kuvana/InboxGuru in December of 2018.