Small may be beautiful – but often you will have to appear bigger than your really are, to get that next contract. Here are some pointers to help you to look bigger, more professional and efficient:
- Business address – “19, Rose Gardens” may not be the best small business address, a PO Box number is not really the way to instill confidence either – use a business address service, which will forward all mail to you.
- Phone answering – have your phone answered, no matter what, use a virtual assistant or an answering service. Not answering your phone will cost you business – big time, trust me – probably the biggest mistake small business make in terms of appearance.
- Conference rooms – use good meeting rooms in high quality business centers. They may be able to offer some of the other services for you as well, like an business address and call answering.
- Online presence – absolute minimum is a good website, best with a blog and if appropriate online-shop. If you are not online you are not in business. Have your own domain, to use for your email, don’t use hotmail or gmail, etc. that is what your kids do.
- Outsource – use timesharing techniques for professionals, there are virtual assistants which offer hundreds of services at an professional level, hire them as you need them. If you work with one virtual assistant they have usually a network of expertise around them, that creates a one stop shop for professional skills for you.
- Be proactive – use Key Account Management Techniques to deal with your customers, remember the 80/20 rule.
- Branding – even if you outsource insist on your own branding, it builds your brand and is less confusing for your customers.
- Share technology and facilities – see if you can find other businesses that let you share equipment, storage, office and anything else you can think of.
- Think big – the way you talk about your business, products and services will tell others a lot about you and your business. Remember, anything is possible if you want it bad enough.
- Say “YES” – work out how to do it later. Your small business is probably more efficient and flexible that your big competitors – use that to your advantage.
Remember your new slogan – “Whatever they can do, I can do better!” or my slogan “What the hell, let’s do it.”
For more of my checklists see the Small Business Checklists category and as always please add to my list with your comments, tell us what works for you.