As a small business startup, you are generally limited in resources and sometimes unable to have separate departments or even a physical office. But customers like to see a professional image and like to know that they are purchasing products or services from a reputed company they can rely on. One of the things that play into this trust factor is the size of the company – generally larger businesses are likely to have better customer support.
Even organisations that are massive corporations today were once a small business with limited resources. Google and Apple for instance were both started in a garage by entrepreneurs with limited business knowledge, but now are one of the largest companies in the world.
The problem with the perception of ‘Small’ is that people are trained to think that the size and scale of your business directly relate to the quality of your products or services, the reliability, cost and after-sales support. People assume that because you don’t have a big office with a dedicated team of employees that you aren’t professional.
Discussed below are some tips on how you can make your business appear bigger to your customers:
- Virtual Office: It’s completely fine that you are initially working out of your garage or basement, if it saves you money and allows you to focus the resources you have into building the business then it’s a smart choice. However, what do you do when a big client or investor wants to come by your office? Inviting them to the garage wouldn’t be professional at all. A solution to this is using a virtual office. You can get a virtual office at a few hundred dollars each month (significantly less than the cost of rent) and these virtual offices come with a heap of features. You are given the option of booking conference rooms for meetings, a phone answering service with a professional business number, reception services and a host of other office services.
- Branding: The foundation of how people perceive your business lies in your branding. Even if your marketing budget isn’t huge it’s worth investing money in creating good branding. This includes a quality logo design, a theme that gives character, good images and other branding materials such as letterheads and business cards. A good brand image will speak quality when seen.
- Business web domain: Register a business domain and create professional email addresses for that domain. Even Google gives you the option to set your emails up with a professional domain name of your choice allowing you to login and use emails via Googles mail client but with your own domain email address. Some small business owners make the mistake of having a good website but continuing to use generic email addresses that end in @google.com or @yahoo.com – these is very unprofessional and can reflect badly on your brand perception
- Use online tools to manage better: With the internet boom there are now numerous online tools available at little to no cost that can significantly improve your business management. For instance things like project management, accounting, HR and social media can all be managed using online automation tools that make it easier. Tools like QuickBooks (accounts/HR) and Trello (project management) are just two examples of what is available for you.
- Social media presence: When people research on a business to find out more about what they do and how good they are, social media is one of the places they look. Social media has a huge impact on business, so make it a point to create your social pages at the beginning and build a following. Making regular posts, sharing interesting and useful content as well as paying for social media Ads can help generate a bigger following. The bigger your following the more likely people will trust your business and brand.