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Making your small business seem big

Making your small business seem big

When you are starting out in business it may well be from your home. That does not give a good impression to potential customers, and you need to make it appear that your small business is larger then it actually is.

Get a better address

Your website has to have your address on it, and the first thing you need to do is rent an address so that you are not showing where you live as the headquarters. These are not expensive to rent, and whether you opt for virtual headquarters or a mailbox with one of the large carriers, you will have a main street address where all your mail can be sent.

Get your website right

For most potential customers your website will be the first impression they have of your business so it is vital that you get it right. It needs to be visually engaging, informative and very user-friendly. Nothing will put viewers off quicker than a site that is hard to navigate.

It is estimated that you have just 4 seconds while the user decides whether to look closer or leave your site, so it is important that something grabs their attention. This could be a special offer, or perhaps a product that only you sell. It could be a funny video or an engaging image. Keep them there for 10 seconds and you are doing well and it will help to improve your rankings with the search engines.

Consider using a telephone answering service

Years ago, telephone answering services were little more than message takers, but not anymore. A good Virtual Headquarters will have staff that know something about your business and will be able to answer straightforward questions. It will never appear as though they are an answering service, and in fact, you can think of them as a virtual headquarters, as that is basically what they are.

Start at larger invoice numbers

This is my personal favourite! When you start issuing invoices don’t start at number 1 or even 100. That will always give the impression that your business has only just started, and even if it has, you do not want your new customers to know that. Start at a much high number, and in the middle of the hundreds, for example, 751.

Don’t bother with titles

Titles become only relevant when there are more employees than just yourself. While you are still the coffee-assistant, and the janitor, and the CEO all in one, there is no point giving yourself an impressive sounding title. Once you have a few employees, then by all means. If you must however, “founder” is a good title even for sole traders.

You can make your business sound much bigger than it really is but you have to live up to the reputation you are trying to create. Never ignore customers, even if they are complaining, and always return with a positive response. Hopefully, your business will soon grow and then you will not have to pretend to be a larger company than you are any longer.

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Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

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