By Heather Baker, an EO UK-London member and managing director of TopLine Communications
While attending a recent EO event, I met a woman who runs a social media company that employs more than 400 people. Her list of clients included household names and types of brands that everyone wants to work for. She told me that when she started, she knew she could never win the business she wanted as a one-woman-band working from her kitchen. When a prospective client wanted a meeting, she would suggest they meet her in the lobby of a major company’s headquarters, saying she was working from a client’s office that day. This was enough to overcome her “we’re too small for you” complex, and led her to bigger and better things. It got me thinking: In what other ways can you make your company look larger to attract more clients?
Here are five ideas to make your business look bigger than it really is:
- Get some media coverage. When people talk about you, it builds confidence in your company’s abilities to deliver your product or service to future customers. One of the best ways to get yourself noticed is to get media coverage for your business. You don’t have to go about it alone. You can hire PR experts to generate industry-relevant, engaging coverage to get yourself known to your target consumers. But whatever you do, don’t throw your energy, enthusiasm and finance at all the ideas you think could work. Make targeted, strategic decisions so that the right people learn about you.
- Rent a mailbox. The location of your business is important. If you’re running your startup business from your kitchen table, you don’t want to broadcast that information to potential clients. Fortunately, there’s a whole industry focused on providing administrative services to businesses. You can easily rent a mailbox and forward all of your business enquiries to an address that looks more legitimate than “4 Privet Drive.”
- Have a virtual personal assistant. Big companies have employees, and sadly, your cat doesn’t count. You can boost the impression customers have of your business by hiring a virtual personal assistant (PA). Virtual PAs immediately make you look more professional and trustworthy as a future business partner. You can find virtual PAs easily online by looking at freelance sites. The added bonus is that you can hand over the boring and repetitive administrative tasks, and concentrate your efforts on creating new leads and exploring business opportunities.
- Boost your social media following. When someone wants to find out more about your business, one of the first things they’ll do is look for you on social media. This means you need to be on social media, and you need to look established. The fastest and easiest route is to increase your following by buying likes and followers. It’s not a solid long-term marketing strategy, but if you need to appeal to the herd instinct in your customer, it can be a decent quick-fix. If your prospect sees that other people have committed to following or liking you, they’re more likely to do the same. With social media, even if they don’t buy your product immediately, you can keep your company at the front of their minds by posting about your business and industry regularly.
- Have a cracking website. Before your customers entrust you with their hard-earned cash, they’ll want to look at your website for more information about who you are and what you do. If your site looks like it was made while dial-up was still king, why should potential leads believe that your business is any more up to date? Don’t put them off; make investing in your website a priority. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, but it will reap rewards in the long run by setting your company up as a solid and reputable organisation. Once your site is primed, you might want to look into SEO to help you find even more new customers.
It’s all about confidence. You need to believe in your ability to deliver, and reassure your customers that they’ve made the right decision in using your company. It’s a simple fix to make your company look bigger than it is.