Perception – it’s really key. The way your customers see you, your business and your brand can have a big impact on whether they try your products or services. Big companies have traditionally held the strongest cards in this regard – their big budgets can fork out for plushy offices and shops in the best postcodes, and they can make real inroads to find their target market with obscene marketing allowances.
Today, and with this article it’s time for your SME to fight back. Here are some ways to make your SME or startup look and feel a whole lot bigger:
- Consider getting a virtual office. Can’t afford a plush office with a secretary and all the bells and whistles just yet? You can grab a virtual office for a fraction of the cost of a real one. With a virtual office you can have a mailbox in any post code you wish, a telephone service and even a receptionist who can handle your business calls. Ideal for those who are starting out small from home – the last thing you want when a potentially big client calls to ask questions is your cat Otto meowing loudly in protest at not having had his mid day treat, or some other equally unprofessional appearance. Virtual offices can make the tiniest startups appear to be well established at the very least.
- Get a professionally developed website. It may sound like a no brainer, but there are still a large number of business websites out there that look as if they were put together by a kindergarten student (and not one of the brighter ones in the class at that). Your website should reflect your business brand, and have a clean, crisp and inviting look. Tools like WordPress have made it far easier to get good websites developed for little outlay – it’s worth investing a little though, to make sure your site looks professional.
- Work hard at building your social media fan base. You’ve embraced the social media world. Fantastic. Not so fantastic is if you’ve only got 12 followers on Twitter and even fewer Facebook fans (11 which happen to be your employees, and the other your mum). Big companies have big followings – you really can give the impression of being huge to prospective clients if your social media followers spill into the thousands and beyond.
- Look like the BOSS. The way you project your own image to potential clients is important. Dressing well shows you care about yourself, and will psychologically give the impression that you’ll care for your clients and their work. Ditch the cheap £50 suit in order for something a little more top end, and always make the effort to impress your clients during face to face meetings.
- Engage with the mobile world. Got a unique service or online presence? Make sure your site and key online business aspects are easy to access online. With the split of internet usage between desktop and mobiles rapidly heading towards 50/50, your site had better not look like a truck hit it when viewed on mobile devices. The big companies all have their own key apps, and have sites that look clean and crisp no matter where they are viewed.