You may be operating your business as a solo operator in your garage or bedroom; but guess what — no one needs to know! Even if your capital is less than $1,000 that you borrowed from your grandparents, you do not need to shout to the world how undercapitalized and how small your operations are.
Image plays a huge part in business. To be perceived as a small business entity can sometimes work against you. Let’s face it: some potential clients will refuse to touch you with a ten-foot pole if they consider you too small. Whether you like it or not, other people sometimes equate being small with inability to deliver, lack of credibility and a tremendous business risk. When you’re small, it will be a struggle to get the respect that your business deserves.
If you’d like the outside world and business community to view you with larger lenses, you can try these tactics:
Change the Label of Your “Office” Address
If you live in an apartment or condominium, you can use the word suite rather than apartment to describe your workplace and include in your address.
Use a Mailing Service
Be careful in using a postal box; it sometimes projects your business as a fly-by-night operation. A better alternative is to use mailing services, such as Mail Boxes Etc. where you will be given an address (instead of a P.O. Box) for the mailbox that you rent.
With the advent of voice mail, one trick to show to your potential clients that you have someone else in your staff is to ask someone else to record your message that greets callers. Hearing another voice will make your callers think that you have employees to help you in your business.
Check your Letters
For correspondence, use the same approach, only with three lower case initials typed on each letter that departs your office. This will give the impression that you have a secretary or clerk. Remember, every little detail counts!
Rock your Website!
If you have Internet presence, make sure that your web site does not scream “amateur!” Make your site as clean as possible, with easy navigation and readable fonts. Avoid using intricate wallpapers as your background that makes fonts difficult to decipher. There are a number of web design templates or themes that are inexpensive (many free) yet could give your website the professional and clean look that you want. Your web site is your “face” to the rest of the world; how you create it will impact on the image and credibility that you and your business projects.
Network and be active. Join business or trade organizations; and make sure that you list the professional credentials or larger groups to which you belong. Knowing you belong to a nationwide community of your peers is very reassuring for your clients.
Form Strategic Alliances
Develop strategic alliances with other professionals who can complement your work. As a start-up, you may “ride-on” in other people’s projects, get a small percentage of the work, until you develop your credibility and business history.
Recommended Books on Home Business:
- The Work-at-Home Success Bible: A Complete Guide for Women: Start Your Own Business; Balance Work and Home Life; Develop Telecommuting Strategies
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, 3rdEdition
- Work at Home Now: The No-nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living
- The Six-Figure Second Income: How To Start and Grow A Successful Online Business Without Quitting Your Day Job
- 7 Steps to Web Sites That Sell
- How to Start a Coaching Business
- What to Wear When You Work from Home
- Five Tips to Slash Costs for a Startup
- How to Earn the Trust of Your Website Visitors