“Bigger is Better”, it’s a persistent fallacy that has developed into an unspoken truth in the world of business.
Consumers flock to bigger businesses. Walk down any busy high street and you’ll see more patrons through the windows of the Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero than the windows of the smaller establishments who pay their full quotient of corporation tax.
You’ll see office workers more likely to flock to high street chains on their lunch break than to the local cafe and you’ll find more people going for that refreshing after work beverage at Wetherspoons than their local.
Why? Is it because these businesses represent a better quality of product? Is it because they offer superior service? Is it because they incentivise their custom? Probably not.
There’s currency in familiarity, and we tend to put our trust in bigger businesses because we implicitly presume that they became big businesses by being better than the competition.
While the correlation between a business’ size and its competency may be open to debate, it can understandably be a source of frustration for entrepreneurs when their enterprise appears too small, too nascent and too inexperienced to net the big time clients who can provide the capital and opportunity to make their business grow.
Nonetheless, there are ways to ensure that your small business earns a big reputation. Just as more diminutive members of the animal kingdom may puff out their fur and feathers to ward off predators, so too can your business attain a measure of size and respectability that allows it to continue to the next level.
Even if you’re a single person running out of your home office, that’s no reason why you can’t grow your business by deploying these proven methods…
Invest in your online presence
In the digital age, your online presence will be the first exposure that many newcomers have to your business, and there are certain tells in web design that can make a website look unprofessional, amateurish or inept.
Investing in a good freelance web developer to grow your online presence is a worthy investment as they will be able to ensure that your online presence matches the look and feel you want your brand to achieve.
If, however, you insist on designing your own online presence, be sure to do so in a way that won’t betray your lack of professional web design experience.
Avoid the templates that many platforms offer as defaults. While these can be customised, they will likely betray the diminutive size and lack of experience of your organisation.
Avoid all black, since nothing screams 1998 like an all black website and be mindful of the spacing of your content, images and calls to action.
Invest in content marketing
As important as your online presence appearance may be, do not sacrifice substance for style. You should be investing your time, effort and resources in creating good quality, informative and well researched content that is posted regularly. Nothing singles out a chancer like low quality, cheaply sourced content.
Contribute as much as your own content as you are able, but if you must outsource, make sure that you use a trusted content provider who uses talented and knowledgeable writers.
Content marketing is an extremely important discipline that can grow your business by showcasing your knowledge and expertise. If you fail to give it the level of investment and consideration that it deserves, however, it can actually hinder your growth.
Away from home!
You may be operating your small business out of your spare bedroom but your clients don’t need to know that. You can grow your business by affording it a professional and prestigious visage without spending a fortune on a prestigious city centre office space.
Let’s face it, even if it didn’t betray your nascent status, you’re unlikely to want to give potential clients your home address and phone number.
If you want to give the impression of a grand and sprawling business, yet need to make every penny of your profits count you may benefit from a virtual office for your business.
This will afford you a prestigious office address and phone number without the overheads. Office space can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds per calendar month, especially if your target market is in and around London. A virtual office on the other hand can cost as little as £9.95 PCM.
If you’re really determined to drive down overhead costs you can spend even less while still giving an impression of size, scope and prestige by opting for a phone tree service or virtual receptionist for slightly less than the cost of a virtual office.
Outsource an app
Apps are the new websites, and many entrepreneurs are discovering the benefits of using them to not only give their business a sense of scope but to facilitate sustainable growth.
An app can be useful to your business in a number of ways. Firstly, merely having a presence on the Apple or Android app store can give your business much needed exposure, presenting your business’ name and logo to millions of new eyes daily.
They can grow your reach, bringing new streams of sustainable business to you, without spending a fortune in marketing overheads.
They can also incentivise loyalty through the use of promotional codes and targeted offers. Just look at the way in which Starbucks and Uber use their apps.
Starbucks’ app encourages customers to pre-load credit onto their app which can then be spent on drinks and snacks. For every transaction made through the app, the customer gets a point.
After collecting enough points, the customer gets a free drink. Thus, instead of making a single purchase on one day, the customer is incentivised to make several purchases throughout the week.
Likewise Uber’s app grows their business by offering customers the chance to earn free transportation by referring their friends, family and colleagues to their app.
The digital marketplace is a completely level playing field. Everyone from the corporate multinational titans to one-man businesses gets the same window of opportunity.
Thus, your own business app can enable you to stand shoulder to shoulder with bigger and more prestigious enterprises while organically growing your business.