Solo entrepreneurs have a lot going for them – it’s never been easier to set up a business, for example – but they do have one small image problem: the general public, for whatever reason, tend to trust larger companies more than they trust small operations. So if you’re a one-woman band, then you might find that you’re losing business to larger organizations simply because they have more people. Fortunately, there’s a way around this: make yourself look more significant than you actually are.
Below, we take a look at a few ways to achieve this.
Focus on your branding
It’s hard to even notice that a company is small if they’ve got a loud “voice.” Though you’ll have a million and one things to take care of as a business owner, make sure you’re spending some time figuring out your company branding. In the process, you’ll be setting out what your business is all about: what you can do, what your customers can expect, your overall mission, and so on. All of these things are valuable in their own right: it won’t matter if the company behind the branding has one employee or fifty.
Website and Social Media
If you want to seem bigger than you are, then you need to make sure you’re keeping up with the larger companies. You need to be doing what they’re doing as often as you can. Sometimes, this is difficult. Sometimes, this is easy. An example of the easy side of things is your website and social media account. You don’t have to be a large company to have a modern, stylish website – you just need to have the budget to hire someone who can build one for you. And social media accounts can be set up for free.
You probably don’t have the budget or need for office space if you’re just one person, but alas, people are going to take you a little less seriously if you don’t have a company address and your phone number is your cell. An email address like PaulaMarketing@hotmail.com is not going to be taken seriously either. So step up. For your address, use a service that offers a mailing address with web access. For your phone number, get a professional company phone number, or even a virtual receptionist. And your email address is an easy one: please, please, have a @[yourcompany].com address.
Outsource Some Tasks
You won’t be able to hire staff to do everything – or in some cases, anything. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t level the playing field somewhat when compared with the big players. By outsourcing some tasks, such as marketing, accounting, and other expert roles, you’ll be able to access the best talent without the long-term financial commitment. It’s a way of functioning like a large company – if you can do and have everything that a large company has without spending mega money, then the standards of your entire operation will be raised.
In the Media
You’re going to have more difficulty getting the word out about your company than the large juggernauts do, what with their marketing departments and big budget advertising campaigns. But you do have one trick up your sleeve: the media. Newspapers and magazines – especially local ones – are nearly always looking for stories. If you’re doing something noteworthy, such as hosting an event or raising money for charity, then get in touch and see if they want to cover it. Of course, make sure you don’t give everything away during any interviews you give – talk in the third person when referring to your company operations, rather than saying “I do this and that,” etc.
Quick Customer Replies
Give the big companies their due: they solve any customer problems pretty quickly. While this is more difficult for you, it’s worthwhile establishing a system that allows you to talk with your customers quickly. No-one should be waiting three days for a reply in this digital age. Also, don’t argue over any problems – just get them sorted to the best of your ability.
Fake it Till You Make It
Finally, remember the tried and tested technique that has made many a person and company before you appear confident and grand: faking it till you make it! You might only be a one-person operation now, but you should act as if this won’t be the case forever. Have confidence that you’re going places, and other people will believe that you are too, if not that you’re already there.