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In today’s challenging economy, it is more important than ever for small business to meet the demands of its customers and clients. It is equally important that small business owners recognize the fact that size doesn’t matter. What matters is your company’s ability to leverage the resources available to it, both in-house and external. External resources can include market research, social media, and collaborations with vendors, suppliers, competing businesses and the freelance community.

One of the often over-looked by-products of the global economy is the fact that your customers typically have no idea what the scope and size of your business might be. The customer’s paramount concern is, and will always be, that your business can deliver on what it promises. Too few businesses recognize this key fact and operate in a manner limited by their own lack of vision.

What You Must Do

Small business is in a unique position to fully understand the needs of its customers because most know their customers personally and communicate with them on a regular basis. This affords the small business the ability to define and refine its niche. Once the business has accomplished this, it can explore opportunities to deliver added value to customers. Develop a strategy that combines in-house and external resources as mentioned earlier. This can provide your business with the flexibility to economically scale business operations up or down as demand may dictate.

The importance of establishing these alliances before they are needed cannot be over-stated. The last thing any business needs is a hastily cobbled together team to meet an unanticipated need.  Have your resources in place before you need them.

Focus on These Things

  1. What your business does best
  2. What your business is valued for in its market
  3. What you, as the business owner, enjoy doing

Anything falling outside these 3 areas of focus possesses the potential to be outsourced to the extended team you have painstakingly established.  When you outsource, you can focus on your core business and grow that business more quickly and efficiently because all your attention is focused on what your business does best and what you enjoy doing.

Adding Value Multiplies Opportunities

It is no secret that adding value translates to adding customers and revenue to the bottom-line. Expand your network to include professionals working outside your area of expertise. These connections can be leveraged to enhance your image as the “go to” person for your existing customers.  This is just another way your business gains a larger mental footprint in the minds of your customers.

Make Your Business Appear Larger in the Mind’s Eye

  • Consider virtual office space. A prestigious address, complete with a receptionist to answer your phone and lavish meeting rooms at reasonable hourly rates can be yours for less than $100 per month.
  • Expand your email directory to include HR, accounting, legal and other departments.
  • Always refer to your business in the plural … “we” makes your business sound a lot bigger than “I”.
  • Build and maintain a powerful brand. If you, your work and your products or services are omnipresent, you will naturally appear larger than you are.
  • Incorporate your business.
  • First impressions are critical. Simple things like a toll free number, uniformed employees, multiple telephone extension (even if they all ring to your phone) and professional voice mail greetings all combine to give you an aura of size.
  • You’re the boss. Give yourself an impressive title … just be certain you can pull it off!
  • Take on a summer intern. Good for you and good for them!
  • No business, large or small, should fail to have a website. If you haven’t got a website…get one!
  • Create a logo! This goes to the heart of building your brand and lends credibility to your business.
  • Start using social media. Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Don’t skimp on the costs of your presentation materials. They will be in your prospect’s possession much longer than you will be in their presence.
  • Never miss an opportune moment to drop the name of a well-known client.

No one is suggesting you con your customers. These suggestions merely acknowledge the fact that perception is reality. For example, a major airline conducted a study which it found that crumbs on the floor and tray table increased passenger anxiety. It makes perfect sense. Consciously or unconsciously, passengers equated the sloppy housekeeping with potentially shabby maintenance work on the airplane.

Altering the client’s perception of your firm is in no way deceptive. It is simply a case of your business putting its best foot forward. It doesn’t matter what your enterprise is, from an accounts receivable factoring firm to a landscaping business, projecting the image of size and substance is a key to success.


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