“The bigger the better” is a phrase we’re all familiar with. It’s true too, no matter how much many of us wish it weren’t so. The first thing you’re supposed to do when you see a bear in the woods is to lift your arms high, puff up your chest as big as you can, and yell as loud as your voice box will allow. Many in the animal kingdom have also learned this trick, such as the peacock who use their massive tail feathers to make themselves appear bigger to predators, and each other.
As humans, we’re told to “fake it til’ you make it” because it’s a well-known fact that if you can effectively pull off looking the part of a big shot, you might just get lucky enough to actually make it to the big time. We all puff up our resumes (even if just slightly) to give ourselves an edge up on the competition. This also happens in business. In fact, it’s essential to attract a diverse range of clients and/or lucrative partnerships to elevate the business.
How to get this done?
Keep in mind that you needn’t lie. Even an already large company needs to do everything they can to elevate their image. Here’s some easy tips and tricks all companies can use to appear bigger to future clients and partners.
Rent a virtual address in a prestigious location
Renting an office on “The Loop” business district in Chicago will go a long way toward making your company look large and highly successful. It will also cost you a lot of money. Commercial office space in The Loop is currently closing in on $40 per square foot a month, and it’s not going down anytime soon. You want to look bigger, while still saving money so you can actually grow, right?
The advantage of a virtual address is that it’s an actual address, and costs way less money. You can officially register your business to a virtual address, receive mail there and have it forwarded to you. In most cases, you’ll often have limited monthly access to the physical office and its business amenities should you need it. Clients can even drop by and be greeted by a receptionist, who can inform them that you’re unavailable and take a message on your behalf.
Another advantage of using virtual addresses in your business is that once the budget allows, you can rent multiple around the country, even the world, which conveys a big presence when people start diving into your company details.
Offer 24/7 toll free phone service
This can be scaled in a number of ways. A simple answering service where people call, and are told by a receptionist that your team is busy with other clients, and that they’ll forward a message and have someone call right back is a great strategy. This makes the company look big and very busy (Ie., popular). Not a bad impression to make. You can instruct them when it’s appropriate to forward calls to you, and when to take a message and offer a reasonable time the caller can expect a call back.
You can also hire a couple or three receptionists working separate shifts to answer your phone 24 hours a day, training them to answer common questions and queries, set up meetings, and even troubleshoot issues. This too, can get expensive, making the cloud a popular option. You can hire and train virtual receptionists to do this same task at a fraction of the price.
Finally, several companies offer scale-able reception service, which is an even more attractive option for a growing company, since they’ll have an entire team of professionals answering phones 24/7, meaning they can scale infinitely when the phones start to get busy. Some of these firms offer full-on call center services if your customers require technical assistance, or you require help to make sales over the phone.
Form an LLC from day one
Assuming you want to make your company look bigger than it is because you actually want to grow bigger, there’s no disadvantage to forming an LLC straight away. Yes, it will cost a bit to get the legalities out of the way, but nothing but tax savings and a larger image of your company will come thereafter. Even better, you can choose the state with the lowest taxes such as Delaware, Nevada, Wyoming, and several others, and find a virtual office in that state to register to.
This process can be completed online these days, at much reduced rates over finding a business lawyer in the state you’re incorporating. It should now be very obvious just how easy it is to make your company look bigger with just a few simple steps.
Use “we” language on all business materials, including website
This should be common sense for anyone operating a business. However, it’s tough for some solo entrepreneurs to temper their ego enough to claim they have a team working behind them when they’re the only one doing the work. Most customers want to do business with companies that have a team working below deck to keep the ship’s engine running smoothly, and to prevent leaks from occurring.
Even though you’re a loud and proud solopreneur, suggesting there’s more than one of you available makes you look more attractive to any customer or potential partner. Particularly when deadlines (prospective customers), or perceived value (potential partners) are part of the onlooker’s decision.
Make sure your website is professionally designed and runs flawlessly
This should also be common sense. However, there are still a lot of so-called business websites out there that load way too slow, or simply don’t load at all due to poor maintenance (or because the owner never checks it at all).
WordPress is a good option, but does have some learning and maintenance hoops. Platforms like Squarespace show promise, but can also get pricey. Regardless, you have to keep the site running flawlessly, and have adequate scale-able hosting to handle however much traffic you’ll get at any given time.
The site should have a contact form, your headquarters’s address (or addresses) and toll free number listed in the footer, and all navigation buttons should work as intended. Same goes for shopping cart functionality — don’t lose sales due to a poorly functioning site! If you don’t have time to test, tweak, and manage your website, hire someone to do it for you.
There are many other ways to make your business look bigger than it really is, but those above will definitely get the ball rolling on making your business looking bigger, and getting more eyes noticing your brand.