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Fake it till you make it

10 ways to make your business appear bigger than it is. Rowena Murray

Mouse Mat and Mouse Pad Red ShoesExcerpt taken from Australian Anthill – click here for the full article.

Being perceived as professional by outsiders is a common challenge for small businesses. Many startups reach a stage where meeting clients in cafes no longer cuts it. Here are 10 simple ways that your company can make itself look bigger than it is.

When pressed, many startup entrepreneurs will admit that if their customers knew how small their operations were, they wouldn’t be taken seriously.

While I’m not suggesting faking things you really need - like qualifications, permits or the stuff you need to stay out of jail - there are plenty of ways in business that faking it until you make it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Note: Faking it Til You Make It has nothing to do with lying or misrepresenting yourself. It’s about seeing what you can be, projecting it and delivering upon it.

  1. Dress Sharp
    I can’t help it. I judge books by covers. And most people in business do, too. Dress sharp. Enough said.
  2. Have a professional email address
    johnmeister79@hotmail.com isn’t exactly projecting a big business success story. Get your own email server, a hosting provider with your business domain name or investigate other cheaper/free alternatives (like Google Apps).
  3. Have a top quality business card
    We’ve all had it. That embarrassing moment when someone hands you a screamingly cheap business card. What do you say? “Oooow, well done. You obviously saved about $150 on printing a really good business card.” Your card is a communication tool. Use it to say you’re a quality product.
  4. Use different email addresses
    Set up accounts@mybigbusiness.com, sales@mybigbusiness.com, you@mybigbusiness.com, etc. - even if it is you who is responding to all of them. No one needs know you’re a one-man band.
  5. Have an impressive website.
    Impressive doesn’t mean expensive, but it’s your storefront to the world. For many clients, it’s the first stop when trawling for prospective suppliers. Don’t engage your mate’s son who’s studying design, unless he is going to create a cracking website you’ll be proud of.
  6. Get a proper workspace
    When “Let’s meet at Starbucks” means “I don’t have a smart space, so let’s meet at a café” it’s time to move on.
  7. Expand interstate (virtually)
    A business card with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane suggests a large operation, and in some cases it’s a necessity to have. It’s easy and inexpensive to benefit from virtual addresses where your mail and calls are answered and re-directed through a virtual receptionist and smart postal address.
  8. Get a smartphone
    If clients see you on the phone, show them your systems are the best. A brick mobile from the 1980s outdates you and your business. A smartphone can also make you more mobile and efficient.
  9. Have a ‘Yes, we can!’ attitude.
    If asked to do something you haven’t done but know you can achieve, say yes. Have the “Well how do we make this happen?” moment in private, then get on with the job at hand.