Growth is not always a preferred option but, as a business coach, I often suggest that the goal is to always appear as if you are steadily increasing business, even in the slowest periods. Creating the illusion of being bigger than you are can be a smart advantage to small businesses - when done right.
Limited resources are often a major issue for small business management, pushing owners to select one project at a time, resulting in profits at a snail’s pace. So how can you overcome this obstacle? Here are my business coaching tips:
Start with your brand. Even the smallest business can afford to consistently present an identifiable brand. Presenting a united front is one of the strongest ways to appear bigger - as it implies that even on the most niche level, you have a recognisable product. Invest in a smart branding strategy and incorporate it into your business model.
Upgrade your email. One of the worst things for a small business owner is to appear that - small. Presenting a business card with a @gmail.com or @hotmail.com address implies that you were too cheap to even purchase a domain name. Ensure that all email addresses associated with the business are as personalised and professional as possible. A good model is always (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While you are at it, take another look at your title. Customise and upsize when it comes to your title as the owner. Don’t simply write yourself off as “CEO” or “Owner”. Specialise and add your experience right in the name - do some research of other similar people in your industry - starting with networking resources like LinkedIn which are free.
Consider customising your phone number and never be the first point of contact for incoming calls. Your assistant is your gate keeper and immediately implies to the caller that you are busy, important and professional. If your business is you, you might want to engage a virtual office to professionally handle your incoming calls. Google Voice might be a good option for number customisation.
Take time and invest the money in professional and streamlined promotional materials. Skip the free template business cards, avoid cheap marketing ploys and gimmicks. These days it doesn’t cost much to have a clean website, innovative business card and videos, blogs and flyers that actually attract attention. Moral is, don’t slap something together - people can tell!
Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.