Stop Acting Like A Small Business
When you’re starting out, yes, you’re small. However, if you want to grow and gain credibility in your field with your prospects, then start acting like you want to.
There are a few things you can do immediately to communicate with the world that you mean business. It’s important to understand something first: perception is reality. How people perceive your business is how you will be treated. In today’s business environment, small businesses have just as much opportunity to grow as their larger counterparts without the bureaucracy holding them down. I’ll forewarn you, you’ll be able to sense some hostility in this article. It’s frustrating to see so much potential in a business and yet they sabotage themselves with a shotty online presence.
Get your coffee.
I’m not saying don’t embrace the fact that you’re small, because it IS an advantage in many occasions. What I’m saying is look like you at least can take on the bigger jobs to help you grow. Small business owners have so much on their plate and it’s hard to manage every detail. We’re busy focusing on customer work and follow ups. That’s all amazing stuff, but it won’t help you get to where you want to be. In this digital world you have an opportunity to tell the world about what you do in the most fantastic way, yet, if your website looks like it came out the 1990’s or out of a box at wix, you’re unlikely to win over the big spenders.
Your online presence can give the appearance that you are either worthy of a spend or not. Period.
1. Dump the aol, hotmail, gmail, cheapmail – If you’re sending someone an email with @gmail on the end, you’re not speaking professionalism. It doesn’t take a lot of technical skill to register a domain with Google and set up a G-suite account. It’s $6 bucks a month and it will make you look like you’re for real.
2. Google My Business – This is a MUST have for your to show up in local search. GMB is part social platform, part phone book, part Angies List. It’s where customers can see work, review you and PICK UP THE PHONE to call you!
It’s not about just setting it up, it’s about putting a really awesome cover picture and logo on your account. Upload images of your work, your team and your office. This is often the ONLY place your prospects will find you. If they see some hokie account with poor images, they will just scroll to the next listing, YOUR COMPETITION.
3. Your Website – Please please please, if I hear one more time “I don’t need a website,” I’m going to scream!!!! When I talk to entrepreneurs about their web presence, I often here this. I’m not going to sell people on this anymore. If they really believe that, they aren’t my ideal customer. I’ve also had customers come to me and say, I’m not getting anything from my website. When I go look at it, the site looks like it was designed in the 1990’s. Be really careful with who you work with for building your site. They should be building a mobile friendly site on a strong platform like WordPress. I’ve also seen the local telephone book turned digital media company provide these websites that all look the same and cost 200-400 dollars a month. It’s robbery. Stay off of Wix and Weebly and stay away from the “Local Media” companies. A good website will run you about $2500. If you do it properly, the ROI is forever. So for the sake of education, here’s why you need a website, in case there’s a few of you out there.
a. Google will index the domain and the words on the site to present it to people searching for your product/service.
b. The old days of paper portfolios are gone. This is where you can show off your work, your team, you and your clients. It’s your business resume and you don’t have to mail anything out.
c. This is the first place your customers will go to get access to information like your phone number, hours, menu, services, or (if you’re really serious about service) how to care for that floor once you’ve installed it or book an appointment with you.
d. This is where the selling happens in today’s environment. People won’t take your cold calls, but they will definitely visit your website. Your site should entice, engage and compels people to work with you.
4. Loose the homemade logo – There are so many free design tools out there to make a professional HIGH RESOLUTION logo. There’s no excuse to be fronting some ghetto logo made from a cartoon charecter you found online. Sign up for a free account on Canva, search logo templates and make something your prospects will subconciously say “wow, I’m calling them”
5. Stop playing phone tag – While I know you still like to “talk to people” on the phone, you’re a minority. Most people don’t want to make a call anymore. They want self serve stuff like, scheduling a service or hair appointment. There are many people who won’t order from a restaurant if they can’t order online. They don’t want to call that pizza place that puts you on hold for 15 minutes and then asks you to repeat yourself 10 times. They want to go to a website, place an order and get on with their lives. Set up something so your customers can schedule with you or order from you online. You’re going to miss a big piece of the market if you don’t get with the times. Give your customers the experience they are expecting in today’s digital world. Oh, by the way, think of the man hours you save!
5. Stop working for Facebook – You promote your business like a crazy person on Facebook with no other digital footprint to be found, but when FB decides they don’t want to play around with the small businesses anymore, you are up the creek with no paddle (web presence). It can happen, they have been squeezing business pages so much so that having a business page on FB is almost pointless. Whenever you direct customers to your FB page, it just helps FB a lot and helps you very little. Continue to promote on FB, but ALWAYS drive people to your site from the platform. Give yourself the SEO bump and stop working for Facebook. You have no control on the decisions of Mark, so if he decides he doesn’t like us small business folk we need a place to land. Hopefully, you’ll heed this advice and start bring people to your website FROM Facebook.
I’m not saying don’t embrace the fact that you’re small, because it IS an advantage in many occasions. What I’m saying is look like you, at least, can take on the bigger jobs to help you grow. Small business owners have so much on their plate and it’s hard to manage every detail. We’re busy focusing on customer work and follow ups. That’s all amazing stuff, but it won’t help you get to where you want to be. In this digital world you have an opportunity to tell the world about what you do in the most fantastic way, yet, if your website looks like it came out the 1990’s or out of a box at wix, you’re unlikely to win over the big spenders.
The message here is raise your standards in the way you present your business to your prospects.
CEO of Workbea
Make progress, not excuses.
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