As a small business there is a perception that the quality of the service we provide is directly linked to our size. The question is whether that perception is true and if it is, are we actually the ones creating that perception? Here’s what I have learned to consider when projecting your business image.
Perception trumps ability
I’ve noticed that small businesses have a habit of talking a lot about what they can’t do and as a firm believer in your words shaping your actions, once you’ve told everyone about all the things you can’t do why on earth would they pay you for the one thing you can do? Investigate how you can help them, maybe you personally are not a good fit but you won’t know that until you sit down with the person and find out what there problem really is. If you can’t help them personally, be there problem solver but don’t be the company that couldn’t do anything.
Your staff is your PR
Staffing is a hot button issue even for huge corporations, but it is even more important for small businesses. I would argue that it is the most important thing because whether you like it or not, whichever member of your staff a potential customer encounters become the PR rep for your company. As a small business, the odds of running into a customer at the grocery store or drycleaner’s is very high so if you have a staff member who isn’t a strong ‘people person’ think about how that will affect your company’s potential clients.
Being small does not make professionalism disappear
Small businesses are able to do something that huge corporations just can’t do, we can be there. We can follow up personally on an issue and we can personally handle a situation because we are that close to the customer. Being that close to the customer does have its problems however, some business think that because they are strong they don’t have to be formal. They don’t have to return phone calls within 24 hours; they don’t have to work to insist on specific behavior from their employees. They don’t have to dress like they are going to work and they don’t have to always do a good job. The truth is, since you are a small business no one is going to cut you a break when you mess up in these areas.
Being small can have enormous advantages, but it can also cut deep. Make sure that your small business passes the test and get ready to take over the world!