5 Hacks for Making Your Start-up Business Look Bigger Than It Is

Colin Ashmore
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On: 29 Sep 2016
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5 Hacks for Making Your Start-up Business Look Bigger Than It Is

Customers want to be treated like number one but not actually be customer number one. Yet big businesses aren’t built overnight. We look at five easy ways to make even the smallest start-up look bigger and more established from day one.

When is a start-up not a start-up? As far as customers are concerned, it’s when it doesn’t look like one. Investors may be keen to “get in on the ground floor”, but customers prefer not to feel like guinea pigs. Luckily for you, technology makes it easy and affordable to make your start-up look bigger and more established than it really is, without resorting to a fake “Est. 1983” on your letterhead.

Hack #1: Use your website as your shop window.

The vast majority of today’s start-ups don’t have a physical shop window (unless they’re actually a shop!), which means potential customers need other ways to look at their goods or services and to get a feel for their size, style and position in the marketplace. Potential customers expect to find all this and more on your company website. It goes without saying that you should have one, and yet some businesses rely solely on a Facebook page. This gives a less professional impression and is limited both in terms of style and the amount of information it can carry.

Whether you choose to sell your product or service directly online or use your website simply as the digital equivalent of a 20th century glossy corporate brochure, it should be those two things: glossy and corporate. You can buy website templates relatively cheaply off-the-shelf and customise them with your own content, colours and imagery. If you’re working from a serviced office space, or even from your spare bedroom, the money you’re saving on swanky premises and a receptionist will be well spent on an impressive website, and it’ll have a similar effect.

Remember, people only look into a shop window. They need a door to come in through. Which leads to…

Hack #2: Make it easy for customers to contact you.

If your website has done its job, potential customers will be making their way down the sales funnel. Now they want to contact you – but not so much that they will persevere if it’s too difficult.

You need to ensure there are seamless options for visitors to your website to contact you, such as:

  • A link that launches an email already populated with an address when clicked, like this: email us now.
  • A highly visible phone number, which should also be clickable to call when browsing the website on a phone.
  • A request-a-call-back form like we have here: http://www.three.ie/business/contact-us/
  • Links to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages (see Hack #4).

As far as the phone number is concerned, what is most important is that it should put the caller straight through to the person they need to talk to. Since you’re a start-up we can assume you won’t have numerous departments and dozens of employees, but that is all the more reason for ensuring the customer can always get through. A phone ringing out in an empty room because you’ve gone for a coffee is not a sound you want to hear at any start-up. If your landline number is unanswered, it should divert directly to your mobile phone. A solution like 3Connect will give the customer a seamless experience and a professional impression of your company, regardless of whether you are at your desk, the bank or a café. They won’t know. They’ll just know their call was answered.

Hack #3: Use full names for email.

Nothing gives away the small size of a company like an email address that uses only the first name, e.g. tom@companyname.com. You’re telling everybody that your company is small enough to not be concerned with more than one person sharing the same name.

In some ways your email address is an indicator to potential customers, just as a physical address was in the past. Which of the following looks and sounds to you like the bigger business: tom@companyname.com or tom.smith@companyname.com? Email addresses should all follow the same convention too, whether it’s firstname.surname (tom.smith) or initial-surname (tsmith). As well as looking like it had some thought behind it, which again gives a professional impression, it makes it easier for people to contact you and your colleagues.

Hack #4: Create a company page on LinkedIn.

A company LinkedIn page is much more than another way to present your business and for customers to contact you – although they are worthy reasons to use it. It can also give you an effective, under-the-radar method of presenting your credentials to prospects with direct, private contact.

If you encourage employees and contractors to list their work experience with you, customers can see who you’ve worked with and for, assess your capabilities and also gain additional reassurance about the credibility of your business.

Hack #5: Secure your data.

We’re giving you the good kind of hacks in this post, but if you think the bad kind only happen to the big guys, like Yahoo, you’re unfortunately mistaken. All sizes of businesses are vulnerable to data breaches and hacker attacks. That’s one kind of press you certainly do not want in the early days of establishing your business, not to mention the fines, penalties and investigations that follow. Prioritise Managed Security as part of your IT spend and you can have confidence as you build your customer database and grow your business.

Request a call back from our Business Advice Team for more information on growing your start-up through effective communications technologies.