How to operate like a big company (even if you\'re not)

The larger your company appears to the outside world, the more likely it is to garner trust. Some might argue that image is everything, but looking like a big company is more than that. Yes, you need to present your products and services in a professional way, but you also need to be able to operate like the big guys if you want to compete for their customers.

First, there is perception. There are a number of ways to look bigger than you are:

  • Have a solid identity. Establish it and maintain it so that who you are is reinforced at every turn and with every action. If you don't already have one, invest in getting a decent, professional logo done by a graphic designer. Think about a slogan you can use that reflects your business philosophy and use it on your website, business card, letterhead and other print materials. And don't stop there, your logo and tagline should appear in the email signatures of all your staff, and, if appropriate, on company vehicles. Consider uniforms for staff members that make service calls.
  • Create standards for every interaction with your client. Interactions could be correspondence, invoices, statements, memos, voice messages, e-mails. That way, your professionalism is reinforced, regardless of who in your company is interacting. It makes every correspondence and process into a winning example of your professionalism, adding to your value in your clients' eyes.
  • Have a powerful, smart website. Nothing makes a small company appear larger than a good, professional-looking site. If you are understaffed and can't always instantly reply to customer inquiries, make sure your website has auto-responder tools to communicate when people contact your business via your site.
  • Forge alliances. Seek out other companies that complement what you do to expand your business offerings to customers and prospects and team up on proposals.
  • Rent space for important meetings. If your office is either too small, or not very attractive, rent hotel meeting space and have lunch catered, or investigate if local office buildings rent unused space by the hour or day.
Walking the talk

Now that you have a big company persona, you need to be able to perform like one. But it can be difficult to act like a big company if your information communication technology behaves as if it's been cobbled together with duct tape and chicken wire. Remember, the focus of your business is to successfully sell your product or service and ideally grow or even expand into other areas. But how can you keep your eyes on the prize if you are distracted by frequent technology infrastructure decisions, unprojected higher costs as your company grows and, worst of all, disruptive and costly downtime when things go wrong?

Here are some enterprise-level solutions for your small business that will help you compete with the big players... easily and affordably:

  • Outsource your phone system. Eliminate the cost of owning and servicing your phone system with a hosted service, like Hosted PBX. Not only do you have 24/7 access to key support staff, but if you are a multi-location business or employ a mobile workforce, Hosted PBX gives you the advantage of all phone lines and long distance calls between offices included in the cost of the service. Having such a system in place also allows employees to literally work from anywhere, eliminating any downside of staff being away from their traditional desks. And it's so reliable that your customers will enjoy instant, seamless access to your company's representatives. It's also scalable, so it will grow with you.
  • Give your staff the bandwidth they need. Does your company require extensive bandwidth? On one hand, you don't want to pay for expensive bandwidth you don't need but, on the other hand, you want a system that can grow when you need it. Business Ethernet Xtended (BEX) utilizes a new technology offering businesses the high-quality, high-speed service that uses your existing phone infrastructure instead of fibre – at a fraction of the cost. Your bandwidth is not shared, so your traffic is congestion-free and reliable. And, like other Primus solutions, BEX is scalable.
  • Use an outsourced data centre. If you already own, or want to own, your own servers, then consider server colocation. By utilizing Primus Server Colocation services, you retain complete control over the operation and maintenance of your equipment, but with the luxury of having 24/7 technicians monitoring Primus' network and services to ensure optimal uptime and performance. If your servers are in need of expensive upgrades or are housed in an unsecure or inadequately cooled room without power redundancy, then consider completely outsourcing your data to a reliable and secure data centre. No more excessive downtime. No more having to be your own IT staff. No more data security concerns.

Perhaps the best way to act like a big company is to spend less time worrying about infrastructure and more time running your business. Remember, we are a leading national full service communications provider, known for providing enterprise-level solutions to small business, so feel free to contact Primus Business Services [link to] to discuss the best solutions for your Information and Communications Technology (ICT) needs.