There’s no boss to answer to.
Cubicles are a thing of the past.
HR doesn’t hound you for your lost key fob.
And you’re probably reading this in a t-shirt and jeans. (Okay, pajamas.)
Either way – it’s just you. It’s just your home office. And your cat who occasionally plants his butt on your keyboard while you’re typing.
In other words – to the outside viewer – it’s not a particularly impressive or slick operation.
So maybe you wonder if you should make your business appear larger (more slick, more corporate) than it really is.
Well, it depends.
It depends on your client – who they are and what they want.
It depends on what you offer and what your clients love most about you.
It depends on what you want for yourself and the growth of your business.
So let’s address the common questions people ask when it comes to making their business look bigger than it really is…
Question #1 – Should I answer my own phone?
Hold it right there.
This is NOT an issue of “bigger” or “slicker.”
This is an issue of professionalism and boundaries.
I encourage my clients (yes, even in start-up!) not to answer their own phones. Instead, set up a voicemail system so that you return calls at a set time each day. When you answer your own phone, you consistently get interrupted all day long. No bueno.
If you have a virtual assistant, you can direct incoming calls to her number. However, I believe it’s good to have a number that will be yours for years to come. Your VA might not be around next month – but your business will. Get a number that can stay with you as you grow. Your VA can call in and retrieve messages for you.
And of course, when you have a scheduled client appointment, then yes, answer your own phone. (Yes, someone asked me this as a follow up question once.)
Question #2 – Should I get a dedicated business phone line?
Completely up to you. But please consider that when you grow, you may not want your cell phone to be your business number.
When I was in the music business, I spent the extra bucks for an 800 number. It was a game-changer. It Upleveled the professional image of my offices. It made music promoters more willing to call me back. It positioned me as a serious entertainer in the biz. So, I’ve always had one.
The advantage of a dedicated business line is that it’ll go with you no matter where you go. Now that everyone has free-minutes on cell phones, it’s not as big of a deal to get toll-free. But there’s still that subconscious public perception that toll-free numbers imply a bigger business.
Question #3 – Should I refer to myself as “We” instead of “I”?
If your client hires you because of the connection they have with you, or if you are the brand behind your company, then mostly use “I.” Don’t be afraid to be transparent here.
People seek relationship and connection. Trying to adopt corporate-speak by referring to your business as “we” is, well, kinda lame. It feels incongruent to your prospects and clients.
Again, you have to be the one to assess this. But remember that people buy from people, not from companies. So, use “we” with caution if your company is still just you. And please avoid the ever-ubiquitous “Sign up for our newsletter!” on your site!
Question #4 – Should I get a real office?
My company grew so fast that I purchased a 3500 square foot downtown office space. At the time I had several high-level clients who visited for full-day private sessions. (I don’t do this anymore.) One of my masterminds was also small enough to fit in that space. (This is no longer the case!) So it made sense to move my business into a centralized location.
Also, I suck at managing people virtually. Ask any VA I’ve ever had.
However, this is not the best choice for everyone! Consider these questions:
Do you like working from your home? Do you work well with a virtual team? Do you do most of your client work on the phone? If you answered yes, then celebrate! Working from a home office eliminates overhead costs and time-wasting commutes. Lucky you!
These days it’s the norm for successful entrepreneurs not to have an office, to work from cafes, and to gather in random meeting rooms. The pressure to have an office is often just outdated thinking.
Consider whether you are trying to appear bigger – or if you just need to be more strategic about your positioning and credibility, which is all about your marketing and content.
In general, I say don’t waste your time on appearing bigger. Instead, just keep delivering high value and content to your clients – and believe me, they won’t care if you occasionally have to blow cat hair off your laptop keyboard!
If you look below, you’ll see a place to leave a comment or question…
Fire away if you have a question on this topic. OR share a secret you’ve used to make your business appear bigger. Or let me know if this is a total non-issue for you!
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