Our CEO Stephen Blythe recently commented on a couple of interesting LinkedIn discussions about how small business can attract the attention of larger companies and get their business.
Stephen adds that improving your image and ‘looking like a big company’ will help.
How can you “upsize” your image?
- Get a quality phone and voice mail system. Have separate lines for home and business if you are home-based, so the kids aren’t answering your customers’ calls.
- Invest in your presentation materials. Get the highest-quality website, business cards, and printed materials you can afford. Make a polished first impression.
- Exceed expectations. Deliver more than you promise and put your customers first. This will keep your customers coming back and deliver you the referrals you need to grow.
But, ultimately, people buy from people that they know or trust. This requires networking with the people that own or run the companies that you are looking to do business with. If you aren’t able to establish that personal connection and trust relationship, the big guys will continue to purchase from companies that are proportionately sized in their industries.
Other options are:
- Identify a niche market or services and focus on that for the larger accounts you seek. How can you add value that your competition does not provide?
- Partner with another company that already has those contacts and pay a referral / introduction fee.
Once you’ve snagged that big contract with a big company, what happens when you don’t have the resources to meet their deadline?
Stephen emphasizes communication. Determine and evaluate your options and communicate your options to your client, ASAP.
The client may be willing to extend the timeframe to have you complete the job, or the time frame may be critical to them and they would prefer that you find additional resources, or they may absorb some of the work with their resources and your direction.
Communications and setting expectations usually solves a majority of the issues for a reasonable client. Being kept in the dark with unattainable expectations will only lead to an unhappy client.
How does your small business attract and retain those big customers? Let us know!