Many home business owners and solo entrepreneurs face a credibility challenge. When potential clients come to their website and see that it's “just them”, they often end up leaving. People often prefer working with a large company rather than a solo entrepreneur, because they see large companies as more credible and more likely to deliver.
Fortunately, you don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in staff to make it seem like you're a large credible company. These tactics below can help you seem like you're a big company, even if you're flying solo.
Professional Call Answering Service
You can pay as little as $30 a month for a professional call answering service. The way it works is quite simple.
The number you list on your website actually goes to your call answering service. When someone calls that number, they hear a professional secretary answer the phone. For example, if you're a graphics designer, your “secretary” might answer:
“Thank you for calling Global Graphics, how may I direct your call?”
No matter what they say, the call gets routed to you. This creates the impression that you have a giant office and a large staff, when in reality you're working out of your home paying $30 a month to have someone answer your phones.
It makes a big impact.
Multiple Email Contacts
Don't have one email address be the catch-all address for everything in your site. Instead, use a different email for different things.
For example, on your contact page you can put:
For media inquiries, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For sales, contact: email@example.com
For reprints, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other inquiries, contact: email@example.com
This creates the sense that you have a large team. Again, you can man all these email accounts yourself.
Website Design and Marketing Materials
There's a very specific way to design websites and marketing materials to give off a “big brand” feel.
Your designs should make good use of white space. Colors should complement one another. The logo should be clearly and prominently displayed. It should look clean, simple and authoritative.
Avoid designing your own website at all costs, especially if you're going for a big brand look.
The Story of James Caan
James Caan is the founder of Humana, currently #79 on the Fortune 500 list. Though today he's a millionaire many times over, the beginnings of his story are much more humble.
He started by renting out a broom closet in an office. He named his company Alexander Mann to sound like it was founded by someone big and successful. There was nobody named Alexander Mann.
He created multiple names for himself and almost a virtual “office.” As a one man team, he created the impression that he had a huge workforce with which to service clients.
Many of today's success stories started out like this. It's okay to be small, but in many industries it's important to look big. Use these techniques to help you create that brand image to help you move beyond the founding stages.