How to Make your Business Appear Bigger than it is
When mentoring small business owners who wish to build their personal or company profile I notice one thing every one of you has in common: you are stuck on the idea that it’s important to impress your peers.
The aim of every business (and every person) should be to grow. If you keep swimming in the same murky waters of your local business networking club or professional interest group you won’t grow at the speed you need to. You’ll stay small and nothing interesting will happen to you.
Your peers will not make you successful.
Your peers can only hold you back and keep you small.
A question I’m commonly asked is this:
“How do we make our business appear bigger than it is?”
If by ‘bigger’ you mean more mature, more professional, more creative, more innovative, more reliable or more impressive then you need to start by climbing out of the pool you’re currently swimming in and dive into the much bigger pool where you’ll find the type of clients who – by commissioning you – will enable you to become all of these things and more.
I make it sound easy. That’s because I believe it is easy. What’s hard is making the decision to change.
This is really common in the small business community: we hope that by being well-behaved and working hard and doing all the right things that one day we’ll get to where we deserve to be. Someone with power is going to notice us and success will surely follow.
This is not the entrepreneurial mind-set. It’s not even a sensible business mind-set.
If you truly want to build either a personal or business profile in any industry, here are some of the crucial steps that will help you to do that:
1. Have an opinion and express it all over the place. Write about it. Talk about it. Live it.
2. Be seen. Not at piddley little local networking meetings but in places where your ideal clients hang out. At the conferences they attend. On the TV programmes they watch. In the newspapers they read.
3. Believe you deserve to be heard. That voice in your head that tells you that you shouldn’t make a noise about yourself? We all have it. Some of us ignore it and make a noise anyway. The name for people like us is ‘successful’.
4. Ask yourself how you would feel if you saw a less competent competitor grab the limelight that should rightfully be yours? The only answer to this question is ‘crap’. Don’t let it happen: act.
5. Here’s a fact: the press will print interesting stories. So come up with interesting stories. A product launch or award win is not an interesting story (sure, your local paper may print it, but don’t expect a call from BBC Breakfast). PR is your friend, but be interesting, be challenging, be daring. Newspapers print stories people want to read, so create press opportunities for yourself, either by having something genuinely interesting to say or by making something genuinely interesting happen.
This is not new thinking. In the previous millennium Gandhi so quotably said ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. However, your thinking needs to be new, innovative and disruptive. If you can’t join a dialogue in a way that gets you heard, start one. Be opinionated. Use PR skills to get others talking about you. Take public speaking seriously as a means to express of your leadership position within your industry. Light a fire under your colleagues and the world. These are the characteristics of successful business people. This is how to appear bigger than you are.