How to Make your Small Biz Look Big (Without Growing Your Footprint) Jessica Lunk You’ve worked for corporate America, and know what big business feels like. You didn’t like it. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to grow revenue while staying true to your small business roots. While putting more boots on the ground can help your small business win more customers, hiring a bigger sales force increases payroll and requires more management on your part. Today, though, there are innovative ways your small business can live large, attracting the bigger fish with less work – and without growing your small biz footprint. Your Website If your online presence is still a static website that is more like an online brochure, it’s time to update. Building a CMS-based (content management system) website on a platform like WordPress can give you the power to update your website whenever you please. With frequent updates to your website – like a new blog post or timely homepage announcement – you’ll actually look like you’re in business. It’s reassuring to your prospects and customers knowing that there’s activity going on behind the scenes of your online calling card. Even if your business relies on highly personal relationships, you can bet that visiting your website online is one of the main steps prospects will take before they decide to do business with you. A modern, up-to-date website that clearly communicates who you are, what you do, and how you benefit your customers can make you look a lot larger – without adding a single person to your team. Social Media Social Media has been an excellent vehicle to help small businesses get their story across without making huge investments in traditional advertising like print, television and radio. But is your social media presence making you look smaller than you are, or larger than life? Keeping social media manageable and updating your small business profiles every day or two can make you look larger, while neglected profiles can sink your status. The golden rule of social media is to do a few channels very well instead of spreading yourself too thin. If most of your customers are on LinkedIn, but not active on Facebook, cut out your Facebook channel and focus your efforts on sharpening your LinkedIn presence. Do one or two social channels well to project a professional, polished image and to boost engagement with your social fans. CRM If an excel spreadsheet and business card collection are your main contact organization tools, it’s time to upgrade. A simple CRM can make your business look a lot bigger. For starters, you won’t be scrambling to find information. A small business CRM can track and organize your customer and prospects’ activity in real time. You’ll have the information you need at your fingertips to pick up hundreds of conversations right where you left off. You won’t lose your friendly small business vibe, but you will be able to handle more interactions with prospects and customers more effectively. That’s huge. When you’re driving business development and sales for your business, your time is much better spent building on relationships with customers who are ready to buy now than wasting time cold calling prospects. A small business CRM can track notes on a contact record, record email conversations, keep tabs on your contact’s interests, and let you know which prospects you should be in conversation with. A spreadsheet just can’t do that. Email Marketing As a small business owner, you’ve got your hands in sales and marketing, and your business is built on the personal relationships you’ve developed with your customers. With the right email marketing tools, you can continue to communicate in a personal, but scalable way. Instead of blasting the same message to everyone on your list, small business marketing automation tools allow you to reach many prospects and customers at a time with an individual message just for them. We like to think of it as personalized mail. Sending the right content to the right person at the right time makes them feel like you know them. It also lets you write emails that say exactly what you would say to a prospect or customer over lunch. But instead of sending hundreds of individual emails, small business marketing automation takes the administrative stuff off your plate,e giving you the freedom to get away from your machine. You don’t need lots of employees to help your business run smoothly. Invest in a few smart small business tools to build up your brand and pump up your profits.