Running a startup can be exciting. You are starting a new business and looking for ways that your smaller company can carve out a space while competing with your larger and more established competitors.
One of the main problems for startups is that they don’t have the name recognition or credibility of larger companies that have been around for longer. Your small business might be just as good as its more established competitors, but for many customers and clients, bigger does mean better.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to make your startup look like a larger operation than it really is. By making some smart business decisions and using the right technologies, you can give clients the impression that your startup is a much larger operation and benefit from the perception of being a bigger and more established company.
Email can be one of the most important tools for marketing a new company. It is cost effective, it offers a good return on investment and it is a good way to keep your brand in the minds of potential customers. As an added benefit, emails can be used to make your company look much more active and more responsive. By using email automation, you can streamline these processes and make sure the right emails go to the right people at the right time.
For an email campaign to work, you are going to need to collect email addresses, and your website is one of the best assets for building an email list. If you have a newsletter or promotional materials that you want to send out to potential customers and clients, you could use a pop-up that asks for their information. Some people might tell you that pop-ups hurt engagement, but this is not entirely true. If your pop-ups are relevant to the content on the site and they offer some value to the visitor, they won’t impact user engagement and you will be able to collect email addresses for your campaigns.
If you are smart, you will use a number of different software solutions to automate and streamline various business functions. You’ll have software for bookkeeping, inventory management, billing, customer relationship management, human resources, etc.
All of these different types of software can work great for their intended tasks, but you lack efficiency if they cannot communicate with each other. When a business has a fragmented application architecture with systems that are all running separately, it creates more work for you and your staff. It means that a single event could require the same information to be entered into multiple different systems and this will cost you time and increase the potential for human error.
While potential customers might not look at all of these back-office functions, the extra work that goes into managing these different systems can take time away from the primary mission of the company. When you are selecting applications to manage all of these functions, try to find software solutions that are made to work with each other. You also have software integration platforms that could be used to manage all of your existing systems under one dashboard.
Every modern business should have a website. For most customers, your website is going to be the first point of contact and it is also going to make the first impression. If your website looks cheap or poorly designed, it is going to have a significant influence over the way that customers and clients view your brand.
You want to design your website with a modern, professional look. Use quality images, graphics and content. You want to make sure it delivers a good user experience and that it is easy for visitors to navigate and achieve their goals. As an additional point, you also want to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. More people are searching the internet with mobile devices than ever before. If your site does not look good or deliver a good experience on mobile, you are going to lose most of the customers that encounter your brand in this way.
As a startup, you might not have the budget to hire a ton of employees to handle every single project or task. If you find that you can’t afford a large number of regular employees but you often need work that exceeds the time or skills of your regular staff, you can outsource the work to freelancers online. You could hire a person to act as your virtual assistant, graphic designers, content writers, customer support professionals and more.
Right now, there are almost countless platforms where people look for work online, and you can find people with all sorts of different skill sets. Hiring people on an as-needed basis can be more affordable than hiring permanent staff, and you can always fill the job as a permanent position when your company grows to that point. Outsourcing is a great way to upscale your output when you can’t afford new employees, and it is a smart solution for companies that are trying to grow without making big commitments to new staff members.
If you want to give the impression that your startup is bigger than it is, you need to stop running your company from your mobile phone – or at least give the impression that you are not running the business from your personal phone. Large companies use private branch exchange systems to manage their telephones. A PBX is a type of telephone systems that allows you to switch between different lines, have different extensions for different people, make extension-to-extension calls and transfer calls to different extensions.
A traditional PBX system is going to be too expensive for most startups, but you can have access to all of these features by using a hosted PBX. A hosted PBX is a cloud-based solution that works on VOIP. Depending on the service provider and the plan you choose, you can have as many extensions as you may need, different line switching and hold features, a toll-free number and some of them even offer smartphone apps that allow you to have mobile extensions on your PBX system.
Project Management Platforms
Startups often have people working from different locations or handling tasks while they are out of the office. You may also have online freelancers working on different projects to help upscale your operation. With this type of fractured work environment, it can be difficult to keep track of progress and to manage projects efficiently.
Project management platforms like Trello and Asana can be the perfect solution for startups that have employees working from different locations at different times. With these platforms, you can create projects, assign tasks, set deadlines and track progress. They are cloud-based solutions, so people can access them from anywhere they have an internet connection, and it offers an easy way for team members to collaborate and stay up to date on projects that they may be working on.
It might feel like you are being a little deceptive by trying to find ways to make your startup look bigger, but there is nothing wrong with putting forward the best image of your company that you can. In many professions, you have to dress the part if you want to be the part, and the same goes for small startups that are trying to compete with larger companies.
About the Author:
Alexander writes about the effective habits that make up a happy and healthy lifestyle. He is the owner and writer at Biz Think Tank. You can read more of his writing there or on his personal website.