Regardless of size of income or client base, businesses all have a few things in common. Their main goal is profitability, with efficiency and flexibility both acting as a glue holding everything together. However, on the surface, smaller companies are often limited in what they can do compared to their larger counterparts.
The main reason for this is money, or lack thereof. With money comes the ability to afford major infrastructure and staffing levels. However, it’s not impossible to adopt some of the tactics used by multinationals to rake in the big bucks. Here are a few ways in which your business can do just that, all without having to break the bank or overstretch yourself.
Take Customer Service Online
It might seem like a big task for a small business, but good customer service can be done just like the big brands with surprisingly little cost or effort. To deal with feedback, complaints and compliments, it’s essential to get all over social media. Pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram et al will allow customers to get in touch with you for free.
Many of the biggest brands have dedicated Twitter accounts, acting as online help desks – Asda are a prime example. If you do that for your business, you’ll have an additional channel for customers to contact you, plus you can respond straight away. It’ll only take a few minutes to set up, but make sure you can choose a memorable Twitter handle.
Hold Meetings in Style
To make an impression like the biggest businesses, meetings are very important. To give yourself the best possible chance, choose a venue that has the works – free Wi-Fi, comfortable seats, a big screen for presentations and slideshows and refreshments. The location should be easy to get to and have excellent transport links as well. London emphatically ticks both of these boxes.
You don’t need to hire a space over a period of months or weeks. A one-off booking of a meeting space such as that from citizenM will more than suffice. If it looks good and has everything you need, you will be able to get that deal done and show your prospective clients that you can compete with the biggest names in your industry.
Be in Several Places at Once
On the subject of locations, having one base for the day-to-day management of your business seems like the best option, particularly if on a tight budget. However, for minimal cost, you could establish postal addresses and phone numbers in other parts of the country. PO Boxes are great for that purpose, particularly if you work in a shared office space or from home.
For a little over £200 a year, a PO Box address can help to make your business seem every bit as professional as your larger rivals, saving on the cost of moving to a larger office. As for phone numbers, a virtual landline number with a code like 0845 or a London code will add a further veneer of respectability. They work by directing calls to your virtual number over to your personal number.
Hire Multitalented Staff
For efficiency’s sake, it’s worth looking at hiring a member of staff with more than one specialism. If, say, your business needs someone with marketing skills and the ideal candidate is also adept at admin, why not ask them to do a bit of both? Having one person do two jobs – half the day for marketing and the other for admin – will save on paperwork and add flexibility to your workforce.
To make sure hiring multitalented staff works for your business, it’s useful to check out CVs for any proof of skills. See if they’re equally strong in more than one area and identify where you could do with an extra pair of hands. If any prospective new employee is skilled in two related areas e.g. customer service and sales, then that’s all the better.
With someone covering more than one base, it effectively gives your business a full team, helping you to compete with larger brands on a smaller budget.