How to make your new business look established

Specialist insight

How to make your new business look established

For many of us working in traditional office roles, venturing out as an entrepreneur and becoming our own boss sounds like a dream come true. But, as sole traders know, it isn’t easy. The failure rate for small businesses is high; in Singapore, it’s 70%, while in the US, it’s over 80%. Individuals starting out all over the world face the challenge of an often saturated market – research shows that one of the top four reasons a business fails is being out-competed by peers.

Keeping up with the big players
So how can small companies stand out from the crowd? One of the key elements to consider is a strong brand – and this starts with a professional image.
For individuals competing with mature businesses, it comes down to one thing: looking as established and market-leading as any of them. In other words, looking like a big company even when you’re your only employee.
Getting the best of both worlds
This may seem like a difficult task to accomplish without losing the agility of being a small company, but it’s by no means impossible if you can make use of new, flexible ways of working and ideas about workspaces. Let’s see how that works from a client perspective, with the three key stages where they’ll come into contact with your business – and how you can present a polished brand right from the start.
How does your client see you?
From first impressions to those important pitch meetings and post-conversion collaborations, you need to make sure your one-man-band is as slick and polished as it can be.
  1. First impressions. When you first reach out to a potential lead – or they start contacting you – giving off the image of an established company is crucial. Even if you work from home most of the week, using a service like a virtual office means you have a mailing address in a prestigious location and a local phone number with a professional answering service. A Regus survey found that over 78% of entrepreneurs in the UK, and 83% in South Africa believe that it’s imperative to have a professional location that makes them appear like a more established firm.
  2. Pitches and meetings. Regus studies show that globally around 1/3 of businesspeople believe that too small meeting rooms are a major inconvenience. Where a largely unused meeting space of your own can be a drain on overheads, sole traders can make use of flexible options instead. You can rent these only when you need them, giving you a professional space to meet clients that’s as good as any used by your competitors.
  3. Collaboration and catch-ups. These don’t stop after you’ve won that contract. Once you’re working on a project, you can still continue to convey that ‘larger business’ image without losing your flexibility. Accessing a service such as a videoconferencing suite gives you a professional way to hold your status catch-ups or regular meetings without compromising the benefits of remote working.
Building your brand to appear as a market-leading company even when you’re only a firm of one, doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the benefits of being a sole trader or a start-up. In fact, you can use that flexibility to your advantage – remaining agile while portraying a professional, well-established presence in the market.