Okay… First, let’s be clear… We are talking about the perceived size of your company, not your agenda.
Second… We know company size can be measured in a number of ways: employees, gross revenue annually, physical plant or equipment, etc. Competition for business has been getting aggressive lately, since more companies are dealing with competitors they haven’t had in the past thanks to the growing popularity of internet search. The phone book is dead, if you haven’t heard, and your business is competing with businesses both far and near. How does it stack up? What your company looks like online often forms the perception customers have about it… Whether it represents reality or not. Trust factor and professionalism is now built online before anyone even picks up the phone or shoots you an email.
Lately, we’ve been helping a bunch of companies deal with the perception that they are small and possibly incapable of handling the big, important stuff. Small is a relative term. Small for some companies means “we only have 53 employees,” while for others it may mean “our 5 person operation is the best and brightest in the business.” The challenge isn’t your size, necessarily. The problem is the perception your clients and prospects have about your size as it relates to their belief you can effectively provide what they need from you. It doesn’t matter whether you are fully capable, what matters is whether your customers believe you are fully capable given what they see/hear/read of your organization.
That being said, whether you are a 50-100 person operation and ready to grow regionally, or the small-business owner with 4-10 employees who is ready to take on larger projects, both of you may have a similar problem. So… How do you “Super Size” your operation to catch the next big fish? How do you Super Size your marketing footprint (reach and penetration for you marketing nerds out there) to expand into new markets? How do you combat your competition online to win back those customers you lost because your customers’ perception of you is broken and busted? How do you do that? (No… up-sizing your Yellow Pages ad isn’t the answer!) Should you fake it until you make it, so to speak? Should you have a fancy design and marketing team spin you up to look like something bigger, stronger, faster? …something you’re not, even though it’ll help you win? Hmmm… There’s another way.
The secret, however, is to not really fake it. Your company is ready to grow, and has the talent, capacity and capabilities to get the job done and possibly better than any of your competitors. What you may lack is the image or professional look of a well-branded company. Oh no… You’re thinking… Here she goes again with this branding stuff. Haven’t we moved past all that branding fluff and stuff by now? Isn’t it really just pumped up graphic design and fancy promotional items? Ugh… No. Not if it’s done right, with the right process, and well-developed strategy. Branding can do it for ya!
To get started, ask yourself… and try to be honest :
- Does my next largest competitor look larger and better equipped to attract the business?
- Is my website and marketing material geared toward our old market, or the customers we really want now?
- Is my sales team prepared to have compelling conversations with larger more lucrative clients?
- Do I have the capacity/capability should we start closing the bigger sales?
- Do I have service teams that can reach and perform the jobs in new markets?
- Do we have a plan to brand-market and attract the new clients?
Depending on how you answer these 6 questions you may not be ready to attack a new market or expansion. Either way, proper branding can help you establish a professional image based upon your real differentiators. This will get you moving in the right competitive direction. From our experience we know this: if you can at least present a “slightly larger than you are” image focused on your real value proposition, you can start to reach out into new markets, put up a better fight against encroaching competitors, and find the growth you are looking for from the customers you really want to have.