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Peacocking 101: How Smaller Businesses Get Their Strut On

Appearances are crucial to running a business, even a smaller business. In fact, they might be even more crucial for smaller businesses. But, small businesses and home businesses start with a handicap. Unfortunately, there is a stigma that they’re less professional, less organized, and less likely to deliver. This is far from the truth in many cases, but still, the stigma stands. Here, we’re going to look at the tactic of “peacocking”: showing off a bigger and more prestigious business than you might currently have.

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Be part of the business, not the business

Those first impressions are going to be important not just for your own business relationship, but how your client or customer thinks of the brand, as well. For instance, when it comes to meetings, then you’re going to want the right setting. Traveling out to meet your client at their office or a cafe or coworking space closer to them avoids having to invite them to a small office or home office and makes it look like you’re taking the extra step to come meet them. Furthermore, when designing your business card, don’t use a title that makes you look like an owner or president of the company. Instead, introduce yourself as something like an “executive sales liaison.” You don’t need to lie about your position if they ask, but you want to make the business look a little bigger than just you alone.

Adopt a few signifiers of success

The business card is more than just a way for someone to get the details they need to get in contact. It’s a signifier of your professionalism. Adopting a few more of those signifiers can help you create an even better impression for the business. One of the most important, as petty as it may seem, is the location of your business and how people get in touch with your office. Relying on email alone or getting them to call your personal phone doesn’t make you look as established as you want. Instead, a virtual headquarters might be what you need. You can establish a business address (that isn’t just your home address) and have a virtual receptionist answer the phone for you.

It’s who you know

Being able to go peacocking on your own is a valuable talent. However, the front is going to be a lot easier to maintain if you have people to support it, as well. To that end, you have to be all about networking. Find networking groups in your area, and through social media such as on LinkedIn, and start building relationships with other entrepreneurs and business owners in the area. There’s nothing that can counteract any small business stigma like having a good word of mouth going around and having other professionals vouch for you.

Give your brand real impact

Perhaps you don’t have the reach, the size, or the marketing budget to really wow your market as much as you would like to. However, that’s not all it takes to make a brand with real impact. Being particular and focusing your budget on the most effective marketing materials instead of spending broadly may be the right solution. Furthermore, have a tighter, more targetted message might be a more effective strategy, as well. For instance, finding a niche, targeting a market that your competitors are currently missing or focusing on a service or quality that they don’t could help you steal the show.

Don’t be a paper tiger

If you’ve spent your time puffing yourself up, building an image, and making yourself look like the bee’s knees, then you had better be sure to follow up with excellent service and the ability to meet any promises you deliver. In part, this is about ensuring that you manage your client expectations so that they are realistic about what to expect from your business. On the other hand, it’s about being organized, committed, and energetic in your work. Either way, if you don’t do the work to support the image that you’re crafting for yourself, then it’s going to be as flimsy as a piece of paper. On the other hand, manage to pull it off and you can end up cementing precisely the kind of reputation you need.

Peacocking is more than just a clever tactic to get over the disadvantage of running a smaller business. It can be crucial for your chances of success. Don’t be afraid to use a little wit and presentation to help you run the business your clients want to see.

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Lynne Huysamen

Mommy to a pigeon pair, blogger and online marketer. Lover of chocolate, good books and buckets of coffee.

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