Archive for December, 2009

Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part II

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Two-hour instant download on Persuasion lecture: BUY NOW

In certain industries, looking like a small fish gives that “personal touch” advantage. This series, however, is for companies that need to look bigger to court the business of larger companies. Here is tip number four in our top ten ways to make your small company look bigger.

Your business card design says a lot more about you than you think. After sorting a pile of over 130 business cards by company size, it becomes immediately clear as to why small company cards look SMALL.

Here are the common denominators to consider when designing a business card that you hope will make your company look like a BIG fish in the business pond.

1) Include a business address.  ALL of the big business cards I sorted had addresses, while only 18% of the small businesses did so. Residential addresses sound, well, residential. P.O. Boxes are okay, but suites are better. We have heard that some will rent a P.O. Box and call it a Suite anyway. We make no guarantees about that strategy. The best solution is to have a business address, which can be economically obtained by using a virtual office.

2) List more than one telephone. Most small companies only list one number, usually a cell phone. The majority of big businesses have two or three numbers – typically a main number, direct number and cell number. You can use your land line and cell.

3) Have a fax number: We realize that with email and PDFs, the fax is becoming obsolete, but this is about perception. All big companies list a fax, and if you want to appear big, you should too.

4) As counterintuitive as it is, small companies use big font and large companies use small font. Big font makes more sense because it is easier to read, but large companies want consistency with their font style and size; so the point size they select must be small enough to allow for the largest name.

Other things to consider: a professional logo that is not too big; thickness and quality of paper; professional printing.

Look forward to our upcoming five tips on making your small business look bigger, and forward this to anyone you know who is starting a business.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part I

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


Catch 22: Small business pursues big business clients.  The challenge? Big businesses tend to select other big businesses as their vendors.

Solution: Look bigger.

Lisa Kirby Gibbs of Highland-March Office Business Center and I just gave a presentation at WPI on how a budding entrepreneur can appear larger.

Today I will share with you the first three of the top ten tips to appearing to be a bigger fish:

1) While there is nothing wrong with working from your home office, never appear to be working from your home office.  A virtual office is an inexpensive way to appear established.

2) If you are a male, have a female leave your outgoing message on your voice mail.  If you are a female, have a male deliver your message. Never use an answering machine as callers can tell, and it communicates that you are working from your basement.

3) Think about your title. Something I learned too late. Putting “CEO” or “President” on you business card actually makes your company look smaller.  Giving yourself the title “Director of Marketing” or “SVP Sales” makes your company look far bigger.

A caveat: there is a difference between managing your impression and over spinning.  Always be guided by your ethics.

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