I do a lot of freelance work where I go through a separate business entity, and I’ve been much more sensitive to how start-ups and small businesses present themselves to the public and on the internet. I fully understand that small businesses must act and look as professional as possible to potential customers and other companies, but there is a difference between acting professionals and trying to look and act as something that you are not. I will give you a few examples of what I am talking about:
An incorrect representation of the client’s work
Let’s say Joe Smith is a McDonald’s franchisee and he hires a small graphic design agency to design a number of advertisements for flyers and business cards. The graphic design agency wants to build their portfolio so that they name one of their customers as “McDonalds” and they write a big blog post about how they “collaborated” with McDonald’s for all their graphic design needs. This can be a little misleading for other potential customers, as they may think that this graphic design agency is executing the graphic design for McDonald’s corporate marketing campaign. The point here is to certainly boast about adding a big name to your portfolio, but to be specific about the work you have done and that you have done it for one individual franchise, not for the head office.
Make great titles for yourself
I smile when I see this every time. My favorite is one that I am looking for. Jaggersangs saw. It was a marketing company that I’m sure isn’t a big company. One of the titles for an employee or owner was ‘Chief Creative Officer & Strategic Consultant’. What does that mean? Jaggersijk? When I see such titles, I immediately think that the company is 2 or 3 people. For some reason, small startups like to give large, long, creative titles. When you speak with a potential customer or represent yourself on your website, a simple title such as “Owner”, “Co-owner” or “Partner” is fine. Do not open to people how small you are unless they ask for it. They may ask because they want to know if they think you are capable of doing the job. It’s so tempting to lie in these situations and pretend you can handle a huge job, but sometimes you really can’t handle it. I have already learned that it is better to refuse large jobs and be honest than it is to accept it, not meet the project deadline and burn bridges with a well-connected customer who will not be very proud of you against colleagues and colleagues. Think about that the next time you quote a job.
Creating too much overhead
A good example of someone who could create too much overhead for themselves in the beginning is a lawyer. Lawyers want and need to look professional to be hired for their work, but some lawyers who decide to go solo go overboard at their expense without the income to support it. If a lawyer opens his own office, rents a high office, rents a secretary and a legal assistant, buys new office furniture and rents a nicer car to show potential customers that he is ‘professional’, he will never make it in recent months. When you are a start-up or just starting as a professional on your own, it is good to show a little bit that you are just starting. The most important thing for potential customers is your customer service, your knowledge and control of the subject and if you are honest with them. Honesty brings you a long way when it comes to starting a business, because people hate false promises and a picture is painted that is not reality.
Seriously, stop acting like you’re a $ 100 million company. Not all people are scared by small businesses and start-ups. Some prefer it because they know that you will work very hard for them and want to make extra efforts because your reputation means so much to you when you first start. Be professional, do professional, but stop with too much effort to LOOK professional.
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