Competing on a level playing field in business – Part 1
One of the most difficult things when starting out on business is getting the word out there, and making people aware of you. First impressions count for a lot, and there are a few tricks you can use to ensure that people who come looking at your business don’t get scared off before even getting in touch with you. Here are a few tips to help you on your way when you start up, to ensure that you can compete with established businesses.
1. Have a good website
A good looking, well written website doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Using the correct tools and knowing where to look will allow you to produce a website that any company would be proud to call their own. A website with well written and relevant content and correct business contact details is essential.
What does relevant content mean? Well, if you’re a plumber who services Stafford in the West Midlands you may include information about the towns that you cover, what plumbing services you offer and what plumbing qualifications you have. You may also want to have some associated links to plumbing suppliers and spares shops. Perhaps a page containing some free advice for plumbing emergencies would be a good idea…
The idea of content is that it is useful, relevant and will attract people looking for it. If people are finding your website, then in theory it should bring in more business for you.
A good website, with some well written content for a small business can be put together with a small hosting company for around £300-£500 per year. That would include the hosting, and set-up of the website and around 5 pages of decent specific content. When you consider that this is the shop window for your business, this isnt too bad a deal!
2. Cool looking Phone numbers (NGN Numbers)
Everyone has seen the types of phone numbers, especially in the UK looking like 0845, 0844, 0800, 800 numbers etc. These numbers can be set-up very easily for very little cost yet they give an impression to your potential customers that you are established, professional and a large reliable company.
Of course, if you are targeting the local areas, it may make more sense to have a local phone number. Each option has its merits, but if you have the capability to offer your services at a national level, then an NGN number is a great selling point.
3. Virtual Business Addresses
Do you work from home in a small village, but much of your target market is in the city? Google is increasingly returning local results based on location, so its useful to be able to have a legitimate business address within the city you’re targeting. There are many companies who provide virtual addresses in various cities for a small monthly fee, and will even provide telephone answering and postal forwarding services.
If potential clients see you as having an office address in the city centre, they may be more inclined to contact you, and view you as a potential supplier.
In the next post (when I get a chance) I’ll mention some ideas about offering customer feedback options, customer support and options for taking credit card payments.