One of the best ways to go from running your own small business to running your own large business is to think big. As the title reads, “you are as big as you make people think you are.” And it’s true.
If you keep attracting the same type of client, and I mean that in a bad way, then maybe there is something that you are able to change on your end. If you want the same small $100 freelance jobs here and there, then great. We’ve all started there at some point. But, if you want to attract clients with larger budgets then you have to stop thinking like the small motel and start thinking like the large hotel.
The small details matter. If you want to get into building a big business online you have to present yourself as a professional. If you are going to do anything, do it right. Here are a couple items you should take into consideration when trying to grow, or even just start, your own online business.
Get a good domain
When choosing your domain you want to keep it short and precise. Choose a domain that represents either your company name or your company product/service. Avoid over-complicating your domain by trying to stuff a sales pitch into it. For example, let’s say you run a web design service in New York and each year you hold a convention to promote web services in the New York area. Instead of dragging out the domain with something like newyorkwebdesignsummit.com, keep it simple. Go with newyorksummit.com. The shorter you can keep the domain, while still maintaining a relative domain name, the better.
One of the most popular domain registrars is currently GoDaddy.
Pay For Hosting
If you want to look professional, be professional. Few things look less professional than a “free” hosted website (continue reading below to see what one of those other “few things” are). Something like www.geocities.com/mybusiness. If you are not willing to not spend a few dollars a month to increase your marketability by paying for a good host then why would a customer feel you are worth spending a few dollars on either?
“Real” Email Addresses
Part of a paid hosting account includes the ability to set up your own email accounts. This is one of those “things” that look extremely unprofessional as well. Have you ever started up a conversation with someone you meet at somewhere like a restaurant or bar and they talk themselves up as the next big thing? They just started a business, have all these great ideas and talk of investors, etc. An eternity later the conversation wraps up and you go to exchange information and they give you their email address of email@example.com? As bad as that sounds, you could be putting yourself in that position too if you do not host your own site to maintain your own “real” email address.
What could be worse then exchanging contact information with firstname.lastname@example.org? How about when email@example.com writes his info down on a napkin? I will admit, I am guilty of this one from time to time. Not that I do not have my own business cards, but sometimes I just don’t have them with me when I meet someone new.
We’re moving along nicely. You have your business cards and new web host. Now you need to make your site look good. Your fancy new business cards and “real” email address would be worthless if they direct people to an unprofessional website, right? Just imagine how caught off guard you would be if your new contact spoke highly of himself, exchanged contact info with you and presented a flashy business card with a catchy website on there and you go to the site and it says “coming soon.”
Here’s where the fun starts though. Now that you’ve given this person your info, presented a nice business card and they see your contact info they are probably going to check out your website at some point. Make your site look how you want to be perceived. If you want people thinking your a nice and quaint local business, then run with a clean design to represent accordingly. If you run a “one man show” but want to look like the CEO of a 100+ staffed operation then do it! Build yourself a website that will display that. Remember, you are as big as you make people think you are.