When you’re part of a small business, you survive on credibility. Traditionally a large part of this has been pretending you are a lot bigger than you are… Adding an extra team member or two, getting the right offfice address (or PO Box to hide the fact you work from home), fancy business cards, etc etc. There are a lot of tricks.
One of our team members who does a lot of sales, recently saw a statistic about the proportion of a sales pitch spent establishing credibility, something like 90%. Talk turned to the importance of all the things described above.
This is the ‘information age’, do you think people really care whether or not a secretary answers the phone or will they just assume (probably quite rightly) that you operate out of a virtual office? Is credibility still formed on the basis of how big you look? Or is it now formed through a far more meaningful process of discovering if you know what you are talking about inside out and understanding that when you have a problem, the owner of the company will deal with it personally, immediately.
Obviously it’s important to be professional, whether your working out of a garage or a plush office building, but do all the gimmicks small businesses use to appear big actually add to your credibility anymore?