Many small business owners go to great lengths, to pretend that their business is actually a lot bigger than it really is. When I ask people why they do this, they usually tell me it’s because they think prospective clients won’t use them, if they know how small they are.
In my experience, it’s never a great idea to start any relationship, including a commercial one, on a foundation of lies. If Bob’s marketing contains addresses for offices that exist only in his mind and fake telephone numbers that are all diverted to his one real line, he’s clearly being less than honest. When his clients find out he’s lying about the size of his business, he will have lost their trust. This is perhaps one of the worst possible business scenarios.
Ironically, the whole idea of lying about the size or capacity of a business is completely erroneous, from a marketing perspective!
There’s zero point in pretending you are big enough to handle a project or client, that is clearly way beyond your means. Even if you do manage to fool them into thinking you have the resources to handle their needs, they will quickly realise you don’t, once they start working with you.
Successful marketing (and business development), is about working with clients that suit your business model, not fooling those who are unsuitable into joining, and then leaving you.
Some of the smallest brands are the most respected
The small business mindset, which says; “if they know how small my business is, I will win fewer clients”, is based on an incorrect assumption. It assumes that quality is linked to how large a business is, when the opposite is more often true. In reality, some of the most respected brands are smaller scale and some of the least respected brands are high street chains.
For example, until last year, Twitter employed fewer than 30 full-time people, yet it was massively successful. Twitter attracted tens of millions of dollars and has been valued at a BILLION dollars. You can join me on Twitter here.
The most famous shop in the UK and maybe one of the most famous in the world, has just one UK outlet. I’m talking about Harrods.
Conversely, some of the lowest class and most unhealthy food in your local town, is almost certainly dished up by a national or international burger chain – but the best food is almost certainly from a great little independent restaurant you know.
Small businesses should play to their strengths
The most successful small businesses play to their strengths; rather than lie about being something they are not. They focus on quality, not quantity. They develop great, long-term relationships with their clients and customers, because in most cases they know their clients and customers extremely well.
Small businesses also benefit from being able to make a decision and take action immediately, whereas large companies typically move much slower. So long as they play to their strengths, small businesses can achieve amazing results and be extremely profitable too.