Looking like a big corporate business when you're not

31 replies
The other day I signed a deal with an advertiser to display their banner ads on one of my sites. They knew that I was the owner of the business and that we get some good traffic, but they didn't know how big of a company we are.

While I was talking with them, they said they would have their webmaster contact my webmaster. They asked me for the email for my webmaster. I told them that his name is Ron also and gave them one of my other email addresses lol. A harmless little white lie in this instance.

I didn't want to tell them that I was both the owner and the webmaster. I could have referred them to my assistant, but I would have still put the banners on the site myself.

How about you, do you give the perception of being a larger business than you really are? What things do you do?
#big #business #small
  • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
    Ron,
    I wrongly assumed you had a whole team supporting your businesses. Anyway does it really matter to any business how big or small your business is as long as you are professional and can do whatever you are discussing with them.

    Rich
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    • Profile picture of the author povchef
      I think its always good to give the impression of being a big well oiled company even if its just you in your spare room and you outsource half your work.

      Professionalism sells if your site, phone manner, email's or one to one meetings give the impression that your part of a big team that have all the balls in the park covered your going to out sell the guy who looks like a one man show.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimGross
      Originally Posted by Richard Tunnah View Post

      Does it really matter to any business how big or small your business is as long as you are professional and can do whatever you are discussing with them.
      Yes, sometimes. When I was doing a lot of online advertising with one large company, whether we had to pay upfront or get billed at the end of the month hinged on whether they considered us credit-worthy. The size of the company (# of employees) was one of the factors. I have other examples as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by Richard Tunnah View Post

      Ron,
      I wrongly assumed you had a whole team supporting your businesses. Anyway does it really matter to any business how big or small your business is as long as you are professional and can do whatever you are discussing with them.

      Rich
      Sometimes giving the impression of being "corporate" can be the difference between closing the deal or not.

      I do have a whole team supporting my business if you count the workers I outsource to. However, it doesn't make sense to pay someone to put a banner on my site or do simple webmastering when I like to do it myself.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Hi Ron

        Frank can't make a post right now, but he wanted me to let you know he agrees with the notion that perception can often play an important part in the success of any business interaction.

        Thanks,


        Gail
        VP of Forum Posting, FD Enterprises.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Ron, this should do the trick:

          > Set up a voicemail system with at least 12 options, then program it to hang up when any option is selected.

          > All correspondence should look like badly written form letters. For extra credibility, add the client's name to the form letter using handwriting that looks like a teenage schoolgirl.

          > Answer all emails with a vacation message promising to contact them within 5 business days, then don't.

          > Make sure your website needs at least three custom plugins to view, then make the content generic and useless.

          > Check the date of this post :p
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          • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
            Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

            Ron, this should do the trick:

            > Set up a voicemail system with at least 12 options, then program it to hang up when any option is selected.

            > All correspondence should look like badly written form letters. For extra credibility, add the client's name to the form letter using handwriting that looks like a teenage schoolgirl.

            > Answer all emails with a vacation message promising to contact them within 5 business days, then don't.

            > Make sure your website needs at least three custom plugins to view, then make the content generic and useless.

            > Check the date of this post :p
            Now those are some killer ideas John.
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          • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
            Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

            Ron, this should do the trick:

            > Set up a voicemail system with at least 12 options, then program it to hang up when any option is selected.

            > All correspondence should look like badly written form letters. For extra credibility, add the client's name to the form letter using handwriting that looks like a teenage schoolgirl.

            > Answer all emails with a vacation message promising to contact them within 5 business days, then don't.

            > Make sure your website needs at least three custom plugins to view, then make the content generic and useless.

            > Check the date of this post :p
            LOL!!!...I love this!...a perfect description of BigTime Corporate America.
            _____
            Bruce
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            • Profile picture of the author TheRichLife
              I have a "virtual office" with a company that rents space in prime office buildings. For less than $250/month, I have a receptionist answer my phones, a great business mailing address, use of conference rooms, and even a certain amount of use of an office.

              After the receptionist answers the phone, the calls are transferred to my cell phone. As long as there's not a kid screaming or dog barking, there's no way the person on the other end can tell.

              Here's the company I use: HQ > Office Space for Rent, Meeting Rooms, Conference Rooms, Virtual Offices

              They have locations in just about every business areas not just in the US, but around the world.

              You could even take it a step farther and have "an office" in New York, one in London, and one in Singapore...and still be sitting in your underwear at home.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by povchef View Post

          I think its always good to give the impression of being a big well oiled company even if its just you in your spare room and you outsource half your work.

          Professionalism sells if your site, phone manner, email's or one to one meetings give the impression that your part of a big team that have all the balls in the park covered your going to out sell the guy who looks like a one man show.
          The way you worded that implies that one man operations are not professional. Don't know if you meant it that way, but I reject the premise.

          ---

          Ron, I'm curious, playing coy is one thing, but what if someone you wanted to do business with asked you a question that required you to lie to maintain the facade of big business.

          Would you lie? :rolleyes:
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          • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            The way you worded that implies that one man operations are not professional. Don't know if you meant it that way, but I reject the premise.

            ---

            Ron, I'm curious, playing coy is one thing, but what if someone you wanted to do business with asked you a question that required you to lie to maintain the facade of big business.

            Would you lie? :rolleyes:
            I wouldn't take on a deal that I can't handle, so no. But thanks for putting an ugly spin on this thread. :rolleyes:
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            • Profile picture of the author eQuus
              And when they want to meet the other Ron, just say you fired his sorry ass
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    I don't.

    I prefer them to know who I really am and then they can
    choose if that suits them or not.

    Creating the illusion of 'bigness' can be tiresome as well as
    incongruous.

    Also, the truth is easier to remember and more persuasive
    too.

    Be authentic and then you'll have clients that suit your real
    capabilities and scale.

    Authenticity and transparency is key.

    Dedicated to your success,

    Shaun
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    .

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  • Profile picture of the author acrasial
    You could of just told them that you would be the webmaster on this case, because you like to handle all of your clients directly, to ensure they get the best service, or something like that.


    Or that you do/use private contracting...so much for the "truth prevails"...the truth is simply subjective to the perspective of others around us. The truth is whatever they want it to be, and the sooner people learn that and utilize that knowledge, the easier it will be for them to snag and keep clients, even large clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author Valdor Kiebach
    The only thing I do is have a seperate email for the usual 'big business' departments,
    webmaster@....
    support@....
    contact@....
    advertising@....

    and have them all forwarded to 1 address.
    I also add a random letter or number to the email address when setting up the account to prevent spammers, eg contact1@...
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  • Profile picture of the author jennypitts
    I will have to say that although I do have a team of about 5 people, I am the webmaster/owner/other things. However, I do agree with Ron, and with others here, remember that people are very skeptical about trusting ONE person, if they have the impression that there is a team behind the operation (which I do have, I just handle MOST of the administrative stuff myself), they are dealing with professionals. Which obviously isn't always the case. I know of a lot of individual IMers (like myself) who are professional, experienced and honest. HOWEVER, for some reason (and not to be blamed) a lot of people often see a One-Man operation as a scam, a fraud or not a serious business.

    NOW, this is not to say we are not going to carry about dishonest practices, NO NO NO, even if we have imaginary support staff, we still have to give our customers 110%. This will not only make people trust us, but will allow our business to grow, so that in fact in the future you can have the ENTIRE support team.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jani
    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post


    How about you, do you give the perception of being a larger business than you really are? What things do you do?
    Hi Ron --

    First off, I want to thank you for letting me pick your brain a little bit at Ruby Tuesdays a couple of weeks ago.

    Thank you --- I hope I wasn't too annoying.

    To your question --- the only thing I do, is use different pseudonyms for different niches - and put them all under my publishing company name.
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    Jani

    http://WomenTamed.com --- A Man's Guide to Tame the Bitch

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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by Jani View Post

      Hi Ron --

      First off, I want to thank you for letting me pick your brain a little bit at Ruby Tuesdays a couple of weeks ago.

      Thank you --- I hope I wasn't too annoying.

      To your question --- the only thing I do, is use different pseudonyms for different niches - and put them all under my publishing company name.
      It was good chatting with you Jani. Glad I could help in some way.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alminc
        WE think that nobody should do business with any one-man company.
        If you have any questions, please read OUR FAQ rather then bothering
        US with emails.
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        No links :)
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
    In the 4 Hour Work Week on page 197 -

    "Little Blue Chip: How to Look Fortune 500 in 45 Minutes"
    "If approaching large resellers or potential partners, small company size will be an obstacle. This discrimination is often as insurmountable as it is unfounded. Fortunately, a few simple steps can dramatically upgrade your budding Fortune 500 image and take your muse from the coffee shop to boardroom in 45 minutes or less."

    1) Don't be the CEO or founder
    2) Put multiple email and phone contacts on the website
    3) Set up an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) remote receptionist.
    4) Do not provide home address
    Tim Ferriss goes on to expand on those 5 suggestions. But the point is, there is a difference between being dishonest and presenting your company in a way that's good for business.
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    • Profile picture of the author mr2monster
      Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

      In the 4 Hour Work Week on page 197 -

      "Little Blue Chip: How to Look Fortune 500 in 45 Minutes"


      Tim Ferriss goes on to expand on those 5 suggestions. But the point is, there is a difference between being dishonest and presenting your company in a way that's good for business.

      Agreed... I was looking for that just now, but you beat me to it. haha.
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      • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
        Why?

        Why would you try and be
        something you are not?

        One day people will wake up
        to this ego driven stupidity.

        I'm quite happy to sit at home
        with no 'corporation' B>S. Been
        there done that. Large corporate
        stuff is very unappealing.

        Some people just don't get it.

        I recommend you read 'Rework'
        by Jason Fried & David Hansson
        where they explain:

        "whats the attraction of big
        besides ego?"


        "small is not just a stepping
        stone, Small is a great destination
        in itself"

        No wonder consumers are jaded
        when you have all these one man
        companies pretending to be
        something they are not!

        Stop being so insecure.
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    • Profile picture of the author Christian York
      Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

      In the 4 Hour Work Week on page 197 -

      "Little Blue Chip: How to Look Fortune 500 in 45 Minutes"


      Tim Ferriss goes on to expand on those 5 suggestions. But the point is, there is a difference between being dishonest and presenting your company in a way that's good for business.
      I 100% agree Ron. In some instances you have to make your company look bigger than it actually is to make sure that you close the deal.

      It's not being dishonest, it's just framing your business in the right light.

      E.G. If I were to arrive at a meeting in a $5,000 suit and a nice watch. People would instantly assume more success and that they are dealing with someone who knows what they are doing. This could in itself close the deal.

      No one has to know that it's my only suit or that I borrowed the watch

      ( The above it just an example- I own my own watch lol )
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  • Profile picture of the author krisDupree
    When your a home based business and start branching out and doing business with some bigger companies, yes it is better to have an image of being a bigger company. You will still conduct yourself in the same business manner and the person your dealing with (whom you probably just met) will not feel any apprehensions about your abilities to accomplish your goal just because your a one or two man team.
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  • Profile picture of the author mr2monster
    Impression matters. If your client expects you to be a larger company, and you turn out to be a one man show, it can really spoil a deal.

    However, coming off like a huge corporate entity can also open you up to people thinking your pockets are deeper than they are.

    Personally, when I'm out selling face to face, I always call myself a sales rep or account executive, even though I'm the owner of the company.

    This allows me to:
    - Negotiate more efficiently.
    - Say no without someone getting a chapped hide.
    - Be LESS likely to be asked for things that an owner would be able to say yes to, but a measly sales rep wouldn't.


    It transfers the perceived power away from me and makes my clients more understanding.


    Yes, I've tried it both ways.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Murphy
    I think it's absurd to put on a front of bigness and it can lead to heart ache. Rather, put on a front of "here's is how my company can increase your companies bottom line..."

    ...cause that's all you can take to the bank anyway.

    I know a one man organization that puts many LARGE corporations to shame and I'd way rather have him working on my business than some phone large but not really large biz.

    oh, he also posted in this very thread....how stealth and ninja of him huh? ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
    What's really egotistical is calling people insecure and saying that they don't get it just because they have a different perspective than you.

    Perception is very important in business. It's more about being perceived as credible and capable than it is about being big. Some may even call it being professional.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheRichLife
      Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

      Perception is very important in business. It's more about being perceived as credible and capable than it is about being big. Some may even call it being professional.
      Amen!

      I find it interesting that on a site for internet marketers there are people dogging Mr. Douglas for marketing himself.

      I don't lie about how big my business is, but I will also don't apologize for making a professional appearance that might lead somebody to assume my company is bigger than just me.

      That's marketing!
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      • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
        Originally Posted by TheRichLife View Post

        Amen!

        I find it interesting that on a site for internet marketers there are people dogging Mr. Douglas for marketing himself.

        I don't lie about how big my business is, but I will also don't apologize for making a professional appearance that might lead somebody to assume my company is bigger than just me.

        That's marketing!
        Thank you. That's what this thread was meant to be about.

        However, I realize that some people just read the title, the opening post, and skim the replies. After reading it again, I can see how they would get the wrong impression from that.

        But it's all good though. I'm glad that some people got it.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

          I wouldn't take on a deal that I can't handle, so no. But thanks for putting an ugly spin on this thread. :rolleyes:
          Considering you started the thread by admitting to a "white lie" I don't think my question put an ugly spin on it. You started the spin in that direction yourself. It was a logical and legitimate question to ask if you'd go farther to maintain the facade. I didn't accuse you of anything. Perhaps you just took it in an ugly way.
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          Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

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