Pack a Powerful Punch: Tips for Fighting Your Way to the Top as an SME in a Big Business World
I'm the CEO & co-founder of StartQuantum, a young company at the forefront of sustainable economic development. No, not micro-loans in Africa, but it's similar to that in regards to finding real talent and giving it two things: financing and focus. I have a passion for making dream (or 'brilliant ideas' as I would humbly call them) into a reality. Every day is different.
My company has a handful of people scattered across different countries, but what makes us a serious player in global industries comes down to primarily two things: character and image.
1. Always be professional
We might walk around with our shoes off in the office, or put our feet up on the desk, but we always have a professional and serious demeanour in front of clients and in our private lives. Too much tequila in Mexico is far from myth - but there's no reason to act like a college idiot and post pictures of the night-to-regret everywhere on the web.
2. Always be respectful
It doesn't matter how stressful a situation may be, focussing on the needs of others around you is very beneficial. Firstly, it lessens the burden on yourself because you're not putting so much energy into your own problems. Secondly, it could open up some unforseen opportunities or solutions. The large majority of people want to meet in the middle, solve problems, and move on. Keeping an eye on your environment helps that to happen.
3. Why do it yourself?
Outsource what you can. There are drawbacks, of course, so don't only look at the bottom line when hiring an agency. Websites, email marketing, virtual secretaries and especially appointment setters are crucial not only for a strong image to put out there in the world but for taking care of those little tasks that eat up all of your time. Stay in control of running your business and your life, meaning you have a clear dividing line so that both aspects run smoothly.
4. Promote yourself
Write some articles, publish some white papers, and do a few keynotes at international conferences. You might not immediately reap the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing, but the karma may come back to you in a few years' time. Everything is archived on the internet, so if a prospective buyer is doing some research then it will make the company look all the more reputable if you've been involved in conferences and publications.
5. Know your worth
Know your value, and know your price. Don't pick up a contract just because the season might be slow - you're better off investing your time into improving your company, getting in touch with old contacts, or even take a mini vacation to rest and prepare yourself for the upswing. If you pass up a contract because the price is too low, then don't regret it. Keep focusing on attracting the business that knows your value and will pay for it.