Last month I celebrated 14 years in business, which has me a little nostalgic thinking about what has changed over the years. In a way, I have come full circle in how I run my business. I am home-based again, and I have no full-time employees any more. The one big difference from 14 years ago is that I am exactly where I want to be. I love being a small empire of one (hat tip to @jesshibb for that phrase).
When I started my business, I was led to believe that I needed to appear larger than I was or people would not take me seriously. I wasn’t the only person led to believe this. I was often asked to add stock photography of large office buildings to the contact page of websites to make it look like the business was located in that building. Many companies didn’t (and too many still don’t) put owner names or bios on their site. They think it is better to look anonymous than state they are small.
Well, no more. It is time to embrace our smallness. People want to know who they are doing business with, even when they are buying a product. If it is good enough for American Express, it should be good enough for us. As you know AmEx started Small Business Saturday in 2010 to promote shopping at small businesses the day after Black Friday. There is a trend towards supporting small, independent and local businesses because studies have shown more money stays in the local economy.
Place your bio on your website, tell the story of why you do what you do. Post your picture on your website so customers recognize you when they meet you. In the business-to-business world, where I spend my time, I realized a long time ago that I am my service, since I am the one who performs the service. Customers want to know who I am beyond the service provided. This is just one of the many reasons I love social media. It allows me to show both my personal and business sides.
If you are a small business owner, I want you to take a look at how you are marketing you and your business. Are you sharing your passion and background? Why not? Get out there, embrace and celebrate your smallness!