One of the most daunting things facing business owners who want to grow into the corporate sphere is knowing what tools they'll need to be successful.
I'm going to be very clear:
You will need a much wider range of hard and soft skills to work with corporate than to work with solo entrepreneurs.
- The companies are bigger.
- The sales environment can be more complex.
- You often have to navigate committees and politics and history.
- You need to think beyond the "signature offer" and flex with the needs of your prospective clients.
- With greater rewards comes a greater responsibility to deliver.
If you start off with a solid foundation (your business presence), you'll start acquiring the tools you need to be successful for the long haul.
What does it mean? At the very beginning of your corporate work, business presence is actually quite simple!
You'll absolutely need:
1. A formal business. LLC or otherwise. Companies that hire you will sometimes want a Tax ID Number. (TIN)
2. Liability insurance. Seriously. Just to cover your bases. It's not expensive and will make you feel like a pro from day one.
3. A business name and logo. It could be your name. That's totally fine but have a pro create your logo.
4. Legit business cards. No flimsy ones please. Pay for something good and well designed.
5. An easy peasy website. You don't need to languish in the world of web design for like eight months and $4000 to get a simple, good looking website.
I like Squarespace these days because it makes everything so clean BUT squarespace sites are heavy on images so you have to have good quality photos to really make it work.
You can always hire a designer to customize a wordpress template.
Here's the thing: PLEASE don't get hung up on a huge website. Have a homepage, an about page, a services page and a contact. No blog if you have no posts! That's it.
But PLEASE do your homework and understand the visual and web trends of the current year.
I can identify a website's publish date just by looking at it. I'm incredibly accurate as far back as 2004. If you choose not to update your site or choose not to have a site, that will communicate something to your potential buyers.
If you have a site geared towards a different market (like solo entrepreneurs) you may be able to combine them just by adding a section to your current site. I chose a different route but that's a longer story.
You can see my corporate site here.
6. Examples of your work. Ok this is the one where you might start feeling a tad insecure if you don't have a huge list of clients or portfolio of work.
Don't! Here's why: corporate is full of people just like the people you've already helped.
They might have different titles, wear different clothes and pay different rates, but they're still humans!
The other thing is that people actually love newbies. Owning that you've done email marketing strategy for a smaller business before and would love to work with this bigger company is honest and gets the buyer on your side. They want to help you!
Just be able to point to your work. Here are a couple different ways to do that:
- Have a standard document with testimonials in both hard copy and digital. You could even post this on your simple website (recommended).
- If your work is visible, then make sure your portfolio is on your site. You'll also want hard copies to bring to meetings.
- If your work is less tangible, get numbers. What were the results of your work? What changed for your clients in the past?
- Have a go-to list of references to send along. Half the time people won't call them, but occasionally they will. Make sure you double check with your references and give them a heads up if someone is going to call/email.
These are the basics of your business presence and will not take you too long to execute. Remember, we want you to land corporate contracts NOT spend all your time prepping.
See you for Part Four soon!