Size Matters – Running the Digital Side of Your Business like a Multinational

Larger businesses such as multinationals are more visible due to their size. This helps them get more customers, but that doesn’t mean you, as a small-business owner, shouldn’t think large and appear large.

What Multinationals Do That You Can, Too

  • Invest heavily in technology.  Multinationals recognize the value of reliable and updated technology, and so should small businesses. This, at the minimum, includes reliable business internet and phone service, and computer hardware. Many apps, including cloud-based ones, track real-time data such as sales numbers, business contacts and organization (for example, preparing for a trade show and what follow-up work needs to be done),

  • Recruit top talent. Multinationals are often on the lookout for the best and brightest, and a small business can be too. You can post job openings at any site a multinational does and offer your own perks. Multinationals clearly outline job titles and expectations, and your business plan should do so as well. A business should hire based on qualifications and not on criteria such as whether someone is a friend or a family member. A person who handles both accounting and company newsletters should be well qualified to do both tasks. Any job needs the right person doing it.

  • Use assistants. Multinationals don’t have the top bosses answering regular phone calls, and it’s not necessary either for a small business. A call center or answering service can perform the same functions—as can a virtual personal assistant. Many of these assistants may not even be based in the same country as the business, which truly gives more meaning to “multinational.”

  • Sleek website that is customer friendly. For example, a multinational business that sells goods will have a professionally designed website that makes it easy for customers to find goods, information and place orders. The business gives customers various payment options such as via credit card, PayPal, online and through the phone. The business will also ship worldwide.

  • Professional business cards. Multinationals give their employees business cards as a matter of course, and they’re often glossy, professional and just neat looking. A small business should do the same. Appearance really does matter. Include information such as company website, email address, phone number and fax.

  • Own domain ending in .com. Multinationals do not give their employees email addresses ending in gmail.com or yahoo.com. A small business that wants to appear bigger should have a devoted domain name and professional communications infrastructure.

  • Client communication through newsletters and mailing lists. Multinationals make signing up for newsletters easy on their websites, and their newsletters and mailing lists are polished and professional.

  • Social media presence. Multinationals are on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and more. There are tools that let you manage several social media platforms simultaneously to save time.

  • Always open. Multinationals are almost always open – in some form 24/7, with some exceptions for major holidays or the like. Small businesses, on the other hand, may close if it’s the owner’s birthday or there is a death in the family. That would never happen for a multinational, and one way for a small business to avoid this kind of occurrence is to double up (or even triple up) on training, so multiple people can perform top management tasks well. The business stays running and pulling in profits, no matter what.

  • Incorporation. The business should be incorporated and kept separate from any personal affairs. Insurance is also separate.

  • Have accreditation, certifications and professional memberships. A stamp of approval goes a long way, and listing your business’s professional associations shows you’re serious and know people.

  • Business plans. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it bears emphasizing. Multinational companies have company handbooks and business plans, and so should any business. Plans should be updated at least monthly to reflect money entering and exiting the business. They should also be updated for any changes, whether internal (a new employee or product) or external (business conditions change). 

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