Are You a One-Man Show or the Man Behind the Curtain?

Alyssa Gregory
Alyssa Gregory

If you are a solo worker, you can either present yourself as such to current and potential clients, or you can present an image of being a larger company with expandable resources. One of the best examples of this is seen in marketing copy. Many one-person businesses use “we” and “our,” instead of “I” and “my” to accomplish this.

Why You Might Want to Present a Bigger Image

This isn’t done to mislead the client or present a false impression of who you are to your clients. In fact, there are clear benefits to making your business seem bigger than a one-man show, including:

  • You may find it easier to get the consideration of larger companies when submitting proposals.
  • You can show that you have more to offer when exploring partnership opportunities with other companies.
  • You can put yourself in the same league as bigger companies who offer similar services.
  • You can avoid the stereotype of being a one-person business who can’t handle multiple projects.
  • You may find it easier to assure new clients that you can handle the work they need done quickly and efficiently.

How To Do It

Aside from altering your use of pronouns in your marketing copy, here are some other ways you can shed the solo worker stereotype and present an image of a larger, more capable and potentially more professional firm:

  • Be consistent in your business activities and how you communicate with clients, focusing on being professional at all times.
  • Create impressive marketing materials, including a portfolio, to make it easier to sell your business as fully capable of meeting the clients’ needs.
  • Get a business phone line and consider a PBX phone service that allows you to set extensions and forward calls.
  • Establish relationships with other companies that are based on collaboration and help to support your “big” image.
  • Hire a virtual assistant to handle support tasks, such as scheduling and customer service.
  • Build a team of subcontractors so you have a solid team behind you.
  • Send out regular newsletters and company updates to announce accomplishments, events and new service offerings.

But Be Careful…

While many small businesses are able to do this successfully without any negative repercussions, make sure you are not misrepresenting your experience, skills and ability. If a client asks who makes up your firm, it’s important that you’re completely honest.

The bottom line is making yourself look bigger than you are can be great for marketing and attracting the type of clients you want, but if it leads you to deceitful or unethical practices, you could be in for a disaster. Plus, some clients will prefer a one-man shop over a larger company, so consider all of the potential benefits and drawbacks before putting up the curtain and settling in.

Do you embrace and publicize that you work alone, or do you try to present a larger image?

Image credit: weatherbox