Small businesses are often considered to be the backbone of our economy. But while there is no higher honor than being a small business owner, it can be a struggle for small businesses to compete in any market. For this reason, many small business owners want to make their companies look larger than they actually are. Some want a competitive advantage. For others, it is more prestigious to be the CEO of a large company than it is to run a small business. Whatever the reason is, there are many easy ways for small businesses to make themselves look more like a large company and standout within their market. This article will give you five easy ways to help you make your small business appear larger than life!

According to Chron, one of the best advantages for large businesses is that they are more established and have greater access to funding. Small business on the other hand, will need to rely on the virtue of time, word-of-mouth and a strong desire to shift their natural position in the market.

But if you want to take your small business from looking like a Mom and Pop shop, to looking like an established company almost overnight, follow these five tips:

Stop using free email addresses

If you want your company to be taken seriously, then you’ll need a professional email address. But if you don’t want to pay for monthly email hosting, find a domain provider with free email forwarding and consider having emails redirect to an existing service that offers free email accounts (like Gmail, Yahoo!, or Outlook).

Having an email like [email protected] might come across as amateur to some. Instead, opt for email addresses like [email protected]. These email addresses give the impression that you are a professional business and not just some guy in his basement.

Create a website that stands out

A company’s website is its home on the internet. Make sure yours stands out from the crowd. Design, design, design — a key focus of your site should be the look and feel. The fonts, the colors, and what you highlight all have a significant impact on how your site is perceived by visitors. A well-designed website is one of the hallmarks of a large company.

If you need inspiration, you can check out award-winning websites at Awwwards and CSS Design Awards. Both of these web design awards are given to websites from all industries that stand as being the best-of-the-best in design, creativity and overall user experience.

If you have the technical skill set, you can take inspiration from these sites and create your own. But if you do opt for doing it yourself, avoid using basic free website builders with high reliance on templates. They just don’t have the ability to produce the high quality of work seen in modern web design, and they don’t showcase your brand as well as you think they do. Instead, opt for website builders that provide high levels of customization and rich feature lists. Some popular go-tos are WordPress, Wix or Squarespace. All three have their own benefits and setbacks, but in general, they all allow users to create a website that wows.

Don’t have the technical skillset? Hire someone to do it for you. You can find a pro web designer on platforms like UpWork or Bark. Show them some of your favorite Awwwards and CSS Design-winning sites for inspiration.

Get a prime corporate address

Rather than use your residential address, you may want to consider a prime corporate address. You can get this by renting office space at a business incubator or co-working space in your area that is designed for small businesses (like WeWork). Alternatively, many commercial buildings, workspaces, and even some hotels also offer “virtual offices” where they will provide you with a work area as well as mail forwarding services for a low monthly fee.

Get a toll-free business phone number

One of the best ways to make your small business look serious is by having a toll-free number. For starters, it’s pretty affordable and looks more professional than just using your personal cell phone line. There are many providers of toll-free numbers out there. Some of them cost less than $30 per month.

People are more likely to trust an 800 number for businesses, especially if they don’t know the company. Why? Because these numbers showcase a national presence and have been made popular within our culture thanks to infomercials and catchy company names and marketing jingles (think 1-8000-Flowers, or 800-588-2300 Empire Today).

Plus it’s pretty affordable and looks more professional than just using your personal cell phone line. Using a toll-free number also broadens your market. If your company decided to expand to a new location, your toll-free number can easily be used there also.

You can even step things up a notch and have your toll-free number say “Thank you for calling XYZ Corporation. Please dial the extension of the person or department you would like to speak with.” Or consider having your line open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week by outsourcing your telephone answering. Which, by the way, can be done for less than $500 per month.

Deliver quality and professionalism — always

If you are looking to give your small business the appearance of a larger company without spending much money, these tips can help. You don’t need expensive strategies, impeccable office space or a large team in order to make clients think that you have more resources than what they see. But the most important thing needed to elevate your company is to show that you are committed to providing excellence. That means quality products and services matched with professional service. When customers want the best – it will be easy for them to find themselves choosing you over competitors.

Want more tips and inspiration for how you can take your small business from a upstart into a company with serious potential? Check out The Marketing Fallacy: How Any Small Business Can Look Like A Large Corporation, Without The Large Costs