Virtual Companies: How To Compete With The Big Boys

by Gil Zeimer on October 25, 2010
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Want to look like a big company to win a sizable client?

It’s easier than you think. All you need is the right mindset, some creativity, and the “chutzpah” to pull it off.

I’ve been fortunate to win accounts and projects from Fortune 500 companies, often by competing directly against the big boys, including huge national or global ad agencies.

Here are some tips on how I’ve succeeded:

  • Get in the right mindset – This is a blend of confidence, bravado, and fearlessness without coming off as too cocky. To support this attitude, you must genuinely believe that you’re the right company for the project, whether you’re a sole proprietor, a handful of employees, or a larger office.
  • Be creative about thinking bigger – I’ve worked for several small to medium-sized ad agencies which all won clients by staffing the office with temporary employees, friends, and relatives for the afternoon of the presentation — then sending them home after the potential client left. They rewarded everyone with sandwiches, which is an inexpensive way to look big without a big payroll.
  • Update your look – Whatever you show to clients — from your company logo to your website to you new business presentation — should look professional. This is where it’s critical to hire the right designer to make your company look its best. If you need to improve your corporate messaging, ask a freelance writer to update them for you. You’d be surprised at how investing in these components one time can pay big dividends for years to come, especially in winning new accounts.
  • Hire a virtual assistant – A few colleagues use automated or live services to answer their business phone, ask a few questions about the caller, and ring through to them wherever they are. These services, such as eVoice, RingCentral, and AssistantMatch make your business seem more professional without adding staff.
  • Create a virtual company – Team up with a handful of colleagues in related fields as a virtual company and brand yourself as a team on a new website. List your bio summaries on the About Us page and how you work together. By adding virtual experts across many disciplines over the years, including creative personnel, publicists, media planners, producers, and account executives, I’ve won multiple projects and accounts. We’re stronger as a team than we are individually. In fact, this business model has led to my largest assignments ever over the past decade.
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