4 Fresh Ways to Make Your Small Business Look Big

how to make your business look big


We’ve all been there, those first few months (or years) of trying to launch a new small business and wondering when people will discover us. Much to our dismay, we soon learn that it doesn’t quite happen that way. Hanging up a sign or printing up business cards, or simply having your website go live doesn’t guarantee that you’ll become the next go-to source. In addition to the constant hard work, creativity and networking, there are some sneaky little ways to make your somewhat tiny business look a whole lot larger. The benefits of making your small business seem bigger than it actually is, is that people sense you as being more established and reliable, rather than just some guy with a website.


1. Pop Up Someplace: Ricky’s NYC is known for selling an eclectic array of beauty, nail and hair products across a wide range of lines—including many private label and hard to find international lines. Yet despite the fact that the business launched back in 1989, it’s fairly recently that Ricky’s has become a go-to store and purveyor of cult products. Part of the Ricky’s appeal stems from its unpredictability, since you really don’t know where they’ll pop up next. And part of their smart marketing campaign includes creating Halloween pop-up stores in neighborhoods that don’t normally have easy access to Ricky’s products. Back in 2011, Ricky’s Halloween showed up on 125th street in Harlem. While the pop-up show was a huge success for shoppers, it wasn’t as great a choice for the brand- though there’s a smart business takeaway lesson there. Instead of investing in a long-term lease, according to Cogswell Realty, Ricky’s leased the 5,180 square foot space for only two months, before deciding not to return to that neighborhood for a fourth year. Instead of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent, employees, renovation and promotion, Ricky’s created a temporary presence for their brand, realized that wasn’t the ideal location and concentrated their marketing efforts elsewhere instead.

Small Business/Big Takeaway Lesson: Before you commit to a large space, try one on for size. Not sure if you need a storefront? Have a pop-up shop or even show for a very limited amount of time. Choose a holiday or calendar date that supports your brand and goals, promote in advance and spend some time decorating in a way that conveys big ideals despite having a small brand.


2. Create an Irresistible Welcome Promotion: Though they’ve been getting a lot of heat in the business world for their overall business model, Adore Me lingerie had a pretty interesting concept for attracting and retaining new clients. The company offered an initial bra and panty set for under $20 bucks; the catch was that once customers signed up for the first promo, it was all but impossible to remove themselves from the mailing list and membership. With box subscriptions widely popular and ranging in everything from cosmetics and kids’ clothing to kitchen utensils, it can be hard to set your business apart, most especially if you’re a mom and pop shop. Try to figure out a way to attract shoppers who will commit to that first sale and then dazzle them with extras. And whatever you do, do not keep them trapped in a subscription model they are no longer interested in, it’s bad business.

Small Business/Big Takeaway Lesson: People love a really good bargain- most especially when they’re guaranteed that the product isn’t cheap or tacky. So by all means create that incredible sign up deal, but make sure that you adhere to local business laws to keep your customers happy and coming back for more.


3. Add A Few Bells and Whistles: Many new businesses are almost exclusively virtual as opposed to more traditional bricks and mortar storefronts. And while the trend is to streamlined websites without a lot of extras, there are some details that help you seem more sophisticated and interesting to potential clients. Sign up for newsletters like AppSumo which offer incredible deals (along with interesting advice) on everything from stock art to email newsletter services. In this way you can add some interesting details to your site on an ongoing basis without spending all that much money.

Small Business/Big Takeaway Lesson: Even if your entire business consists of a website, it doesn’t have to look small. Hire a copywriter to make sure that your words are as compelling as your product. Sign up for a few cool add-ons so that people know you’re not only serious about your brand, but also up to date and in the know.


4. Take A Cue from Social Media: Here’s another one from Ricky’s NYC. Last year, People magazine reported on the launch of # (pronounced hashtag), an in-store section at Ricky’s Soho location which will eventually roll out to 25 more Ricky’s locations dedicated exclusively to two dozen of the more popular brands on Instagram. In this way Ricky’s created not only sampling opportunities and a draw to their stores, but also a back and forth flow between their very loyal social media followers and in-store only clients.

Small Business/Big Takeaway Lesson: Sometimes it isn’t the global trends that you need to pay attention to, but the ones in your own targeted social media stream. What are your tweeps talking about? Which images show up the most often on your Instagram feed? Which hashtags are most popular this season? Use these as your starting off point and try to create a promotion that takes advantage of the popular trends.



This is the first in an ongoing series of tools and tricks to help make your small business look a whole lot bigger. Have some techniques of your own that you’d like to share with other members of Exceed? Write to us at and you could be featured in the next article of the series.

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