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The We-I-Me Myth Of Small Business

Back in 2000 I operated under the assumption that my small IT business (small as in me, myself and I) had to appear much larger than I was in order to be successful. So I did what many businesses back then did – I spent tens of thousands of dollars on a high-class website, logo, business cards, folders, letterhead and envelopes, all from an award-winning design firm. They looked super HOT let me tell you. Years later I threw away 16 boxes of folders. That wasn’t so hot.

The We-I-Me myth of small business states a business must appear larger than it is to be successful. This is false and why it’s a myth. However it’s prevalent as hell on many a small business website. How do you know if someone has succumbed? The telltale sign is seeing “we” when the person should just say “I”.

Now there are a few cases in which saying “we” is totally cool for a one-person business. For example, if you’re like me and work with a team of contractors on a regular basis technically you are a we. However from what I’m seeing and what I’m hearing from my partners that work with multi-million dollar companies ($150M+), this really isn’t necessary.

Outsourcing became a lot easier thanks to the Internet, and over the past 10 years an increasing number of companies have hired firms and highly-skilled individuals to get jobs done. Things have gone well, costs have been cut, and barriers have been obliterated.

Geography is meaningless. It’s now a matter of skill and business fit.

For many size is also meaningless. If you can demonstrate that you, on your own, can get a job done and done right, you can get that work. Gone are the days where you had to appear as if you had 50 employees just to get your foot in the door.

So here’s the lesson – if you’re a one-person business don’t worry about using “I” in a sentence to talk about your company. Demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are an authority in your niche and will deliver. How do you do that? With case studies, testimonials and content. Content will attract your ideal customers to your website where the case studies and testimonials stand as your proof.

Leave the We-I-Me Myth behind, acknowledge that you’re a highly-capable one-person operation, prove you can back up what you promise, and then do so. Myths only hold power over us if we believe them. And this is one that’s proven to be false.

Comments

  1. That’s why in all t ypes of business, these myths sbould be shrouded and just focus on the facts and start small in all business. If everything is alright, then everything else will follow.

  2. OnRampComm says:

    Really well stated.  And dead on true.  The same goes for small companies that use themselves up (and their resources) exaggerating their size and applying smoke/mirrors in the imagery on their websites etc.  Small and powerful is highly appealing.

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