Get big business respect (even if you're small):
1. Create a brand to act as the face of your business: Having a business brand that's separated from your own personality will help you to get the respect you deserve. Clients are more likely to hire "Cobalt Builders" than "Mike" as the lead contractor on their homes. A brand gives you that separation, and
2. Always act professionally: You can't expect clients to treat you professionally if you don't show them your professionalism. Keep to timelines, deliver on promises, and return your voicemails. Set up a business-only email and phone. Nix the tattered jeans and dress appropriately for meetings and networking events. Keep your personal shenanigans out of your blog and newsletter (a bit of "personal news" is OK, but keep it mainly business. Act like a business and people will treat you as such.
3. Be organized about your brand and marketing. Define your brand, and stick to that definition. The 4 things you need to know:
- Who you are (your personality, values, and mission – as a business)
- What you do (the products/services you provide, and how you deliver them)
- What makes you different from your (what makes you stand out?)
- Who you can best help (what customers do you enjoy working with?)
Remember that your brand's job is to communicate the first 3 points above to the audience described in the 4th – not to "explain yourself in your own words", but rather to explain yourself in words they will connect and identify with.
Once you've defined your brand, use that to organize your thoughts about all of your marketing materials – what materials to create, how to use them to communicate with your audience, even when to send out marketing pieces.
If you create a marketing calendar and communicate regularly with your audience, you'll wind up looking much more "big business" than your other small-business competitors who may be marketing sporadically or irregularly.