You’ve raised the funds you needed to launch your business, you’ve come up with a name and went through the proper channels to make your company legit. Though these are all necessary first steps, legally registering a business and raising enough funds to cover operational expenses, simply isn’t enough to get the customers to start banging down your door.
Unfortunately, telling someone your products or services are great (no matter how true that statement may be), doesn’t mean they’re going to jump at the chance to do business with you. If you plan to be successful, you must first prove yourself to be credible to your target audience and comparable to other competitors.
You must be able to answer questions like,
- “Who are you?”
- “What do you stand for?”
- “What makes you any different than others”, and more importantly,
- “Why should I do business with you?”.
Building credibility isn’t something that happens overnight but is ultimately necessary to take your brand to new heights. Below, are a few suggestions on how to accomplish this:
5 Ways to Build Credibility as a New Entrepreneur
1. Be an Authority in Your Field
Would you go and have your car serviced by someone who had never been to school for auto mechanics? Would you sign up to be a patient of a doctor who didn’t finish their residency or complete medical school? The same is true for consumers with any business. They are more inclined to do business with individuals who have experience and authority within their industry or niche.
It is not only important that you go through the proper channels of formal education and training within your industry, but that you solidify yourself as someone who knows what they’re talking about. As you can see from Shailesh Dash, a successful entrepreneur of an investment firm, highlighting his accomplishments through platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn show he is well established and knowledgeable within his field. With 17 years of experience in the financial field, and a plethora of success under the guidance of other organizations and then his own, it would be safe to assume that he can be trusted with your finances.
2. Be Honest
One of the quickest ways to ruin your credibility as a new business owner is to withhold information, over embellish the truth, or to flat out lie. If your target audience feels as though you cannot be trusted, they will easily move on to other competitors. Being honest not only means staying true to yourself, your company, and your core values but being transparent.
Transparency means being an open book and not being afraid of what could come from that. Being able to admit that you don’t know the answers to a question, speaking honestly and truthfully about what your purpose is and what your brand stands for, and having the integrity to admit when you’re wrong and learn from those mishaps show the outside world that you are in fact honest and worthy of giving a try.
3. Learn Your Audience
The most authentic brands are those that know their audience. They use a plethora of platforms to not only showcase their abilities and understanding within their market but to build a solid connection and gain perspective on who their audience is. Consumers prefer to do business with service providers who understand their needs and work diligently to meet them. Platforms like social media, for instance, provide a commonplace for entrepreneurs and their audiences to connect.
The most successful professionals use these platforms to first listen to their audience and then utilize their similarities, expertise, and brand to connect on another level. It is with continued concern, effort, and follow-through that entrepreneurs are able to stand out from their competition and develop a higher level of trust amongst their target audience.
4. Network, Network, Network
A large portion of building your credibility as a new entrepreneur is networking. It is through the authentic relationships and connections with other like-minded professionals that you increase your exposure. For every business contact you make, this is a new opportunity for you to grow. As these working relationships evolve, other successful business professionals are willing to go to bat for you. They will provide endorsements, make recommendations, and send referrals your way. Since they’re already established and have strong ties to the business community, it makes it easier for you to get your foot in the door.
For example, let’s say you were looking for a nutritionist to help you improve your health. While you could certainly search the internet and find hundreds of service providers to choose from, you’d be more inclined to go with the recommendation from your primary care physician. As your doctor has already developed an authentic relationship with you, you have a heightened level of trust for whomever they recommend you see.
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5. Build a Reputation by Delivering on Promises
To say that your products or services will solve a problem for your target audience is one thing, however, actually following through on those promises is another. To build credibility as an entrepreneur, meeting or exceeding the expectations of others is a must.
If you tell a client you’ll have their project done within a certain time frame, it is imperative that you make good on this promise. This leads to client satisfaction, which leads to positive feedback, repeat business, and eventually, the potential for new business. When customers see that you’re not all talk, but actually take action towards backing up what you’ve said, they are more inclined to trust you and do business with you. In fact, satisfied customers can lead to a positive reputation through word of mouth which has proven to be the most effective means of marketing.
For any business to succeed, it becomes necessary for them to build credibility within their industry. With millions of businesses established around the world, it is those brands that have taken the time to prove themselves to others that tend to stand out the most.
If you’re new to the business and wondering why you’re having a hard time gaining new customers, take a step back and ask yourself if you’ve done everything you can to prove to your target audience that you’re knowledgeable, trustworthy, and valuable. As showing others that you have what it takes and making good on those promises is the only way you’ll succeed.