It’s always a steep climb for startups before they get recognized as legitimate businesses. With the proliferation of online scammers and fly-by-night investment houses, we can’t really blame the public for being hesitant to entrust their hard-earned money to brands that are not yet established.
But if your business is truly legitimate, there are a few things you can do to convince potential clients of your credibility:
- Launch a good website
When people want to check if a certain business is legitimate, their first course of action is to Google the name of the business. Since you are a startup, chances are you wouldn’t have any news or feature articles written about you just yet. Keep in mind that it wouldn’t look good if zero results turn up after a search of your startup’s name.
What would be good is if customers would find a professional website for your startup on the first page of their search engine results. A good website with complete information speaks of a company’s credibility. Do not skimp on developers and creatives who can help you come up with a website that’s as great as your business.
- Be responsive on social media
In the age of digital technology, people want instant answers and instant results. One way you can establish that you run a legitimate business is by being highly responsive on social media. Wise customers would ask searching questions before putting their trust in a company. Leaving their messages or comments unanswered for too long would give an impression that you’re not on top of the business, and your credibility would definitely take a hit.
- Install a landline phone system
When people deal with businesses, they still like to look for landline numbers. Hence, saying that your business only has a mobile number can raise questions about your legitimacy. However, if you’re not a big fan of the entire wired phone system, there’s still a way you can get a business line. That’s by subscribing to a virtual landline system, which will allow you to make and receive landline calls right from your mobile. This means you can have an official business number without having to install any wired systems -- you don’t even have to install anything on your phone; just the subscription would do the trick.
- Have a business email and bank account
Aside from an official phone number, you also need a business email and a bank account to go with it. These are business essentials that potential clients would be asking from you at one point or another. If you cannot provide these details, then your potential clients can’t be blamed for thinking twice about doing business with you.
- Secure reviews from first customers
You’re not the only one who can help improve the image of your own startup. When those first batch of customers and clients come trickling in, make sure they walk out the door satisfied with your product or service.
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If you are able to do this, then you’d be able to ask them to leave positive feedback or reviews for your startup. Having positive comments on social media will increase your credibility, and will reassure any potential customers that you are worth the try.
- Seek speaking engagements
As an entrepreneur, you have to understand that your personal credibility is indubitably tied with that of your startup. So if you want to improve the image of your business, you can start by improving your personal CV and letting yourself known to key players in your industry. One way you can achieve this is by scoring speaking engagements that will put you in front of not just your target clients, but other businessmen in your field of expertise, too… Network.
- Prioritize partnerships with known brands
Sometimes, before you can get customers to trust you, you need a badge of approval from better-known brands first. Once your brand appears in a partnership with a company whose reputation is already impeccable, you can reference said partnership in case anyone ever doubts the legitimacy of your operations.
At the end of the day, you just have to get over the initial hump of not being a household name just yet. Once you are able to establish your startup’s credibility, it’s only a matter of time before you can become an established business yourself.