3 Ways To Build The Credibility Of Your Startup
Credibility is defined by Google as the the quality of being trusted or believed in. To have credibility as a small business is key to reaching and holding on to the customers you want to serve. The issue when starting out however is how to build credibility when you have none to start with. Maybe you own a startup or run a company that just entered into a new product line, but chances are you will be going against incumbents who have been at it a lot longer than you. So how do you go about building credibility? Through discipline, integrity, and hard work.
A lot of blogs I looked at on this topic discussed the need to build credibility through consistency. It seemed like they were trying to avoid mentioning the precursor to consistency, the quality that drives it: discipline. This is one of the quickest ways to show a prospective or current customer that you know what you’re talking about. Disciplined action and execution of your company’s mission and product strategy will grow the trust and respect people have for you. After all, it is not the quick hacks that provide long term value, it is the problems that are solved through pressure applied slowly over time. Stay disciplined in your approach and your clients will notice. Disciplined, consistent action is the best way to build trust and credibility.
Another quality that is often swept under the rug in our culture today is integrity of character. Are you the person your clients think you are? Or do you drop your corporate front as soon as the 9 to 5 day finishes? This is an important question to answer. If you are truly committed to the values of your startup you will live them in all aspects of your life. Although work-life balance has become extremely popular, it has also helped breed the excuse to act out when not at work. Being the same person to all you encounter is a very good way of building credibility. People can sense dishonesty, even if it’s very indirect. Any uneasy feelings you generate from a lack of integrity will translate to a lack of credibility.
Although considered a cliche and scorned by many who advocate the “work smart not hard” mantra, hard work is still the best means to get results. What should be added to this is that hard, disciplined work will get results. Many people still value and appreciate the trait of being a hard worker, so it is a good way to build trust and respect. Customers are more willing to give work to a business that is going to work hard for them. Working hard at your craft gives you immediate credibility, as it shows your level of dedication and demonstrates that you love what you do. Hiring someone who only wants to work for you 2 hours a day couldn’t be more of a credibility killer. Put in the work, and customers will reward you with their patronage.