How to Build Credibility As a New Entrepreneur
In order to be successful in business, you need to have a history of credibility. While there are certainly a few ways that you can earn credibility as an entrepreneur, in many cases, the simplest strategies are the most effective. In this article, we’ll focus on the three areas that are key to the success of your brand, and gaining the credibility that will help you earn trust with your potential customers.
At any stage in business, your credibility is a big part of your success. There are many different strategies you can implement to be seen as credible. However to achieve success there are really only three main areas you should focus on. In this case, it’s your audience, how authentic you are to your audience, and how consistent you are in communicating with them. Without these, you won’t be able to really achieve your potential.
When you’re just starting out, whether you’re a new entrepreneur or an established business entering a new market, your audience needs to trust you. If your branding shows that you’re authentic and consistent, they will. Even though the potential customers in your audience have never met you, if you have a well-built personal brand, it’ll seem as though they already know you.
I can’t stress enough the importance of appealing to a clearly defined audience. Too many entrepreneurs in the beginning try to appeal to everyone. But here’s a fact:
The message of your brand is NOT going to appeal to everyone. You have to let go of the idea that everyone has to like you, in order for you to be successful.
If you don’t commit to a specific demographic of professionals, none of your messages will have the impact that you’re hoping for. If you aren’t willing to risk alienating people who aren’t part of your target audience, you risk not being able to reach those that you want to get in touch with.
How you position yourself, and your organization needs to be attractive to your target audience. For example, let’s say your ideal customers are businesses owned by veterans. Then your brand and values need to align with those of veterans. The lifestyle and benefits that you’re trying to portray should align with the goals that they want to achieve.
We go much deeper into how to do this the right way in our Extreme Branding workshop, but essentially, you need to put your brand where your audience will see it. You have to think about where they are, what they’re looking for, and then build a business development and branding strategy that aligns with that.
With the rise of deep fakes and the influencer culture, consumers are able to tell when someone is projecting a false reality – and they’ll quickly tune you out. When building a brand, many think of building a persona of who they think their customers will want to work with. However, audiences want to work with companies who are real, and true to who they are. So, the purpose of branding is that it’s a strategic way of showing who you really are. Instead of showing who you think your audience will want to work with.
For example, many entrepreneurs will position themselves and their brand as a large organization. Larger than they actually are, when in-fact, they’re a 2-person team. While this might seem like a good strategy to catch the attention of larger potential customers, you risk alienating yourself and missing the customers that are right for your stage of business.
So to create an authentic presence when talking to potential customers, or even building your online presence, you should share parts of your story.
Be real with your audience.
Sharing past experiences and future goals is another way of connecting with your target audience. They’ll see where you’ve come, and where you intend to go with your business. With the rise of high startup valuations, and IPOs, customers want to know that they’re working with a company that has a road map and a plan for growth. However, there is such a thing as oversharing, so do this with caution. You don’t want to reveal your entire strategy.
Your potential customers will be looking for other evidence of your credibility and authenticity. So, they’ll be looking for reviews, testimonials and cast studies. Having a strong presence that shows a history of solving problems is key is closing that gap. If you are authentic, passionate and yourself, you’ll find that it’ll be easier for people to trust you.
There are a couple of ways we can discuss this topic of consistency. One the one hand, you have a more media-oriented level of professional consistency, and on the other you have the engagement consistency.
Media-oriented consistency is making sure the way your brand looks and feels is consistent across every medium your customers might be using to interact with you. Remember, first impressions matter. It’ll instantly stand out when your brand isn’t consistent and you’ll come across as unorganized and unprofessional.
This is actually an area of business development and branding that is quite easy to achieve. Of course, this means making sure you have good quality photos, a strong, recognizable logo, and a unique design that makes you stand out. You’ll want to consistently use the same colors and fonts.
Again, this is something that can take some time in the beginning stages of your career, but it’ll have invaluable long-term results. Plus, if you’re the creative type, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase who you are as a brand.
While, we discuss engagement in much more detail in our Extreme Branding workshop, one of the takeaways is that you want to have a consistent content strategy. Content doesn’t necessarily mean blog and social media posts. It can also be emails that you send, videos that you publish or distribute. Whatever medium you choose to use for communicating with your audience, you’ll want to communicate with them regularly.
The easiest way to accomplish this, is to build a schedule that allows you to create high-quality materials for your audience. It’s important not to stress about trying to deliver a lot of material to keep your audience engaged. Take a balanced approach. You don’t need to reach out to them daily, but when you do it should be something that really moves them.
The Bottom Line
The term branding no longer applies to corporations and businesses. As an entrepreneur, a business professional, you are your own brand. Building and maintaining a strong brand isn’t hard, but it will take some time and require you to be accountable. Not only to your audience, but also to yourself. How your brand is perceived by your audience goes a long way towards getting them to say yes to you, and your business.
Focus on speaking directly to your audience and solving their problems. Be authentic and consistent. You don’t want to damage your brand by neglecting any of these items over time.
In closing, whether it’s these steps, or someone else’s the best way to put yourself in the best position with your audience, and get the best opportunities, is to take some steps towards building your credibility. To go deeper, and gain a better understanding of the best way to build your credibility and grow on-demand, click here.