Last Updated on April 20, 2021 by Husain Parvez
As a small business – and particularly when you are just starting out – it can be difficult to feel as though potential customers are able to take you seriously. When so much of the world of business is overshadowed by a few leading players – national or even international giants with more weight, sway, and recognition than the remaining 95% of businesses – feeling as though you stand any chance at all of attracting a significant clientele over to your brand is, at times, very difficult.
Still, statistics don’t lie, and according to recent insight almost 85% of consumers feel a greater sense of trust in local businesses. This should provide a great source of reassurance to many entrepreneurs pioneering up and down the country – but, as always, there remains plenty that we need to do in order to ensure that our small scale operations appear credible to increasingly discerning consumers.
Read our three tips to boosting small business credibility, below.
Use a Business Number – and Make Answering it as Convenient as Possible
As customers, we are all prone to making snap judgements about companies and suppliers with which we are unfamiliar. In order to guard ourselves against inconveniences and wasted money and time, we look – whether consciously or subconsciously – at factors such as the quality of the company’s website, and, of course, whether or not their contact procedure suggests that it is a professionally run operation, or still stuck in the little league.
For the latter, drawing a definitive line in the sand between your personal and professional lines of communication is vital not only to your ability to ‘switch off’ at the end of each day, but also to that all-important first-impression you put forth to potential customers and clients. By implementing a personalised voicemail, sticking to business hours, and, most importantly, a separate phone number – whether you choose to pursue a localised presence, or utilise a toll-free 1800 number and cast a wider net with your business – you can ensure that your business takes on a fully-formed persona of its own.
Harness Raw Creativity into Consistency
When you have creative authority over your business – and particularly when that business is very new – it is all too easy to unleash a whole torrent of creativity into every aspect of the business – from the website to your branding, social media and marketing campaigns. As an entrepreneur, you are likely bristling with ideas and concepts – all of which seem to take on a great sense of urgency, even before they become fully formed concepts.
Of course, creativity should never be chained down, but it is best for any business if its creatives can be harnessed toward one unified and cohesive idea. If your brand’s voice and visuals seem to change with the tides, then prospective customers will feel confused – and maybe even a little doubtful over your credibility.
Similarly, work towards implementing a schedule for social media, or your site’s blog. A consistent approach is often touted as the best framework for marketing yourself online, rather than a more spontaneous, off-the-cuff approach to posting.
Take a Stance as a Business
A few years ago, the line drawn between businesses and social issues was relatively clear cut. While brands could – and did – take various public stands against and for certain issues, it remained – for the most part – an optional departure from the brand’s main identity and focus. Of course, there were always exceptions, and some of the world’s leading brands have long since made it known that a concern for issues such as sustainability and human rights were a core part of their brand’s philosophy.
Now, however, consumers are increasingly calling upon other brands to do the same, and to commit to the broader issues at hand, rather than growing comfortable within their own consumer-driven microcosm.
For new or small businesses, embracing this new landscape with both arms is one of the best things you can do. Not only will it ensure that you are able to make a genuinely positive impact on the world, but also that you are working toward forging lasting and genuine connections with your customers, rather than pursuing a mode of business that has been replaced by activism and a drive toward genuine purpose.
Pursuing corporate responsibility as a small business is, of course, the work of many years, rather than being a ‘once in a blue moon’ occurrence. It can, however, have a profoundly positive impact on your brand’s perception in relevant markets, and, of course, wider social issues. Customers will feel a deeper connection to your brand – and that is something that will only continue to grow in importance as we move further into the 2020s.
Being perceived as a credible, though small, entity is entirely possible – and highly rewarding. Like many things, however, it takes time and hard work to build a solid foundation within your target market – whether you are a local business, or looking to capture the attention of a national customer base.
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