Be Yourself, Provide Value, and Help Others
1. Become an Expert in your Field
The more you know about your business, the more your customers will trust and believe in your product or service. Learn the ins and outs of the business as much as you can and share your knowledge with customers.
2. Be Everywhere
Sponsor events, donate to charities, and get your face seen around the community as well as online. Create videos, tutorials, advertisements, and helpful content related to your niche.
3. Be Transparent
Always be honest with your customers and potential clients. Transparency builds trust and enables people to become more comfortable in spending money or investing in your business. Don't pretend you are someone you aren't. Just be yourself. Want to know more about me? I'm just your average guy loving life in the Mountains in Bozeman, Montana. I enjoy a good beer at the brewery, taking a day off for a powder day at the local ski resort, and spending time with my family and friends. My goal is to continue to build my businesses and some day become a millionaire.
4. Be a Helper
While turning a profit is your ultimate goal, it is important to be as helpful as possible while starting and running any business. Go out of your way to help all of your customers and invest time and effort (especially in the beginning) into providing as many resources as you can to help customers. Sometimes this means creating and giving away lots of free stuff or content in order to build trust with your customers and get them to believe in your company.
5. Be Consistent
As a young entrepreneur (27) I've gone through my fair share of businesses and found out that you have to be consistent. Keep your message consistent, build your brand effectively, and strive to build the business each and everyday. You can't focus on a business for one week straight and then take two weeks off. Be there for your customers, continue to create new products/services, and keep your message and branding consistent across the board.
In addition to the values and traits needed to build a successful business, the following tools will help build credibility as well.
1. Create a Legal Entity and obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number
While you can operate a business as a sole proprietor, there are many advantages to setting up a legal entity like an LLC, Corporation, Sub S Corp, LLP, and so on. Creating a legal entity will minimize your liability, allow you to set up business bank accounts, help in securing contracts with suppliers/vendors, and show that your business is legitimate. I wrote a post about creating a legal entity in my home state of Montana (click here – How to set up a legal entity in Montana). However, the process is very similar in other states. You'll be able to find information on the Secretary of State's website for your specific state. If you are in the US, you'll also need to file for a tax id number. This is a simple process, plus a tax ID number is usually required when setting up accounts with vendors etc.
2. Setup a Business Banking Account
Head down to your local bank and get set up with a Bank Account. This way you'll be able to keep all your business expenses separate from personal and can write checks from your business as well as set up charge accounts and build business credit. You'll need to have your legal entity and tax id number prior to getting set up with a bank account.
3. Get a Commercial Mailing Address
I've had a mail box at the Bozeman, Montana UPS Store the last 3 years for my business. It is a great way to build credibility for a home based business and it also provides all kinds of other benefits. For instance, I know that all my UPS ground packages will be delivered by 10AM (at least in my home town). So, I can deliver shipments to customers as soon as they arrive, or get started with projects right away, and not have to wait around all afternoon hoping the truck arrives. I get all of my business mail at the Bozeman UPS store (USPS, UPS, Fedex, etc). The other nice thing is that I don't have to be home around to sign for a package. I also have a suite number so it looks professional and is considered a commercial address, which sometimes lowers shipping costs and allows more items to be delivered. The UPS store team will sign for you to ensure every package is delivered. Lastly, the crew down their is great. Thanks Tracy, Rich, Jake, Dusty, and team. Here is a full post I wrote in case you want a little more info about the UPS store – a great solution for small businesses.
4. Get an 800 Number or Google Voice Number For your Business
It is important to separate business calls from personal calls. This doesn't necessarily mean getting a new phone these days. It simply means setting up a new number and having it routed to your cell phone or employees cell phones. Here is how I've taken care of this.
- I setup a Free Google Voice number. Here is a post I did about it,(a little dated), but it shows the basics of how to get it set up. You can get a free number with your local area code and all. Then route it to your cell phone easily. Check out the link – https://www.thinkentrepreneurship.com/google-voice-features-that-will-help-your-small-business/
- To build credibility I've also set up an 800 number. You can pay as little as $12.00 per month for an 800 number (it goes up as you require more minutes), but it is a great way to add credibility and stay mobile at the same time. The number can be routed to any phone and you get an unlimited number of extensions. I set mine up using a company called Grasshopper and have been very happy with their services. Click here for a full post about my experience in getting set up with an 800 number and how to go about getting started. There are many other services out there that do a great job. A couple other services I've heard good things about (but don't currently use) are PhoneBooth, Phone.com , and Ring Central.
5. Create a Professional Looking Website, E-commerce Store, or Blog
Creating a website for your business is one of the best marketing tools you can create. You'll find that you don't have to be a tech guru to create a good looking site. It's also affordable to set up a site and can be done fairly quickly. However, if you think that you cannot do it by yourself then you could look at using an IT support team like Champions of Change. They can do the work for you, however, you could also create your website by yourself. If you're selling a product, you may decide to sell it on a site such as Amazon. Receiving positive feedback is a crucial aspect to ensure your products sell. If you do happen to get negative feedback, it would be useful to learn how to remove negative feedback on Amazon. This will make sure that customers keep buying your products! If you need some help regarding IT, Ricoh IT Services will be able to help you out. As when you do have questions, simply do a Google search or look for Youtube videos and tutorials to help get you out of the rut. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
- Creating a Website or Blog – Use a combination of WordPress, a hosting service, and WooThemes. To get started follow the steps in my video and then go to the Bluehost site for easy integration with WordPress. You can also check out my post with all of my advice for getting a website set up for entrepreneurs.
- Creating an E-commerce Store to sell stuff – While WordPress does offer themes for E-commerce, I recommend using a platform built specifically for creating online stores. I did a lot of research and ending up getting setup with Big Commerce because they are easy to setup, powerful, have awesome customer service, and look professional. Here is a full review that I created about my experience in setting up an online store for SignsoftheMountains.com. Click here
I hope these tips help in building your business and in becoming more credible. Please comment below with any tips or advice you have for entrepreneurs. If you found this article helpful please subscribe to our newsletter with all sorts of tips, advice, and inspiration for entrepreneurs.