It’s sad but true that clients will be unwilling to work with somebody they have never professionally interacted with before. However, there are ways to increase the credibility of your business.
Steps to increased credibility
A non-existing or badly designed website is a major turnoff for most people. Poor design quality and garish color combinations will irritate the visitor endlessly and he will probably never come back. Remember that your clients will check out your credibility online before they do so in real life.
Your website is your chance to make a great first impression; so avail of all possible help to construct a great website. Create and publish accurate, relevant and error free content that will keep people coming back.
If you customers are likely to be on LinkedIn then have a LinkedIn profile and work hard on making yourself look as good as possible. Give lots of information about yourself and get recommendations.
Have a quick turnaround time. If you receive a mail during business hours, reply on the same working day. The basic problem with small home based businesses is that they have a perceived aura of non professionalism. You must cultivate an aura of efficiency and professionalism by being punctual and giving due importance to all queries (even those seeking general information). Your behavior will show your clients that you are serious and dedicated towards your business.
Strive to gain a positive reputation within your community. Earn the respect of other industry members and you will get a lot of good references. A good way is to start blogging yourself (if you feel that you can write well). Alternatively, you can hire a writer to develop and manage your blog.
Do’s and Don’ts
Present information in a way that the readers can understand. If you are a technical person, remember, not everybody else is comfortable with highly technical terms. Don’t bore you customers by providing intricate technical details. Give them short bytes of information that they can easily process and retain.
Awards are important in the context of recognition. As a small business owner, greater visibility should be your primary aim. Try to enter local business competitions, community award contests and attend seminars whenever possible.
If you cannot maintain a website for your business (although there are no excuses for this), at least have a dedicated Facebook page for your business. Tweet about new product launches, relevant information and cheery thoughts from your Twitter account. Register yourself on LinkedIn (if you are not already present) and make new business contacts. In short, utilize the enormous potential offered by social networking sites.
Also – don’t forget to tell people how long you have been in business. Show people how experienced you are and how much expertise you have. Show this together with recommendations that are glowing will get you a much higher chance of getting new business.
Never ever overpromise and under deliver. Nothing ruins customer experiences and wrecks credibility like failed promises. Make statements that you are sure to live up to and then delight your customers by offering something extra. That way, your customers will feel that you are credible and are capable of surpassing their expectations.
This is one area that small businesses can beat their competition. You have fewer customers and care much more about the business than a paid employee of a bigger company. Use the fact that you will go the extra mile to make sure they are happy and satisfied as a customer.
To summarise you need to make sure that where ever you have an online presence it looks as professional and as strong as it can. You need to make your small home based business as big as you can and as serious as you can. This way you will give potential customers the confidence to pick up the phone and make an enquiry.
Zoostr is a free business software that allows you to create professional looking price quotations and invoices that have been professionally design and make you look good. Zoostr also allows you to send bulk SMS messages to your customers. The best bit – it’s free. Get an account here.