Your small business’s credibility is one of its most valuable assets. Consumers want to support businesses they trust, and potential partners want to know that they can rely on their clients and suppliers. In the business world, earning a good reputation takes hard work, but the loss of that reputation can happen very quickly. How can small-business owners bolster their business’s credibility?
Stand by Your Word
Some businesses make impressive promises to gain customers, but when it’s time to make good on them, they fail to deliver. While stretching the truth might impress prospects early in the game, they’ll quickly take their business elsewhere when they find out they’ve been deceived. It’s far better to accurately represent your offerings up front than to lose customers when they don’t live up to previous claims.
Likewise, it’s important to make good on your business commitments. If you promise that an order will be shipped by a certain date, then make every effort to ensure that it happens. If you commit to completing a project within a certain budget, then try to keep costs below that threshold. No business owner wants to gain a reputation for over-promising and under-delivering.
Share Your Expertise
Being in business is not just about selling products or services, it’s also about being a trusted source of expert advice. Small-business owners who are seeking to enhance their credibility as experts in their fields should find a way to showcase their credentials and expertise. Holding seminars, creating a blog, and peppering the business’s website with client testimonials are just a few ways to build consumer trust.
Don’t Take Criticism Personally
With all of the activity on online review sites, few busy small businesses will avoid invoking the ire of at least one customer. Some negative reviews are completely unfair, but others may have a grain of truth to them. When responding to online criticism, small-business owners must not get embroiled in heated personal arguments, even if the reviews are completely off base.
Instead, they should use negative reviews as opportunities to demonstrate their business’s commitment to customer satisfaction in a public forum. If considered objectively, negative reviews can be a valuable source of improvement for small businesses. Not only that, but converting skeptics is a very powerful way to gain word-of-mouth advertising.
Build Your Business’s Credit Rating
Your business’s credit rating has a huge impact on its overall credibility. Potential business partners view creditworthy businesses as reliable partners, as good business credit is generally a sign of prudent business practices and a commitment to excellence. Prospective clients may also check your business’s credit rating, in order to verify your reliability as a supplier. Good credit often indicates healthy finances and thus, a high probability of longevity and reliability.