Keeping a business going and growing depends on how the clients and suppliers look at you and how you manage your business. You have to earn their trust and develop reciprocity. You need to have a presence and show professionalism, online and offline.
Here are some tips on how to do that.
- Maintain an online presence. Invest in a domain name. Your current and potential customers will know about you and your products and services faster. Your website should be user-friendly, designed professionally, and your logo displayed prominently. All pertinent information related to your business - products, services, terms of service and delivery schedule, warranties and company history, company objectives, privacy statements and contact information should be included in your website.
- Be consistent in every facet of your business, from the quality of your products and services, your delivery schedule, your terms of service to warranty and guaranty terms.
- Invest in business process and system software that can help you run your business smoothly and efficiently. Ensure that every member of your business know how to use the system.
- Customer service is very important in any business. Ensure that your frontliners have thorough knowledge about the products and services that you offer. Provide training for staff and employees regularly to keep them updated on industry developments and trends.
- Utilize available marketing tools and venues that are available. Take out advertisements in print and broadcast mediums as your budget allows. Hire a professional to write your advertising copy and include that in your website.
- Share some of your knowledge with your customers through regular newsletters, replies to inquiries, and blogs. Make use of social networking tools that are available. If you can, publish articles in industry newsletters.
- Get involved in community activities and local organizations that can widen your market. Take time to volunteer to a cause or charity that you support to increase your personal and business presence.
- Be truthful in all your claims regarding your products and services. Make your customers aware of why they need your products and services based on what values these can actually deliver.
- Make use of testimonials. These are powerful statements of trust in your products and services. Get testimonials from satisfied customers and ask permission to post them in your website.
- Ensure that you include your business address in your website, that the phone numbers you have listed are actually working and that someone is always ready to take the call. Also include email inquiry service and designate someone to reply to these emails promptly. Maintaining contact with customers will increase your credibility.
- Have a professionally-designed business card. Your business card should have the same information as what is listed in your website.
- When a potential client requests for a face-to-face presentation, demonstration or meeting, be sure you are prepared for the meeting, be on time, and follow the standard business etiquette.
- Apply for membership to industry and business associations and be an active member. Make yourself available to be in a panel discussion, be a judge or guest speaker. Be willing to demonstrate your product if applicable and join appropriate competitions and industry awards. You can check some of these through your local chamber of commerce.
- Seek alignment with other businesses for cross-referencing and affiliate marketing.
Building credibility starts with you. You are an extension of your business and your products. Exert every effort to protect your business and your brand. Keep updated on business developments, trends and industry news and utilize this knowledge whenever applicable.