After much hard work and deliberation, you’ve finally launched your startup. But how do you prove that you deserve the trust of clients, investors, team members, that are all crucial for your startup’s success?With hundreds of companies offering similar services and the internet being a breeding ground for scams, how do customers know your particular startup is not taking them for a ride and that they should do business with you? Customers tread carefully where spending money is concerned. Apart from clients, you also need to attract good quality suppliers, talented team members and reputed investors, all of whom will contribute greatly to your startup’s success. This is why validating your startup and boosting its credibility is important.
Here is an action plan to help you validate your startup and boost credibility:
Get associated with trustworthy names
Partner with associations and clients that inspire trust among your clients. For example, you can get your company audited by one of the Big Four accounting firms in order to be seen as a trustworthy company. You can also sign up companies that give you a sort of validation stamp such as StartupBlink global startup ecosystem map, that goes over your startup stats with you and provides a detailed review.
Become a City Partner
You can increase the awareness of your startup by joinig the City Partnership program that is designed for organizations leading their local startup ecosystem and aims to connect with key players such as startup founders and public sector developers locally and globally. By becoming a City Partner, your organization receives acknowledgment as a local ecosystem leader and visibility in front of 75,000+ entrepreneurs and decision-makers on the StartupBlink Global Startup Map, as well as in our reports and communities. The partnership is exclusive to one organization per city, hence, this way we can make sure that every partner will receive all the benefit from the partnership. Here you will find more about the City Partnership program and how to apply.
Participate in startup events
If your startups participates in top startups events such as TechCrunch and Pioneer, it inspires confidence in your audience. Presenting at a big event, in front of a panel of judges, shows that you have worked on your product and are serious about it. Be sure to showcase your participation on your website. If you don’t manage to get accepted in the competition itself, you can also attend the event as a spectator with your team. Simply showing at startup events also shows you are serious about building business ties and sharing your startup ideas.
Get some PR
A mention in top tech blogs and publications can win you many brownie points as far as building credibility is concerned. No journalist would ever risk their reputation on a dubious startup. Thus, getting your story published on a big name blog and startup magazines such as TechCrunch and The Next Web shows that your startup has gone through due diligence and is trustworthy. You can then display these on your website and win customer’s trust. It is worth investing some time and thought into the most accessible blogs in your niche and pitching your startup to them.
Have a contact number
Customers need to know where they can reach you, in case they have queries or are unhappy with your product. Yes, even in this day and age where you are accessible via your website and social media. Be sure to have a helpline number or online customer support where customers can talk or live chat with you. Having a phone number is best, but if that not possible consider getting a virtual number that customers can contact and speak with you at.
Seeing that other clients have done business with you and trust your services certainly inspires trust and encourages other customers to consider you. Be sure to use their full name and photo so it appears credible. Try to get big, reputed companies to work with you,and use their testimonials if possible. It is also a good idea to get a government approval stamp on your website by either cooperating with them or providing them with your services, as it shows you are legit.
Word of mouth
A study from Nielsen shows that customers are four times more likely to buy a product when referred to by a friend. Take advantage of this invaluable marketing tool and ask existing customers to recommend you to their network. Clients are the biggest validators for any business and if they don’t recommend you, you might want to check if your services are delivering on their promise.
Have a professional looking website
Does your website have a compelling and inviting homepage? Or does it reek of SPAM and have banners and pop-ups all over it? Nothing makes customers more suspicious of your credibility as much as a spammy looking website. Be sure you follow best SEO practices and have an impressive website that customers can trust.
Have your policies in place
Another good way to boost customer confidence is to put everything on the table in the form of an agreement and let customers know what they are getting into. Have a professional looking agreement when they sign up for your service and let them know about your refund and support policies beforehand.
Get a big investor on-board
While this is easier said than done, it is certainly a step worth spending your time on. A big investor not only brings in cash, but much needed validation for any startup. If an investor can put money into your startup, customers will likely too. They will believe you can deliver on your promises. Not to mention the PR and buzz it creates for your startup!
Share your knowledge
Demonstrate your expertise in your industry by organizing free webinars, writing blog posts and having a podcast. Subscribers to your content will know that you have intricate knowledge about your field and will then be willing to invest money in your product. Giving away your knowledge for free is a good way to generate quality inbound traffic. It establishes you as an authority in your industry and reflects well on your business. Plus, let’s not forget that it’s always good to give back to the community.
Rank highly on Google
One of the factors plays a role in generating customer trust is the ranking of a page on Google. Believe it or not, Google search results play a huge role in determining your startup’s importance in prospective customers’ eyes. It’s why companies are falling over each to grab the top spot in Google rankings. With clever SEO and optimization, you can get the coveted top spot on Google’s first page.
Be active on social media
Have a lively social media page buzzing with activity, so customers know you are serious about cultivating relationships with your customers online. Interact regularly with people who share your content and influencers in your industry. A mention or two by them might go a long way in establishing your credibility.
Presenting your startup as trustworthy is the first step if you want to get your company off-the-ground and ready for clients. It is an ongoing process however, and it is important to backup all your claims that existing customers can vouch for.