Synonyms for credibility: authority, validity, respect, trust, impressiveness, integrity.
Do those words ring true for your business? Have you earned the respect and trust of others? Do people consider your business impressive? It’s the difference between success and failure. If you struggle to remain credible in business, you are will hit hard times and possibly fail. Why? The answer’s obvious. You need money to invest in your business. You need customers to help your business flourish. You need employees who will follow you in both the good and bad times. If your business lacks credibility, you will lack the following that comes with it.
To be credible, consider the following.
Your customers are the lifeblood of a business, and they will spend their money if you are offering them something that is value for money. Therefore, your product needs to be fairly priced and of a high quality. The way you talk to your customers needs to be respectful, replying to queries in a prompt manner, and being sensitive when it comes to matters of complaints. Be kind to your customers, and they will be kind to you, on a financial and personal basis. Credibility is lost when you don’t adhere to these principles, and with the power of social media, your customers will soon let the world know what they think of you.
Credibility comes from being a fair employer. This includes offering a fair wage, an open door policy, and respect for individuals on your team. You will lose credibility amongst your employees when you turn up late for work constantly, have extended lunch breaks, rule the office with an iron fist, and have little regard for any issues they are having. A productive workplace is a happy workplace, so you need to earn the trust and respect of the people working hard to help you keep your company afloat.
Your working practices
A lazy or slapdash attitude to your work will breed contempt from your employees, customers, stakeholders, and clients. You need to implement good practice into all you do, with care and diligence to ensure your professionalism. We understand corners are cut sometimes. You’re a busy person after all, but that doesn’t mean you should be careless. A poorly written invoice is inexcusable when you can use an invoice template online. Forgetting to carry out certain tasks can be avoided by using Evernote. Not keeping tabs on your expenses can be alleviated by using Expensify. There is software available to help the busy business manager, and you avoid it at your peril. Credibility will be lost when the work you do is of poor quality and carried out with half-assed attempts.
What do people think when they see or hear your brand name? Does it invoke a feeling of quality, value and strong ethics? Or are people annoyed by your brand? Expensive prices, shoddy workmanship and unreliability are some of the negative connotations your brand may convey. Of course, your brand may mean nothing to people at all, and that could be the worst thing. If you haven’t marketed yourself correctly, you will be little different to the other generic brands littering our high streets. You need to build a reputable brand, with positive traits and strong values. Needless to say, if you are unethical and offer little value to the customer, your credibility will be at a minimum.
This goes beyond the business you run. If you, as an individual, have a poor reputation, you will lose credibility. You may have run into trouble with the law. You may be known as a gossip monger on social media. Your business practices may be unethical. You may have lied to get money from investors or to cause trouble for others. Dishonesty will get you nowhere, other than a lack of credibility from the people you need the most. Therefore, be honest and show transparency. If you make a mistake, own up to it, and don’t try to cover it up. If you need something from your stakeholders, be upfront. Don’t embellish facts and figures. You will only be digging a hole for yourself. As the public face of your company, do all you can to win trust, even if you have to eat humble pie once in a while.
Here is where you show authority as a business leader. Sharing your expertise with others will build credibility for your personal and brand image. Getting up in front of others at a trade conference or workshop and sharing what you know will instil confidence from others. Writing an eBook and sharing it with others will spread the word about your skills in business. Not every business leader has public speaking skills, but writing something down, or sharing information on your website and online forums will positively affect people’s reaction to you. Of course, you need to know what you are talking about. You will lose credibility if your lack of knowledge comes through, so ensure you get your facts right before sharing with others.
If you have been in business for a while and adhered to the advice mentioned above, you will have earned credibility. Your customers will like you, your employees will be in favour of you, and you may have even won a few awards. Fantastic, but don’t keep your achievements to yourself. Ask your customers for testimonials that can be displayed on your website. Have a team page with quotes from your employees as to why they enjoy working for you. Share news about your awards on social and local media, and highlight accreditations on your website. Don’t be bashful – you should be proud of the achievements you have earned, and there is no better way to show your credibility than those.
It will take time and effort to build a credible image for your company, but it is possible if you follow our advice. One slip-up can scupper your efforts, so be diligent in all you do, both in business and in your personal life.
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