The universal thorn in startup’s side is a constant lack of resources. Startups simply don’t have the resources to launch national advertising campaigns, lease the best retail space, or build robust technology. But you can’t look like a fly-by-night operation, either. For people to give you their money, they have to trust you. The name of the game in Startupland is to create the impression that you are an established, trustworthy company. To be taken seriously, you have to look bigger than a couple hackers in a garage.
There are a lot of ways to do this. Ultimately, it depends on the nature of your startup, but they are a few tried-and-true tactics. A 1-800-number with an interactive menu has a “big company” feel. Even better, have a virtual assistant patch through your calls. Media mentions can also an effective way to demonstrate social proof. Major media logos on your website are a great way to establish credibility. To a lesser extent, testimonials are a way to create trust. Written testimonials are okay, but videos of your ecstatic customers are even better.
Perception is reality. If you want customers to buy from you, make sure that you’re perceived as a winner.