Building your small business brand
What's all the fuss over credibility

Credibility—if you have it, your business has a tremendous chance of continued growth. If you don't have it—buckle up. It might be a bit of a bumpy ride.

Credibility is something your grandfather talked about when you were a child - at least mine did. But it wasn't until I began to understand what credibility means that I began to understand its effect on how successful I would be as a person and a business owner.

Here’s why credibility is vital—you need to establish three things before a prospect will even consider doing business with you:

1) Interest
2) Credibility
3) Trust

It's crucial that you have not one or two of those elements, but all three working together when approaching a prospect for business. For example, if you were interested in a new foreign car, but the company didn't have any credibility in your eyes, would you buy from them? Probably not. Remember to keep this in mind when you look at your own business. Learn to see things from your prospect's and client's perspective. Do you have credibility in their eyes?  

So What is Credibility?
Dictionary.com defines it as: The quality, capability, or power to elicit belief, or, a capacity for belief.

I see this as prospects and clients having the belief that you will be able to help them solve his/her problem (whatever that is). As a small business owner, it’s important you understand that prospects call on you to solve their problems. Their problem might be: hunger, balancing their books, improving confidence in their business brand, or a lack of sales.

So what exactly does that mean to you?
Think about it for a second, "the power to elicit belief." If someone doesn't believe you (or believe in you), what's the likelihood they will do business with you? They won’t.
It's pretty simple, if people trust you and you can elicit belief from people, there's a solid chance they will do business with you.
How marketing, online video, and design influence your credibility
Say you're considering a vacation to Florida and you’re browsing the web to find some local attractions.
You visit three theme park web sites: One website is down. The next website has some pictures of the park and some content (there are a couple of typos in the content). The last website you visit has a consistent, professional look and feel, and it has a high-energy engaging video that showcases people having a blast at the park. Based on their websites, the last theme park took their image and credibility seriously. They invested some resources in it. However, the first two theme parks have established little or no credibility.
At this point (not considering other variables), who are you more likely to visit? Exactly…
Now the key is to translate this example into your own situation and profession. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Based on credibility, would they do business with you or one of your competitors?
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