One of the big challenges for first-time entrepreneurs targeting a new industry is getting enough credibility and visibility to have true business discussions with stakeholders.
Prospects look for client referrals to purchase, but it’s impossible to get referrals without actual purchases. Many entrepreneurs fall prey to this chicken and egg situation. For prospects, it can feel like a waste of time and resources meeting with unproven entrepreneurs (here’s how to motivate them).
Early on, there are five things that entrepreneurs need to demonstrate to be perceived as credible:
- Personal Credibility – Do you know what you’re talking about?
- Commitment – Are you in it for the long haul?
- Reliability – Are you doing what you say you’re going to do?
- Passion – Do you really care about solving our problem?
- References – Who can vouch for you?
In a typical North American market, it usually takes over a year to build relationships and get mid to large business customers.
You can’t expect businesses to share their true internal needs and problems with just about anyone they meet. The credibility of your startup and your personal credibility must be established from the first interactions forward.
Why should they trust you? Who can tell me that I can trust you?
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