It seems like the chips are ever stacked against new businesses. They’re trying to carve out their space in a tough market place, they have to do it on a shoestring budget, and, to cap things off, they can have a hard time being taken seriously by customers and other businesses. While you can’t always do anything about the market or how much money you have, you can do something about how you’re perceived by others. Below, we take a look at some useful tips that’ll have your new business taken more seriously.

Look the Part

If you have a corner office on Madison Avenue, you’ll be taken seriously. Alas, that’ll have to be a far-flung dream for your business, which is likely being run out of your own home. It makes more sense to spend money on important things rather than where you’re working, so accept that you’re not going to impress anyone with your location, and move on. You can, however, make a solid impression by wearing the right clothes. Make sure you’re always dressing smartly, even when you’re not expecting to be in front of anyone else that day. Zuckerberg and Elon Musk can wear what they want — they’ve made it. You need to show the world that you mean business.

Online Presence

Whether you’re a digital business or not, you need to have a solid online presence. Virtually everyone who encounters your store will find you via the internet, which will mean your website is going to be the first interaction they have with your business. What does it say about your company? If it has an uninspiring design, errors, or low-quality images and videos, then they’re not going to believe that you’re the real deal. You’ll also want to make sure that your social media channels are in line with your company branding — it’ll help to build credibility — and also pay attention to your online reviews. Whether they’re good or bad, make sure you’re responding and actively “managing” them.

Become an Authority

No-one knows who you are, because why would they? One way to let everyone know that your business is going places and should be taken seriously is to establish yourself as an authority. On your website, run a blog, where you offer expert tips and advice. On your Twitter page, comment on the leading issues that your industry faces. You can also send guest blogs out to other websites. Over time, you’ll be known as someone who’s worth listening to, and, by extension, that your company isn’t just a flash in the pan.

Appear Larger

Try as you might, it’ll be hard to be taken seriously by others if they’re aware that you’re the only person behind the scenes. You’re the CEO, receptionist, marketing person….everything. And they would be right not to see you as entirely credible, because while you may be talented, you’re not talented enough that you can perform all of these tasks at an expert level, and especially not simultaneous. So bring others on board to help — it’ll free up time and make your company seem larger (and thus more credible). Work with a company like Virtual HQ, and you’ll have all your incoming calls answered. It makes things seem a lot more legitimate than if you answer the phone for your company yourself. Perception of size really does make a difference — people prefer when it seems like there are as many smart minds as possible working behind the scenes, rather than just one person.

Work Hard

People are drawn to big businesses, those companies that they already know. It’s hardwired in their brains, even how that happened — invasive advertising — isn’t really far. As such, you need to work twice as hard in order to make a dent. This is how you’ll win customers – hard work – but more than simply getting more people on the hook, you’ll also be taken more seriously as a business. Everyone respects a hard worker, especially when they’re working against the odds.

Have a Routine

You don’t have to be “on” all the time. It’s important that you’re taking breaks and not pulling fourteen hour days all the time. Having set hours will also help in another way, too — it’ll make sure that you’re in professional mode for the hours that matter. If you work on a reactionary basis, the following scenario could happen — you may answer the phone when you’re, say, in the supermarket. It’s not the worst crime that you can commit, but it might erode some feelings of professionalism. Instead, work only during specific hours — if the phone rings, you’ll be in the right place to answer the call.

Dream Big, Act Small

Results are what count in the business world. It’s all good and well having big plans to one day conquer the world — in your chosen industry at least — but those plans don’t really count for much, at least not to other people. What matters to them is what’s happening when they interact with your business. And that means that your priority must be on delivering a first-rate experience for your customers. Dream big, make plans, but don’t forget the here and now. If you’re doing your essential tasks well, then no-one can doubt your credentials.

Know Yourself

It’s worthwhile engaging in a spot of self-analysis before you start your business for many reasons, because it impacts so much. If you’re not aware of your strengths or weaknesses, then you’re liable to fall into the mistake of taking on a job that you’re not qualified for, or trying to do something yourself that really should have been outsourced. If you have a weakness, you’ll know that you need to solicit the help of others.

Ignore The Doubters

Finally, remember to have confidence in yourself. If you believe in yourself, then eventually others will too. You’re going to have people who try and chop your business down as soon as it begins — don’t listen to them. It’s what you do that counts, not what they say.