If you’re just starting out in business one of the hardest things to achieve is that of building authority within your marketplace as a credible company and as someone that can provide value, particularly if you’re operating in a crowded marketplace where there are already several dominant companies on the horizon that are viewed as the “go-to expert” within this area.
Today, people have so many business ideas but the process of turning your idea into action is often hampered by a lack of credibility and authority, as without these two vital components, it’s hard to get the traction you require to grow your business from the acorn of a start-up to a fledgling tree that might one day turn into a mighty oak.
In this article, we’re going to look at a number of ways you can create authority as a start-up in the shortest time possible so that you can effortlessly build and grow your business.
Pick a niche
It can be very tempting to be relevant to as many people as possible, when starting out, and to dilute your product offering to meet the needs of “everyone” with a view to not losing out on custom, however, this approach is not recommended unless you have huge financial resources in place to market your new business – as you will be competing against well-established companies that will likely blow you out the water with regard to their ability to market themselves.
Think of how many small shops have gone out of business due to chain stores such as Walmart coming to town. You don’t want to compete against these giants.
Consider, however, the generality and lack of expertise from the staff of Walmart when it comes to specific aspects – for instance, sports equipment. Whilst Walmart sells a lot of sports equipment, they are not experts within this area and therefore, there’s room for a local business that has specialist expertise in selling sports equipment to go up against these giants due to the added value they can provide in terms of advice and specialty products.
Similarly, if you think about setting up a standard self-employed business such as a beauty therapist, it pays to carve out a particular niche within this area that you become famous for – this could be a particular type of treatment or a particular audience. For instance, if you were to market yourself as a beauty therapist that only works with new mothers and all your services are tailored to the needs of new moms, your business is likely to grow at a much more rapid pace – as you will be seen as the authority within this specific area.
This way, your unique selling proposition is more tailored to a specific audience, meaning they will have more affinity with your brand and connect with your offering as being more relevant to their needs.
When it comes to building authority as a start-up, relevancy is your magic ingredient, as whilst other companies might be bigger and better in terms of their authority and status – if you can be more relevant to someone, they will choose you over the competition.
This is why operating within a niche is so helpful to your start-up gaining authority, because it increases your relevance to a specific audience and marks you out as being an expert within a specific area of interest to your target market.
Indeed, the last thing you want to come across as, is a “jack of all trades and master of none” when it comes to building authority as a startup.
Why having a niche is important
Having a niche makes it much easier for the right people to find you, connect with you, and trust you. The power of having a niche is found in your ability to more relevant to the “right people” and less relevant to the “wrong people”.
The reason you want to be less relevant to the wrong people is because you don’t want them to be clicking on your adverts, for instance, that you have to pay money for each time someone clicks – you want to communicate only with your target audience, and chances are your target audience are a tiny slice of the general population.
In this way, your niche acts as a filter. Why do you think some adverts include a price that’s incredibly high within their advert? It’s to ensure only people that can afford this price click on the ad; as the majority of people would dismiss the ad as ‘too expensive’ – which is great news for the business, as they aren’t wasting their time or marketing budget with people who are not relevant prospects.
In this way, your niche, and your pricing acts as a filter.
On the topic of pricing, presuming you can offer significant value, it makes much more sense to charge higher fees than is average in your industry – as this infers superior skill and authority within the marketplace.
Of course, you need to back your pricing model up with genuine value, but try not to fall into the trap so many early-stage businesses make of thinking more people will buy from you if you are cheap or cheaper than the competition.
The amount you charge is a testament to your value. Think of it this way, if you were looking for a “life coach”, do you think all life coaches are created equal, or will some have superior experience than others?
Now, if you have seen someone advertise a $20 per hour session versus a $200 per hour session – how much value and authority do you perceive the two to have? Is it the same? Chances are, you will perceive the person that charges $200 per hour as having much more authority than the person that charges $20 per hour.
So, the price can be an indicator of authority – but it must be backed up by your ability to provide value… as there’s no faster way to lose authority or respect than overcharging for a poor quality product or service.
The question you might have, at this stage, is that once you’ve chosen your niche and positioned yourself as an expert within this area, with premium pricing – how do you now go about broadcasting your authority?
Well, the good news is that today you can broadcast your authority at very little cost thanks to platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and blogs that you can use as an educational platform to connect and engage with customers.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful ways to build trust, credibility, and authority – presuming you are using your content to educate customers via engaging tips, strategies, stories and tools… meaning, your content marketing should not be all about “you” and your business. It needs to be focused on solving the customer’s problem. This is the way you create value and build authority.