Building a credible and trustworthy business is not just a nice-to-have, it’s an essential for a one-person show or small business, as you likely don’t have a big name brand to lean on.

If you’ve just started out as a solopreneur, gigging on the side of a full-time job or you have been running a business for a while, here are our top tips for building a credible brand:

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First impressions speak volumes

There are many reasons first impressions weigh so heavily. As busy as we are, we often use our first impressions as the basis on which we decide whether something is worth pursuing or investigating further. First impressions also establish professionalism, which can equate to predictions about both accountability and quality in work. If a potential customer’s first impression is not of the very best you, you may risk having that be the only impression they ever get of you. To learn more, read about how to start off strong with new customers.

Be up front about timing

Your customers won’t always be privy to every aspect of your business, particularly, expected timing and potential hurdles. You know your business better than anyone, so it’s vital that you communicate timelines with your customer from the get-go. Allow a few extra days in your timeline or add a ten percent price cushion to cover elements outside your control. Your communication and organization will be appreciated by your customer, and when it comes to the end of the job, there won’t be any surprises.

Use your estimate to your advantage

An estimate is an important piece of communication as it’s your first formal contact and will stand as a point of reference throughout the entire project. First things first – before considering handwritten estimates on carbon-copy paper, think about how this reflects your business, compared to a digital solution. With apps like Invoice2go, you can create and send estimates from your mobile device that are not only accurate and professional, but instantly make you look like a credible business. When it comes to what is included on an estimate, one that is detailed with itemized pricing, informative, and polished, gives the immediate impression of quality.

Use technology to look bigger than you are

Sometimes people look for a team as evidence that a company can be effective or that it has staying power. When you are a one-person operation, you may be able to create the illusion of a team through your attention to detail. Set up a phone system with a professional recording and return calls promptly. Build a beautiful, professional looking website with Strikingly or try Mailchimp  to design and send emails to your customers. Of course, don’t forget Invoice2go – with the ability to make your invoice template truly yours and accept debit and credit card, your customers will be impressed with your professionalism.

Just because you’re a one-person show, it doesn’t mean you can’t present, from day one, a professional first, second and lasting impression.