Create a Winning Perception of Your Startup With These 3 Tips

You know what they say: perception is reality. Use this to your advantage by making your company appear larger than it is.

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By Adam Callinan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It is often said that "perception is reality." Every day, we find out about a company or celebrity that has created a grandiose image, only to have the curtains drawn and their true image exposed. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad.

Examples could include a company that is using media and PR to sculpt their public image -- Uber being a rather timely one -- to a much smaller company that is using technology to its advantage to appear larger than it is -- which is typically a good thing.

Related: 3 Unconventional Tips on Building a Startup

As an early and growing business, how do you use the idea that "perception is reality" to your advantage? Before we get started, I do want to be clear: I'm not advocating being deceitful, but instead providing a number of options that will help you grow your business by adjusting positive perception of your organization -- which if done effectively, can allow you to accomplish a lot with a little.

1. Be the expert.

To create and sculpt your positive perception, you'll need to position yourself as a thought leader or expert in your field. There are a number of ways to do that, the easiest being to write content for your own blog or to guest publish an article for an online publication.

Not sure how to get started? You can get going by identifying a few publications that you're interested in and that match your "expertise." Then, with your article idea in hand, research other articles that the publication already published to ensure that your idea is unique. Next, create a catchy title and write the first paragraph of your informative article or story.

Finally, use our friend Google to find the email of an editor at your intended publication and "pitch" them on your idea. It may not work the first time, so remain steadfast and remember, if you look like the expert, you are the expert.

2. Build a team.

People inherently want to do business with successful companies, and successful companies have teams of people. So what if you're still working out of the garage and bootstrapping your way to success? You can still have a team -- or at least a perceived one.

Related: 5 Steps Toward Building Influence as a Great Thought Leader

Start by creating a position or two inside your company that represent points of inquisition from your customers -- sales, general information, etc. -- which can be run by you and/or anyone else that you have involved at the stage in your business. Hopefully this includes a co-founder.

You and your starting team are going to wear all of the proverbial "hats," so easily fashion email addresses for necessary positions that serve as the most important points of interaction with your customer base. Remember, perception is reality -- so if you look like you have a full service team in place to serve your customer's every need, it will become your customer's reality and, as a result, they'll be more likely to buy from you as a result.

By the way, you'll also learn about the needs of the individual positions, leaving you considerably more prepared once you take the step to put a full- or part-time person in that spot.

3. Stay organized and react quickly.

Being that you now have a team of worker-bees in place, your company needs to act like it. There's no better way to ruin this perception than to react slowly or seem disorganized. There are ample tools out there that can help you to manage the inbound requests or questions -- two great options being Boomerang and ToutApp.

The reality is, and it's a sad one, consumers are used to receiving terrible service, so when your company responds to their requests in a timely manner -- which means at minimum, the same day -- they will be absolutely shocked and will have the perception that your company is one of a kind.

Congrats, you're now on your way to having perception become reality.

Related: 3 Secrets to Making Your Online Customer Support a Success

Adam Callinan

Entrepreneur and Venture Investor

Adam Callinan is a founder at BottleKeeper, the fast-paced and sarcasm-infused solution to the warm beer and broken bottle epidemics that have plagued the world for centuries. Callinan is also a founding partner at Beachwood Ventures, a Los Angeles-based early-stage and non-traditional venture-capital firm at the intersection of technology and entertainment. As an entrepreneur, Callinan has spent over a decade building small businesses in and around technology, medical devices and consumer products, which most recently includes an exit in 2013. Callinan lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife Katie.

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