Your business plan looks great. It’s been checked over by your most business-savvy friend, and a lawyer has checked everything - twice. Your construction is complete and it looks fantastic! You’ve hired a rockstar designer for a great logo, and you have all the business technology you need, including great software and a stellar website. All you have to do next is open your doors to the public.

Even though you’ve worked so hard to start your new business, you know this isn’t Field of Dreams. There’s no “if you build it, they will come.” Customers have to have a reason to come to your business, and it needs to be a reason bigger than their need for your services. After all, you’re not the only self storage facility in town. You know what you need to do? Build your credibility. But how?

Credibility is more than great branding and a quality product. It’s the reason why customers will trust you and want to access your services or buy your products again and again. It’s a reason for them to be loyal to your business. Naturally, word of mouth from others who’ve had a good experience with your business helps with this, but when you haven’t even opened your doors yet, it’s just not that easy.

If forming a strategy of building credibility for your business is all Greek to you, guess what? Greek isn’t so far off. We can learn a lot about building credibility for any purpose from Aristotle himself. I know what you’re thinking… what does a dead Greek dude have to do with my new self storage business? More than you think! Read on…

Image of Aristotle. Image by Tim_kd5urs via Flickr

What do you know about Aristotle? Ethos, pathos, and logos, right? Yeah, ok… forget pathos and logos, because they really don’t matter in this situation at all. Let’s focus on ethos, which is credibility. To establish credibility, Aristotle says you need three characteristics, or the illusion of these characteristics: good will, good sense, and good moral character. What? How do you apply those to your business? Let’s discuss.

Red storage unit doors. Image by Scott Meyers via Flickr

Good will

What can your business do to demonstrate good will? And why will this help you build credibility? Someone who is involved in charity or giving back to the community is seen as a good person, right? A business who gives something away can be seen as a good business. This can be as easy as giving a hefty discount to your customers for their first month of rent. Your customer gets something for nothing, and you gain their trust, and in turn, their loyalty. You could also sponsor a canned food drive or toy drive around the holidays, or find another way to give back to your community, showing that your business is concerned with good will.

Pro tip: Send out coupons to the community around the time that you open, or offer a discount on your website.

Open sign on a glass door.

Good sense

How do you show your self storage renters that you’re a sensible business owner? Make everything easy for them to understand. Make sure your rental agreement is clear and easy to read. Simplify all contracts and agreements. Show logic in your self storage policies. Show them you have good common sense! If you have an odd, roundabout way of doing things, you aren’t going to gain many customers any way, and if you do, you won’t keep them. They won’t put up with it; it takes too much energy. Additionally, proofread EVERYTHING for errors. Why would you trust someone who doesn’t have the sense to make sure their communication is clear, accurate, and free of errors? If you need help with this, find someone to help. It’s more important than you think.

Pro tip: Find a good writer to either write or proof all of your communications.

Purple storage unit dogs. Image by Ian Collins via Flickr

Good moral character

This is the hard one. Who’s to say anything about your character if they don’t know you personally? And why are your moral beliefs anyone’s business? They aren’t, of course, but your business ethics are paramount to your facility’s reputation. Your business can show good ethics by making sure there are no hidden fees. Make sure that your business practices are always fair to everyone involved. Sure, we all know that the customer is not always right and you can’t let your customers walk all over you. But that won’t be a big problem for an ethical business who is already treating customers fairly. Additionally, make sure your staff is friendly and kind, even when responding to angry customers. In other words, make sure your business always takes the high road.

Pro tip: Put policies in place that give the customer the benefit of the doubt when it won’t hurt your business financially.

See? Aristotle is relevant to your new storage facility. Heed his words on credibility, and your business will flourish. Good luck with your new business!