2. Present yourself like the most successful people in your industry. Given that most of our revenue came from brand managers and advertising agencies, I couldn’t show up to meetings looking like the college sophomore that I was. I ordered and wore bespoke dress shirts with my monogram on my cuffs. When advertising buyers started our meetings asking where I had my shirts made, the subsequent discussions usually went well. Don’t take this too far and spend beyond your means, of course, but first impressions still count.
3. Find creative ways to inspire confidence. My team was fired up when well-known leaders like Fred Hoar, the late VP of Communications at Apple, and Dana Summers, Nordstrom’s former VP of Marketing and CIO, joined our board. Sometimes I would ask board members and other well-known advisers to come in and share their lessons with my team. Most leaders love to give back to motivated young entrepreneurs, and this helps improve your credibility in a very noticeable way.
4. Set and deliver on objectives. Goals and guidelines will go a long way towards establishing momentum and lifting team performance.
5. Develop your character. While nothing builds trust faster than delivering results, nothing destroys it faster than a failure of integrity. As you see your dream grow from an idea to an enterprise, your opportunities to cut corners will multiply. Grow your character as you grow your business so the latter doesn’t crush the former.