We talk a lot about the danger of fraudulent companies posing as legitimate ones, but just as real, if less discussed, is the danger that legitimate companies will be unfairly dismissed because they don’t look legitimate. This possibility was highlighted for me in a bit of irony this week.
I had just finished a presentation at an incubator when one of the owners came to me and said that when we first contacted them a few months ago they thought we might be a fraud. The reason was that we have a .biz extension and at the time our website was a bit more rudimentary than it was now. These factors conspired to make us look like a fly-by-night operation. They then had a friend do some due diligence (irony!) and decided we were probably ok.
Now, I agree our early website wasn’t great, but aren’t you supposed to be embarrassed by the first one? It’s a sign you aren’t waiting too long to act. Likewise, I agree that the .biz url isn’t ideal, but someone else owns CrowdCheck.com and we can’t seem to reach them to buy it (next step – ninjas). All perfectly innocent explanations, but they triggered a warning in this gentleman’s mind.
Was I offended that we were suspected of being a fraud? A little, for a split second, but then I realized that this guy didn’t know me from a hole in the ground and has a responsibility to his partners, customers, and himself to listen to his hunches. We were just lucky the decided to dig deeper so we got meet them and the wonderful entrepreneurs who attended our talk.
What this does show however is that it doesn’t matter if you are a legitimate company if you don’t come across as legitimate. Maybe you don’t want to put the resources into a slick webpage because it isn’t in the best interest of the business, maybe you are brand new, maybe you too know the pain of having some unreachable foreign url squatter sitting on your .com, it doesn’t matter. Even if you know you aren’t a fraud, a person who has never met you and doesn’t have personal access to information about you can only go on what they see.
This is where we can help. By undergoing our due diligence and disclosure process we are that third party that digs deeper, helping you create a body of evidence that you are legitimate, letting possible investors feel confident in you, even if they haven’t met you -- even if your website is a bit rudimentary and has a .biz url (a completely legitimate choice for businesses!).
In closing, in business like much of life, first impressions matter, even if it isn’t fair or accurate, and you need to plan accordingly. We can help you make that better first impression. Also, if you happen to own the CrowdCheck.com url, would you give me a call?