Small-business owners always are looking for opportunities to build their business.
Some of the ways owners do this are through providing what customers want, working hard, and offering the right selection at the right price and trying to attract the right market.
These are all needed elements of a successful business. Yet there is an additional underlying core element that will help you build your business. That element is trust.
Trust or reputation cannot be quantified nor can it be bought. Trust is built by actions, words and deeds.
Business owners need to determine the values or principles that are the underlying support piers for their business. You may have seen a business post its values or print them on statements or elsewhere. It is not uncommon for them to be part of the “About You” section of their web page.
Remember though, trust is not in what you say but what you do.
So what does the business owner need to think about when building trust?
Obviously, you need to focus on your product or service. Does it do what you promise? Is it reliable?
But that is only part of the trust relationship. Trust probably comes more to the forefront when people talk about how you do business.
Customer service is another area where you need to build trust.
Building trust goes beyond your specific business. It involves being respected in your industry. And it certainly means being respected in your community. Are you a good neighbor?
You want to build trust with, obviously, your customers. But don’t stop there. You must also build it with suppliers, other business owners, financial backers, and the community. You even need to build trust between you as the business owner and family members. Family members are an important part of that small business.”
Here are some specific ways to build trust:
- Do what you promise
- Meet, or beat, the promises and the deadlines you set
- Acknowledge a mistake and correct it
- Be authentic
- Be transparent in your actions.
- Be visible and active in your business and in your community
Trust is a big deal in our personal relationships and in our workplace relationships with co-workers and customers. Developing trust and maintaining that trust is key to successful workplace environments, building a strong customer base and the overall prosperity of a business.
Trust builds successful small businesses. Work on building it every day.
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.