Small-business owners always are looking for ways to build their business. Often their thoughts focus on having the right products and/or services at the right price and selling to the right market. .
These are key elements in building a sustainable business. As a scientist would say, they are necessary but not sufficient, however. Without trust and reliability, those elements can make a one-time sale only.
So how do you build trust? And how can an owner measure customer trust. Trust is built by actions, words and deeds. It cannot be bought. Nor can an owner ever quantify the level of trust that a customer has for the business. .
Trust starts from internal values and principles. Yet building trust is not in what you say but what you do. Trust is built on having solid products and providing ongoing fair and dependable service. Building trust even needs to go beyond just your business; you need to think about building trust in your industry.
Developing trust begins with your customers. You also need to think about suppliers, other business owners and financial backers. You even need to think about the trust relationship between you as the business owner and family members. For many business owners, family members are an important part of that small business.”
Small-business owners also must remember that they need to build trust in their local community. Building community trust is important in terms of potential customers as well as in terms of referrals and general community support.
Here are some specific ways to build trust:
- Do what you promise
- Meet, or beat, the deadlines you set
- Acknowledge a mistake and correct it
- Be authentic
- Be transparent in your actions.
- Be visible and active in your community
Trust is important in building a business. Companies seen as trustworthy are usually the most successful.
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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.