What Does TRUST Mean in Small Business?

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As the internet grows and social media is seen as the ‘verifier’ for small business owners, we need to view how we put ourselves and businesses out into the marketplace.

Trust in business is a vital ingredient for survival in these times of such great internet exposure.   I often come across people via social media whose work is not up to scratch, from my perspective and their ethics very different to mine, being endorsed for their work.

29These people receive awards for themselves and their businesses by using people to vote for them who have never used their services or more often than not met them yet they are prepared to endorse and recommend. Some of these services I would not use if they were free.

I am really astounded when I see how people recommend people who have not had the experience to do so. When I know people who recommend business services that they have not used personally, my perception of them goes down from an integrity perspective unless they have specified their relationship with the person’s work.

Unfortunately, people find out for themselves after a bad experience. It is often very difficult to talk out about it and sometimes it is too late to save the person, their dollars and sometimes their business. The person who does the recommending is the person who will get the blame in the long run, not necessarily the person who did the work.

I can’t express strongly enough to people when they recommend someone to specify how they know them. For example, ‘I know them personally’, ‘I have worked with them or for them’, ‘we are friends’ etc.

Building business relationships is a must even though it is not always obvious initially that someone you have just met is accountable, responsible and reliable. I listen to people endorse others who in turn lose their credibility as a result of the people they are putting out there to their clients. It can be a very confusing world in business sometimes.

This tends to happen via social media more than anywhere from my own experience. I have been very let down from a friendship and financial aspect as a result of experiences I have personally had with people who have been recommended. I take this responsibility on myself of not doing my own due diligence and checking beforehand. It is important that we hone our intuition as best we can so that we can see a bigger picture sooner rather than later.

Usually our intuition (gut feel) makes us aware of the level of trust with others when we connect with them. For some it is obvious that there is a relationship that has potential as soon as we meet. With others, it may take time to develop a relationship that will be built on trust, as we learn about each other in time. I believe one of the most critical factors in business is TRUST.

We instinctively know if we do or do not have trust with someone. In personal relationships it is easier to understand and connect but when it comes to business and the workplace, trust is defined in a different way.

Defining trust in the business world, especially if you employ staff, can be harder to build initially. You are usually thrust with people you do not know and have little in common with, yet you are expected to spend a large amount of time in their presence. Time will be needed to create a bond that will develop the trust necessary to work together. The basis in these circumstances will be the effective communication between everyone and the motivation for the work being done.

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The truthfulness and transparency of the communication in a business is critical. The presence of a strong, unifying mission and vision of the business is imperative in promoting a trusting environment. There needs to be a ‘wanting’ of the outcomes so that the environment unifies.

As the world is a rapidly changing place, especially as the internet is now such a large part of our world, with social media taking it to many different levels, we need to ask a few questions along the way. Where once we saw business and private lives as separate things, it is now more open than ever before, with people being able to find out as much as they need to know on anyone who is active on the net. To be in business, you need to be active, especially if you are a small business owner and want to grow and build your brand.

The integrity of the business is critical and must start from the leadership and filter down. It must also be seen as an integral part of the business by the world at large. The level of trust will be seen and received through the messages given not only by the people attached to it, but by the influence it gains via the internet and its customers.

When trust exists in a business or in a relationship, almost everything else is easier and more comfortable to achieve. Individually though we perceive trust differently dependent on our own experiences.

Trust is all about being honest and telling the truth, even if it is difficult at times. Being truthful, authentic and trustworthy in your dealings with customers, clients and staff will move your business further ahead than most, as many are not even aware that they need to embrace a trust factor in their business.

So, be a step ahead, make sure your clients, customers and business acquaintances are all aware of your business mission and vision, and of the important values that you and your business are based on.


Jennie is available for one-on-one sessions via Skype or in person.
For more information email her at jennie@jenniegorman.com.au

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