Small- business owners frequently talk about and are looking for ways to build up their business. Most often, thoughts are focused on having the right products and/or services at the right price and selling to the right target market.
I have to say, these are key elements in building a sustainable business but just as they are necessary they are not sufficient. Without trust and reliability, those elements can make a one-time sale, and that’s about it.
So now the big question. How do you build trust? Trust is built by actions, words and deeds. It cannot be bought! As and owner you really can’t ever quantify the level of trust that a customer has for he business.
Trust starts from your internal values and principles. Building trust is NOT in what you SAY but in what you DO. Trust is built on having a solid product and providing ongoing fair and dependable service. Building trust 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 drill down a bit and think about suppliers, other business owners and the financial backers. You even need to think about the trust relationship between you as the business owner and family members. For many of my clients I see that family members are a critical part of that small business.
Small-business owners also must remember that they need to build trust in their local communities. Building community trust is an important factor in terms of potential customers as well as in the terms or referrals and general community support. I have seen business get great community support via Facebook Community pages, Instagram, etc.
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 in your communications (verbal, email, etc)
- 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.