“If people like you they will listen to you, if people trust you they will do business with you”- Zig Ziglar
Trust is both a feeling and a virtue in a small business. Trust is given and received in relationships with your team, customers and stakeholders. Trust is primarily experienced and it is used to make decisions, build strong collaborative teams, and create great companies.
A lack of trust in a business can quickly turn to chaos, lost revenue, lost productivity and the ability to retain good people. Lack of trust shows up as competition, individuals just “doing their own thing” and poor communication.
Small business owners are especially vulnerable in relationships and need strong trust building skills. These skills include the ability to share a clear vision and strategy, the ability to articulate what they need and to listen carefully to understand the needs of others.
Trust is built or diminished by repeated behaviour. Documented procedures help build consistency which in turn builds trust with customers and teams. When employees know that they are doing their job in the way it was designed builds trust and confidence. It removes the fear of trying to figure it out on their own.
As trust builds, teams begin to better cooperate and coordinate efforts.
Do you feel like you have each others back?
Are you able to openly share challenges and opportunities?
Does the work get done even when you, the owner, is not there?
A small business owner can strengthen trust by being honest and following through on promises.Taking the time to ask questions and to carefully listen also builds trust as well as being transparent about your own challenges and opportunities.
Transparency builds trust as does vulnerability. Admitting when you are wrong and making things right builds trust. Keeping commitments and being respectful of others also helps.
Consider that clients are counting on our company to provide the product or service they are looking for; when we deliver that well, we are building trust. In turn, trust leads to referrals and the positive cycle of new business relationships continues.
Trust begins with us.
Our actions, inactions, words and intentions. When things don’t go as planned, consider reflecting on your own behaviour to see where trust may have been broken.
Strengthening trust can start happening immediately. Start with small consistent actions led with good intentions.
I trust you can do it!