Great Business Ideas: Building trust

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Building trust

Trust is an essential aspect of business, notably when leading people, selling to customers, or building the long-term reputation and value of an enterprise. Trust is easily taken for granted, hard to define, and easy to undermine or destroy—but how can it be built?

The idea

Trust matters in business, underpinning issues as diverse as sales, financial management, and leadership, as well as affecting job satisfaction and career prospects. However, increased profitability is not the most compelling reason to build trust. People value trust, but what is overlooked is that its absence results not in a neutral situation but in something worse. As businesses have discovered, when trust is undermined, there is a high cost to pay.

The Innocent Drinks Company epitomizes many of the characteristics of a high-trust organization. It produces high-quality fruit drinks and smoothies with a passion, professionalism, and good humor that invite trust. This tone is set from the top. Like many trusted leaders, the executives at Innocent Drinks do not spend much time focusing on trust. Instead, they simply display the energy and skills that people (employees and customers) value— and trust follows. This avoids the paradox of trust, where the more it is discussed, the weaker it becomes.

In practice

In recent research, people were asked to rate the significance of a range of attributes when deciding whether to trust someone.

The most popular attributes are fairness, dependability, respect, openness, courage, unselfishness, competence, supportiveness, empathy, compassion, and passion. These drivers of trust need to be understood and delivered, if trust is to be developed.

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There are several practical steps to developing trust, but the most fundamental one is to be genuine: you have to mean what you say and be sincere in your approach.

Consider the following actions:

  • Deliver what you say you will, and be true to your word.
  • Create an atmosphere and expectation of trust by trusting others.
  • Keep team members informed by asking what information would be most helpful, explaining issues carefully, and sharing available information.
  • Give constructive feedback by clearly identifying the behavior that you are giving feedback on (focus on the behavior, not the person).
  • Act with integrity and sincerity.
  • Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.
  • Understand who you are dealing with, taking time to fi nd out how they work and what motivates them.
  • Be dutiful, diligent, and consistent.
  • Recognize success and reward good performance.