How important is trust to you as an entrepreneur?


There are so many different levels on which trust can make or break your business success that maybe it is something you should give more thought to.

Who do you trust and how do you build trust in your team are fundamental questions for any business owner to start with and review regularly, but also more broadly trust needs to be considered in the context of the industry sector you work in, trust in the products or services you deliver, trust in the government to support UK business. When you think about it, trust is central to everything.

The result of the general election may over time help to instil greater trust on many levels that are beyond your control as a business owner and so if you haven’t thought about it already, what can you personally do now to create greater trust to help your business grow?

Infrastructure

Start with having the infrastructure in place to minimise issues around trust in your business. If you are a business which handles cash, have safeguards in place so as your business grows, you will have more control and there will be fewer opportunities for theft or mistakes.

Can you ever trust your team 100%? This is often a real issue for entrepreneurs, especially when having to scale up fast and employing people for the first time or outsourcing aspects of their production or service offering to third parties.

Having the building blocks – the processes, the governance, the external advisors and support that allow you to grow will help to build trust. Use the knowledge and experience of your professional advisors from the beginning and at different stages of your business growth journey to help you to maintain and build trust every step of the way.

Culture

Having the right structure in place builds trust and helps to then shape the culture of the business. Where employees can work efficiently and effectively and are well rewarded for their efforts creates a more trusting and success focused internal culture. Put simply you deliver on your side of the bargain to your team, and they will deliver what your business needs to succeed. What is built on the inside of the business is also projected externally to customers and clients.

Relieve the burden

It is often underestimated how much hard work is needed for building and maintaining success and we know being an entrepreneur is often a lonely business. You need someone around you who can help to relieve the burden – a ‘right-hand’ person who you trust to enable you to think about the next big challenge. People who can act in this role are quite frankly gold dust to your business success and they will play a key role. Whether this is a family member, an employee or an advisor, think about who is critical to your success and do they trust you?

Be more trustworthy

You can’t succeed in anything unless people trust you, so keep your promises to others and yourself, no matter how small. If you can be trusted on the small stuff you can be trusted on the larger things.

Also only commit to what you can deliver. Many entrepreneurs have hastily promised and then had to back track. You won’t be the first or last person to do this and it is something which happens regularly, so avoid it.

The modern-day equivalent of “My word is my bond” from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is now your personal brand. Only promise what you can deliver and in the age of social media, make sure what you project professionally is matched personally.

Finally, if you can’t keep to a commitment or fulfil a promise, be honest and explain why. In business there are always so many factors that can impact on a business’s ability to deliver, but to maintain trust and keep clients and customers coming back to you even if you mess up means they must trust you.


Anil Kapoor

Anil Kapoor is Audit and Business Advisory partner at Mercer & Hole





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