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Building your integrity

Would you buy anything from a business you didn’t trust? Or a business that you’ve heard bad things about?

Most people wouldn’t so it is crucial to ensure your business is trustworthy and maintains that image. Honesty, integrity, straightforward, transparent and respect are all parts of that trustworthy image.

Here are some key activities to show your integrity and trustworthiness, gained from watching people do the opposite as well as showing integrity even when it’s hard.

  • pay your suppliers on time – or discuss it openly if you can’t do it as timely as expected. What’s more, do not hire new suppliers if you are in debt and know you can’t afford to pay them – doing so is one of the fastest ways of destroying your credibility and risking legal actions
  • take responsibility for yourself, your business and even your team. Blaming others and looking for excuses doesn’t put you in a good light and can worry protective clients and suppliers hat they will be blamed for future issues – not good for building trust!
  • be honest – don’t make grand claims on your website, own up to errors and tell clients what they need to hear (rather than what brings you a quick return)
  • be open – share bits of information about the people behind the business. That doesn’t mean tell us all your son’s achievements or what you had for breakfast, nor give out private details, but let people know the human voice of a business as well. For example what impression do I give when I occasionally mention I am a cub leader?
  • be transparent – put your pricing and/or policies in easy-to-understand terms in an accessible form (I hate websites that don’t show delivery prices until you finish the shopping, for instance) and let appropriate negative comments remain (although I suggest answering them as well!)
  • be professional and pay attention to small details so people can trust you will do a good job for them
  • be consistent so people learn that you always do things the same way and that they can rely on that
  • take care with where and how you promote your business – and ask for help. Being open about needing help is one thing but publicly asking for help on many aspects of your business  gives little reason to think you can provide the promised services. As my role is to prepare content, I can post online that I need help with preparing some graphics but a coach publicly asking for funding to set up anything is dubious
What other ways have businesses earned your trust?

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