Starting and running a small business is a hard but rewarding task. It takes guts to start and even more to continue in the face of any challenges you face. There’s a lot of things you will need to do at the start as part of setting up, from an accounting point, do you have one? do you need more support such as a virtual CFO?
To marketing and actually coming up with a marketing plan that will get you in front of your customers. However, as a new small business one overarching thing will be key. Building trust.
Nothing is more frustrating as a growing small business than having to deal with consumers who are distrustful of you. You haven’t given anyone a reason to think you’re up to no good, but with the number of frequent scams and the plague of media dishonesty, people are quick to put up personal boundaries.
How can you work around this and build trust with your consumer base so you can continue to grow? As a small business, gaining trust from your customers is one of the most important factors of success. By being honest with the world, you can allow the world to be honest with you.
Here are 7 tips from the experts to help your company build trust with the people you serve.
1. Be in an Online Community
If you are a small business trying to build up local clients, it’s important that you get online. People need to be able to find you, whether through a search engine or an online directory. You can help cement yourself in the community as a trustworthy name by engaging in online communities.
Not only should you be communicating directly with consumers through Facebook and Instagram, but you should also be up-to-date on Yelp, Bing Places, and Google My Business. These are examples of directories where you can upload your NAP data to make it easier for anyone to find out exactly who you are.
NAP data refers to your business name, address, and phone number.
2. Stay Objective
You want people to turn to you as an expert in your field, but when you are still a little green, it’s okay to admit there are things you don’t know. Show your community that you are dedicated to learning, growing, and developing as you find your niche and your purpose.
Stay objective about your knowledge, services, and experience. This is integral to developing a value proposition as an honest promise you give to your customers.
3. Listen Before Speaking
This is an essential tool that anyone can use when trying to build any kind of trustworthy relationship. When it comes to communication, you should always listen more than you speak. It is especially important to listen before you respond.
It’s good to remember this skill with interpersonal relationships as well as the relationship between your small business and your prospective consumers. If your company comes with expert opinions and advice to give, don’t give it without being asked. People may not appreciate the unsolicited advice, as you may come off as being a know-it-all.
4. Always Give First
Another unspoken rule in the world of relationships is to give before you receive. And, on top of that, don’t always expect to receive.
As a small business, your mission and your goal is to provide services or goods to a community you care about. Whether you are an organization of professionals giving advice, or you are selling a hot new item, or you are a restaurant offering a taste of old family recipes for the whole community to enjoy, your focus should be on what you can give your community.
Without understanding that it’s important to give (even without the expectation of receiving), you fall into some problematic patterns that lack the customer service skills needed to help your business grow and survive.
Harvard Business Review shows that small businesses can get stuck in systematic problems of growth if good communication is not pushed from the start.
5. Support Reviews – and Respond to Them
Online reviews are the lifeblood of any small business. There are endless benefits that can be gained from online reviews – even the negative ones! In fact, it is important to respond to bad reviews along with the good ones. Your response shows that you are attentive to your customers’ needs and you take their complaints seriously.
According to BrightLocal, 86% of all consumers read online reviews before deciding if they can trust that business. The more reviews you have, the more credible you will look in the eyes of the consumer. Naturally, you want to aim for more positive reviews than negative reviews, but you can still benefit from the not-so-savory opinions as well. Your quick and mature responses to negative reviewers are a testament to your trustworthiness.
6. Personalize Your Brand to Suit Local Needs
No matter how near or far your small business can reach, it is still important to cater to local communities. Use local events or situations to encourage customers to shop with you. This shows that you are paying attention to what’s going on, and you are actually interested in giving back to the people you live with.
Not to mention, working locally can put a face to the name of your business. People are more likely to trust you when they actually know who you are and can tangibly see the way you reach out and care for the local community.
Is there an event happening in your area soon? Offer discounts for services that have to do with the event or make mention of your presence to let the people know you’re thinking of them!
7. Keep Customers Involved
Your business thrives on interaction with customers, community members, and hopeful prospects. You can’t make all of your business decisions in secret and make changes to the company without wondering how it will affect your customer base. It’s important to consult your customers often and run polls, surveys, or quizzes to gauge how happy the people are with your services.
Always be proactive in asking your customers for feedback. Not only does feedback help you improve, but it lets customers know that their voices will always be heard. This is a great way to become credible and to continue building trust with the community, making people more likely to come back to you time and time again.
Boost Your Small Business Success
Building and maintaining trust with your consumers is the most important thing you can do if you want to see your business survive. By involving your audience, engaging with them frequently, responding to feedback, and admitting your willingness to learn and grow, you’ll be able to establish an important place in the hearts and minds of your consumers.
Communication is a two-way street, and it is a powerful tool that can be used to grow your small business into a successful venture.