Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships. Defined as the reliance or ability of a person to do what they say they will do. A pretty simple concept right?
We have all heard the old saying "a man's word is his bond" and we all know those days are long gone, but what else do we really have to measure a persons trust other than their word and are there metrics we can put in place to safeguard ourselves? Like most things in life there are no guarantees. At the end of the day we have to put our trust in others and hope they stay true to their word.
2009 certainly demonstrated no shortage of people willing to break their trust in order to "get ahead" in whatever way they defined getting ahead... public role models made up for entire companies, individual business people, politicians and pro athletes were all exposed in ways that should have shocked most of us to our very core, but surprisingly or maybe not so surprising it seems we have become desensitized and almost expectant of being disappointed by those we trust at all levels.
In today's social media world where we are instantly connected to people anywhere on the planet; the foundation of trust will be tested and we will be more vulnerable than ever before. As small business owners how do we trust someone we've never really met? How do we safely enter into agreements that are binding and enforceable? Can we really trust even with verification and accountability?
Probably not, but there are steps we can take to minimize losses when working with those less trusting.
- Get it in writing. Have a paper trail so that in the event you need to recount what was said or agreed upon - you can.
- Manage work in small projects or tasks and pay for performance.
- Communicate regularly - when things fall quiet; it will be an early sign that something is wrong.
- Use escrow services - it proves you are good for the money and is helpful in mediating disagreements.
- Measure everything and empower others to hold themselves accountable. If they won't; you can't.
While these steps may not provide complete protection in the event someone wants to abuse your trust they should go a long way in minimizing losses and make it just a little easier to sleep at night.
Matt McGee has written a great collaborative blog on "Why Trust Matters and How to Earn it." He has compiled some great viewpoints from nearly 50 contributors about why trust matters online. While this blog deals with trust as it relates to search engine marketing - we can all agree that trust applies universally. Matt begins his blog with an interesting point: Everything you do online should be done to increase the trust others have in you. He concludes the blog with: It's all about trust.
The AV event planning business is no different; it's a service business built on trusting relationships. The underlying principles for growing our business are the same as the search engine marketing business or any other for that matter.
It begins with trust and it ends with trust.