Whom Should I Trust?

When you start a business, you spend a lot of time alone with your thoughts. Even if you’re not a solo operation, there may be very few people that you confide in or talk openly to. You probably have your inner circle. It may start with a circle of one—you—or maybe your small team. To get your business moving, you develop relationships with a select few people who are helping you get ahead. This might be a vendor such as a design firm or manufacturing company who helps you create your product or service. It might be a broker that helps you raise money. So you start to think that your vendors and investors have your best interests at heart. It’s good to be able to work with and confide in people that want to see our business be successful. Not always.

“Trust must be earned.” 

What Should Make You Trust

I know you are seeking people to confide in. I know you want to be able to share information with the vendors, advisors, consultants and investors that help you grow your business. I know you want to believe that everyone you interact with will share your vision, have your best interests at heart and make the sacrifices it takes to make it happen. Don’t let these natural desires cloud your perspective. Regardless of your wants, trust must be earned. Do not trust someone because they write you a check or sign a contract. By the same token, no one should come to the table trusting you. Your perspective must allow you to come to the table with an open mind, but make sure before you confide in someone that they have earned the right. Make sure that people demonstrate the behavior and attitude that warrants your trust.

  • Have they demonstrated it over a period of time?
  • Have they made concessions to help you advance your business?
  • Have they gone out of their way to advance your business?
  • Have they had your back in a sticky situation?

Try to be objective and start from the basic premise that they must earn your trust before you start telling them about the petty crimes you committed in college.

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