Trust is the Key: Lessons for an Entrepreneur
Why is trust such an important factor in setting the stage for an entrepreneur’s success?
We set the stage for the most important step, by learning to trust
A life lesson in trust
We lived in a not-so-safe part of downtown San Francisco, consequently green broken glass bottles lay in a pile next to us. A sense of trust, and safety was definitely an issue in this area.
My Uncle put the scratched BMX bike in front of me.
“Christian, it’s time you learned”, he said, as he held on to the handlebars. His meaty hands made them seem small.
I don’t remember how many times I fell. All the scratches I got on my knees have all healed now. Nevertheless, I do remember is his dogged determination to teach me how to ride that bike. I also recall the freedom I felt as the wind blew on my face when I finally learned to ride.
Why trust is the key
I loved and trusted my uncle. It motivated me to keep trying.
Once I had the hang of it, I trusted that the bicycle would do what it needed to do. After a while, I learned to trust it to take me from one place to another.
Trust is not only important with family, and friends. Trust is one of the reasons we keep going back to a company. It’s why we go back to a tool that has shown its value. There might be some bumps, and bruises, because when we are learning to use a tool there is a learning curve. As you find more value in the tool, you will go back to it again.
Consistency: the building block of trust
We all have that friend, that might have some quirks. They might consistently arrive late. They lose their keys all the time.
But at the end of the day, they might always be there for us when we need them. We accept them. Despite their quirkiness, they might have a certain consistency. With consistency, there is also trust.
When we have a tool that is consistently good, we learn to trust the tool. Any tool, like software, will have bugs, and limitations. But if the tool itself is consistently valuable, we can eventually find workarounds. But the moment the tool stops providing consistent value, we give up on it. It becomes unusable, and we will seek better solutions.
Truly listening to builds trust
Another way we gain trust with a tool is when we feel it’s made specifically for us. We feel that someone has read our minds, and sought to solve our biggest problems.
In our time of great need, the tool appears. This has happened so many times, when I am looking for some solution online. It’s almost like an “angel speaking from above”! By helping me in a very specific way, they gain a loyal customer in me.
Flexibility within constraints
Another paradoxical way that tools can gain our trust is that they have extreme limitations.
In some ways, this might be the complete opposite of the “listening” rule above, because maybe I can only use the tool in very limited situations. It’s one of those cases where the very limitation of the tool is what is encouraging me to go back to it.
If I need a hammer, I will go back to the hammer. If I need a spreadsheet, I will go back to Excel or the equivalent. But because the tool is so limited, and our brains can sometimes be quite creative if we let them to be, we can do many great things with the tool. Think of the infinite variety of structures you can make with a hammer. A painter only needs certain colors of paint to create endless masterpieces. The very limitation of the tool allows for infinite applications of the tool, thereby instilling trust in the tool, even more.
Trust does not mean stagnation
No matter how good a tool is, it must be fixed, upgraded, or replaced.
Trust goes beyond the tool itself:
- By becoming experts at using a tool, we learn its underlying processes.
- We’ll be able to compare how other tools deal with these processes. We might find that other tools might even be better.
- We might never find the same tool, nonetheless, we might be able to improvise, or adapt another one.
- Trust in a tool, leads us to trust in the process. Understanding the process deeply, can lead to trusting our own skills.
- We get better at finding better tools. By doing our due diligence, we won’t need buy needless extras.
- We go beyond the tool, and subsequently, we have absorbed the process itself into our psyche. Trust can mean deeper integration.
A final lesson
Change scene: We’re on a small inflatable boat, sides slick with lake water. It wriggles as waves made by a bigger boat bounce on its side.
I clip on my life vest, and my uncle checks to make sure it’s secure.
“Ok, go”, he says eyes smiling. I slide off the side into the cool, green water.
I swallow water, but after bob up eagerly, treading water.
As I wipe my eyes, I’m a little scared, but I trust my uncle, and he will help me if I need it. I also trust the life vest, because he has shown me why, and how it works.
Trust in people. Trust in tools.
As entrepreneurs, this trust is inseparable. What we build should instill that trust in our customers. In turn, they will learn to trust us as well.
* Tools I currently trust *
(These are Affiliate links of products I use, and enjoy)
Social Bee: It posts all my content when I want it posted, how I want it posted. Sometimes the individual social media channel will ask me to log in again, but Social Bee helps me sort this out quickly. It hasn’t failed me yet.
StoryChief: I’m still learning to post directly to my blog (I’m a bit more confident with social media), and StoryChief makes the process easier. It adds some SEO help as well. I appreciate the extra support at this stage of the game, and think I’ll be using these features even after I improve my skills a bit more.
People I currently trust:
The fruit market guy next to GUUI Station in Seoul, South Korea. He puts all his fruit in individual red baskets, and that’s pretty cool (even though it seems to be a thing here in Seoul).