Why Building Community Builds Trust, And Why It Is Essential For Your Business
We all have that one close friend, or, if we are lucky, a whole handful of close friends, to whom we turn for advice and support about our relationships, our kids, our parents, our health, and other important elements that form part of our daily life. It is like a bank account filled with help. A personal resilience bank account. We give as much as we take and it is an integral, healthy part of our lives, that allows us to feel connected, supported, and valued.
Do we have the same kind of support for our businesses? The answer is probably no. And very few of us can afford a business mentor. So, who do we turn to for advice?
Maybe you run everything by your spouse, or your best friend, but are they experienced and qualified in what you do? Probably not.
It doesn’t feel as easy to reach out for advice and support for our businesses, right? But if we think for a moment about the value we gain from our personal relationships, it makes sense that we would want to create a business resilience bank account too.
After reading around this subject, I stumbled upon these three "myths", detailed by Dhru Purohit in an interview about the power of friendships. They are the three recurring reasons that stop people asking for help about their businesses. They are of course rational reasons, but still, they are indeed myths and they need to be blown out of the water.
Myth 1: Everyone else has it more sorted than I do.
This answer to this is a resounding NO. Humans are fabulous at giving the impression that we know exactly where we are going, how we are going to move forward and what our end goal is. Of course, we all work to a plan, but do we really have it all sorted? Of course not. Would you love to bounce ideas around with someone who faces, or has faced, the same problem as you? Of course you would. It makes total sense.
Myth 2: X person is always so busy, and they have their own problems. They don’t want to be burdened with mine.
Yes, we are all busy, and entrepreneurs and business owners seem so busy that it is often impossible to see one sitting down without a laptop or a Smartphone in front of them. But imagine just for a second how it feels when someone takes the time to listen and chew over a problem with us. It feels great, right? Often, the person we approach doesn’t even have all the answers, but they can provide insights if you choose the person well, and those chinks of inspiration are often all that we need.
You will be surprised how receptive people are when you show your vulnerability and ask for help. When we do this, we actually grant permission for the other person to do the same. We create a two-way dialogue, but more importantly we create a bond. This dialogue becomes free of judgement which leads to constructive sharing of information, closer, working relationships, and healthier actionables that feel more validated.
Myth 3: My problems are unique.
Nope. This is a biggie and it takes good dose of humility to truly accept that many people have faced similar situations before. Start the dialogue. Ask a fundamental question. Let go of judgement and self-negating thoughts. Let go of the thought that you must carry all the weight of the decisions that you have to take. Show vulnerability and you will be surprised about the response you receive.
For further inspiration about how embracing vulnerability creates better resilience take a look at my previous blog “Resilience in the Post-Covid Tourism World”.
So, who do we look for to fulfil this business mentor role? The best advice always comes from someone who is currently in, or has been through, a similar situation. They might not even have lived the situation, but if they have prepared for it in terms of thinking through what they would do if…, then that person will also be valuable to you. Choose wisely and use different people for different things. Work out who can help you the most with this problem and approach them. There is a depth in checking in with, and bouncing ideas off, someone who has lived, breathed, and conquered a similar business challenge, even if their actual business is completely unrelated to yours.
As a result of the pandemic there have never been as many independent hotel, lodge, b&b and hostel owners in the same situation. Facebook groups are a great source of comfort as they are so easy to access and are available 24/7. There is a reason why Mark Zuckerberg pivoted the whole business model to give precedence to community.
When we seek to deepen our relationships by asking for help, we become more resilient in every other aspect of our lives, and this includes the decisions we make for our business. Awareness is just the starting point. This knowledge is a call to action. Knowledge is not necessarily power, applying it is. There has never been a better time. Harness the collective consciousness that this pandemic has enforced upon us. The unifying element is that we can connect with people about the impact on our businesses and how to move forward from here.
This wonderful definition of connection by Brené Brown says it all:
“[Connection is] the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship”.
Keep your dialogue constructive and honest, so that trust and resilience become the new normal. There is just one rule. Avoid sarcasm. And this is true to friendships and romantic relationships too. It is a fundamental law of the Vedas that the universe does not understand sarcasm. You get caught in the rain without an umbrella and you say “Oh, great! Just what I needed!”. And the universe says, “OK, you like that, here, have some more!”. Our thoughts are like our curated social media feeds. The more posts of dogs we pause to look at, the more cute dog pics the feed will show us. Keep them in check.
Not only will your business resilience bank account have your back when it comes to decision making, but fomenting trust is a crucial part of running any business. Your guests will feel more valued if you allow them to be heard. Ask for their opinion. It is always a disheartening experience to read a negative comment or a criticism from a guest that you can clearly remember answering your question about how they enjoyed their stay with a cheery “Great, thank you! Everything was perfect”.
People are much less likely to complain publicly if you have given them a chance to trust you with their opinion. Tell them with a smile that you can take it, and that they should feel comfortable giving you their genuine feedback. It is also a perfect moment to hear how they perceive your product. In the Social Media Marketing in the Covid-19 Context resource file on my main site, I talk about how important it is to listen to what your guests think about your property:
“You might think your USP was the view, your clients might think it was the way you found out what they enjoyed in just a short conversation and made the perfect suggestion for their afternoon out”.
In addition, trust building is crucial to happier employees. Even if you only work with someone who cleans or does your garden or mans the reception every now and again. They will feel more valued when their opinion is sought, when they feel that their actions are crucial to the success of your business. Building trust is often as simple as remembering the names of their kids, or an important event that recently took place for them. By nature, trust is never one-sided. You will be rewarded with loyalty, commitment, and increased productivity.
Using the BRAVING acronym from Brené Brown I created this infographic to help understand the essential elements that are crucial to that big word “trust”.
We are better at giving help than for asking for it. You cannot allow yourself to believe that asking for help makes your lesser, weaker, struggling or needy. If you do attribute this value to asking for help, then you belittle the person who asks, and you limit your own resilience building. If you don’t openly, genuinely and honestly ask for help when you need it, then you cannot give it to someone else. I love this African proverb that sums it perfectly up:
“Be wary of the naked man who gives you a shirt”.
There has never been a better time to let down your guard and find out who can help you with your most pressing challenges. Join my Building Tourism Resilience Facebook Group, join local FB entrepreneur groups, chat openly and without judgement. Your business resilience bank account is yours within reach.