When was the last time you told a lie? Was it something in your personal life? Or something to do with your business?
We all do it so often without even realising – even if we don’t think of it as ‘lying’. We hide the truth. We exaggerate and inflate things, making them seem bigger and better than they really are (ahem!!). We sidestep difficult questions, and change the subject, all to avoid telling the truth.
Are you guilty of doing this in business? You might think it helps to hide the exact details of how you’re working from your customers. But is it really helping? It doesn’t even have to be an outright lie – if your business is built on being difficult, evasive and indirect, this will spread to your customers, suppliers and even your team. In time, you’ll find that no-one will trust you and will look elsewhere.
Look at the entrepreneurs who go on Dragons’ Den and try and bluff about their figures or hide elements of their business – or the Apprentice candidates who lie on their CVs. They always, always get found out and end up looking embarrassed, foolish and uninvestable/unemployable!
I’ve always been completely up front and honest – here’s why.
Why transparency matters
Transparency in business is so important. Ultimately, if you’re a bullshitter, sooner or later you’re going to get caught out. This is a life lesson too – one little white lie leads to another, bigger lie. This goes on and on until inevitably, the whole charade comes crashing down. Being up front and honest with absolutely everyone you’re dealing with is absolutely crucial.
For example, you can be transparent about your margins with your customers. No-one expects you to be in business out of the goodness of your heart – your customers will know you’re here to make money! So don’t waste time pretending you’re not. That’s one of the key points here – lies waste everyone’s time.
Ultimately, you have to believe in the value of whatever it is you’re trying to sell. What are you creating, over and above the actual product you’re selling, which makes it worth your customers’ while? If you’re marking up your costs by 50% before selling on to your customers, where’s the value for them in that 50%? Are you getting them the product faster than anyone else? Offering the best customer service? Offering products that no-one else can get hold of because of your incredible supply chain network? Be honest about it!
Don’t sell yourself short
Being transparent is not about discounting. There’s a lot more to being the most successful than having the lowest prices. If you have the confidence and credibility to be honest with your customers about what profit you are making – AND, have a credible product or proposition that STILL makes it worth their while to deal with you, then you are going to win!
Being authentic and honest in how you run your business makes everything simpler in the long run. If you need to achieve a certain margin – what’s the worst that could happen if you were up front about it? Negotiations can be simpler, quicker, everyone around the table will know exactly where they stand, and you can put your efforts into running the parts of your business that are going to drive the most value.
This doesn’t just go for your customers. You need to be open with your own team too. If you communicate well with your staff, it builds trust. The more your team trust you, the more likely you are to retain them, build loyalty, keep morale (and therefore productivity!) high, and get the best results.
Being open and honest is always the best policy – and this theme runs throughout ALL of my content, whether it’s in direct and open interviews with business leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities on my YouTube channel, my LinkedIn articles, my Instagram or with my Funding Guru business. Whether it’s a small business loan, asset finance or commercial property finance. I’ve funded all kinds of entrepreneurs who are serious about making money – there’s no reason this can’t be you too. Contact my highly motivated and experienced team today!