How to know who to trust
We can’t do it alone. As business owners, we often need to rely on each other to accomplish our goals and see growth. The reason is simple: none of us are experts in everything. We need to know what we’re good at, and when it’s time to call in the experts. But how do you know who to trust? When you’re looking to partner with another person or business, how can you determine whether they’re the right fit, and if their business strategy aligns with yours? Whether you’re calling on the products or services of another company or exploring a collaborative partnership, here are some important questions to ask that will help you establish trust:
Who do you work best with?
A clearly defined target market enables businesses and customers to develop mutually beneficial relationships: the customer gets the product or service that best fits their needs, and the business secures satisfied customers and repeat business. So while it’s important for you to know who your ideal client is, it’s also important that you do business with companies who also know who their target market is. This description of an ideal client allows a business to know if a prospective client will be a good fit. If the company you’re interested in working with can’t give you a straight answer to this question, they may not be the best choice.
What have some of your greatest successes been?
This question will tell you what a company is good at, and where their strengths lie. Ask for several examples, and look for the common threads in the stories: does each story occur working with a specific industry? Is it a particular product or service that makes them successful? Finding out this information will give you more background information to determine whether the company’s business strategy will be a good fit or not. Depending on the nature of your partnership, this could include requesting references from past clients.
What are your core values?
The importance of aligned values cannot be understated enough. Especially when you will be working closely with a business on a project, it is vital that your core values are shared. They don’t need to be identical, but there should be commonality in the goals you each have as a business. For example, a company with core values of efficiency and productivity trying to partner with a company with core values of relationship and quality are likely to run into conflict.
Asking these three simple questions will reveal a lot about a company’s target, strengths, and values. The combination of those three things will determine how that company will strategize working with or for you. Knowing the answers will give you a foundation of trust you can go back to as you develop your business relationship.
Of course, there’s so much more you could ask when “interviewing” a business you hope to work with. The greater importance of the work you will trust them with, the more in-depth you should take your inquiries. But this should give you a good place to start.