Transparency in small businesses works on many levels, but the end result is the same – to show the world that you’re not hiding anything untoward from them.
Here’s how to make your company more transparent to your customers and employees.
Tell the truth
This is the key tenant to transparency – honesty. You’re not obliged to let everyone know every aspect of how your business works, but there are certain aspects of your business that people will want to more about.
This could apply to anything from changes in terms and conditions to how ethically you source certain materials.
For example, you might claim to be an organic company but a recent change in supplier means you’re not 100% organic. You need to come out with this information yourself.
Explain your decisions
With transparency you always need to be on the front foot. You’re not being transparent if you have to defend your actions.
If you have to make major changes to the way your business is run, explain these in as much detail as you’re legally allowed to your customers.
This could be in the form of an email, social media post or update on your website.
Make information easy to find
It’s all well and good saying that your terms and conditions are on your website, or that you did let people know about the changes in a single tweet, but in reality you need to be more vigilant than this.
It should also come in a timely fashion – don’t make an announcement three weeks after you’ve implemented changes, make it on the day.
Transparency is not a box-ticking exercise, it is an ethos. People should be able to easily access the pertinent information and when you do make announcements, make them loud so everyone hears.
Talk with your customers
Having a dialogue with your customers is vital. They should feel they can approach you and ask questions about your company – and get an honest answer.
It’s no use having people man your customer service team or social media pages if they’re just going to give stock answers.
The same goes for your employees. Transparency should run throughout the company, so your employees should be as informed as your stakeholder’s or executives.
Work both ways
This isn’t about bosses being able to spy on workers or even being more honest with your customers about how things are done – this is about every process being accessible, from the top down.
Bosses need to lead by example. Once they do it, others in the company will feel much more comfortable about being more honest and open.
This could be anything from bosses sharing office space with staff to releasing a regular update on how the company is performing, how they chose their suppliers or reasons for hiring and firing staff.
Posted by The Secret Businessman