Transparency — the extent to which a business’s actions are observable — is increasingly valuable in today’s climate. The humanizing power of narrative and story has found its way into numerous enterprises, and a startup’s story has a unique ability to inspire and motivate. Current and potential stakeholders want you to answer this question: why should I trust you? Well-thought-out transparency helps to craft a compelling account of your startup and inspires a sense of assurance. Here are several advantages of transparency.
Being transparent with your employees, especially in the early stages of a startup, is of lasting value. A high level of employee trust and confidence leads to more creativity, higher productivity, less turnover, and a strong reputation in the professional and general community. Word gets around! Intentionally incorporating transparency regarding decision making, pay, and accountability (while preserving appropriate confidentiality) makes employees feel a stronger sense of control and a lesser sense of being in survival mode. Then, they’re freer to focus on tasks and constructive work-related relationships — to the benefit of your business.
Building a mutually beneficial relationship with customers rests on a foundation of trust — transparency helps to instill that faith. Being strategically transparent positions your startup as forward-thinking and credible. It’s an attractive trait to the pubic. As you grow your company, keeping those clear lines of communication open means that your customers won’t be caught off guard; they’ll be apprised of changes at every stage of your growth, and will be able to make the best decisions regarding their connection with you.
Using transparency to appeal to investors is a compelling approach, one that increases trust from both perspectives. Competition for money to fund startups is fierce — often, venture capital or angel investors provide an initial boost for startups. It goes without saying that investors want to receive back what they’ve invested. If you can show a potential investor a comprehensive, detailed plan, you’re much more likely to gain support. Once you receive investment capital, continued transparency will boost the likelihood that your investor will stay with you.
Fortunately, there are many ways for startups to be transparent — one size doesn’t have to fit all. It’s a good idea to do a thorough search of similar businesses, including social media. You’ll find a variety of approaches to internal and external transparency. Podcasts are also a great way to gain guidance. Enjoy the process of integrating transparency into every aspect of your startup!