"As a small-business person, you have no greater leverage than the truth." --John Whittier

It's sad perhaps but true: Because large corporations have a difficult time being transparent to their customers and employees, you, as an entrepreneur, have an advantage if you can embrace transparency. Just telling the truth, being open and honest with your staff, investors, customers, and prospects can actually give you a business advantage! At Likeable, it's one of our core values, so the words Build relationships through transparency greet me each time I see our strategic plans hanging on the walls.

It seems simple, but it's not. There is a difference between honesty (tell the truth) and transparency (tell everyone everything). Transparency is one of hardest values to approach in business, as many people are stuck on secrecy and fear. But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and a new generation of entrepreneurs have helped to change that. Customers want to give their business to transparent companies, and great talent wants to work at transparent companies. The moment you as an entrepreneur embrace transparency is the moment you gain that advantage over companies that haven't.

Here, then, are 13 quotes I've come across to inspire you to be more transparent:

  1. "There is no persuasiveness more effectual than the transparency of a single heart, of a sincere life." --Joseph Barber Lightfoot
  2. "Transparency, honesty, kindness, good stewardship, even humor, work in businesses at all times." --John Gerzema
  3. "A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity."
    --Dalai Lama
  4. "I love when things are transparent, free and clear of all inhibition and judgment." --Pharrell Williams
  5. "Eyes so transparent that through them the soul is seen." --Theophile Gautier
  6. "Transparency is not the same as looking straight through a building: It's not just a physical idea; it's also an intellectual one." --Helmut Jahn
  7. "I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom." --Simone de Beauvoir
  8. "Truth never damages a cause that is just." --Mahatma Gandhi
  9. "He had shown her all the workings of his soul, mistaking this for love." --E.M. Forster
  10. "Our whole philosophy is one of transparency." --Valerie Jarrett
  11. "A basic tenet of healthy democracy is open dialogue and transparency." --Peter Fenn
  12. "I just think we need more accountability and more transparency." --John Thune
  13. "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." --Thomas Jefferson

How important is transparency to you and your business?