In today's world employees and customers alike want to work and support a company with good values so it's critical that you be as transparent about your business as possible. So what does being transparent mean? Do you have to show the team your bank statements? Do you have to show them how much you pay yourself? Those questions depend on you but the more they know the more they feel part of what you are doing. The more they know the more they trust you and will buy into your vision.

I recently started working with a client who was struggling to pay the bills. When we sat down and told the staff the situation and why the business was struggling and explained what we had to do to survive the staff was incredibility supportive. People started turning off the lights when they left an empty room. They stopped asking about getting paid more and there was a new urgency to help the founder survive.

Being transparent changed the culture in the company and I bet will help it really grow. I know that will help in the way the customers are treated and I have already seen the founders stress levels decrease because now he has help.

Here are 7 ways to help build transparency in your business.

1. Establish core values

Think about how you want people to treat others and make that an essential part of your business. You most likely want everyone to act to with integrity and honor. Be consistent with those values for everything you do, from discipline to making new products as well as hiring new people.

2. Don't make selling the goal

While selling is important, it should not be the goal. Make spreading your core values throughout your team and in the world your goal.

3) Be an open book

There should not be any secrets about the business between yourself and your employees. Share everything you can with them and your investors so they are on the same page as you and trust you.

4) Respond in a timely manner to consumer's questions and issues

Not only should you be there for your employees but you should also be there for your customers. When they comment on social media, respond to them with a day with an honest, real response, not a form response that is just copied and pasted. Providing clear and honest answers to people's questions and complaints will go a long way.

5) Stay open to other's opinions

It is okay to put your company's opinions on social media, but be aware that many people will not agree with it. Instead of shutting down people who disagree by removing their comments, or even worse, saying a nasty one in return, stay open to discussion about it and respond politely.

6) Make your social media pages a community

Your social media pages should be a thriving, welcoming community that helps you connect better with your customers. The bigger the genuine connection you have with your customers, the more transparent your business will become.

7) Include suggestions for areas of improvement

When talking to your employees about underperforming areas in your company, do not just say "fix it". Talk with them to find solutions to the problem. Not only will it be more efficient in solving problems, but your employees will be happy to be included in the discussion.

Published on: Jan 1, 2017