After talking to many of my entrepreneur friends, one big topic always
comes up – Trust.

They always ask:

How do you know your partner?
How long have you known him?

Have you worked with him before?
How do you know he/she will deliver?

And the list goes on and on. Questions upon questions. Some of which I do
have answers and many I don’t have answers for, dependent on whom it is
we’re talking about.

It seems that just about everyone has gotten burned in their past lives in
such business relationships. And unfortunately, I haven’t pinpointed any
reliable way of knowing how to trust someone completely unless you work
with them for a long time. And even then people can betray your trust.

So if you have to work with someone for a long time, then how did you start
in the first place, given your lack of knowledge about this person?

At one time, you would have trusted family members. But I don’t think that
is a safe criteria to go by either. Your aunts, cousins, brothers, even
your parents, can betray your trust in these matters.

I’ve heard stories of best friends becoming non-friends when they enter
into business together.

I’ve heard stories of people starting businesses under the euphoria of hope
of making tons of cash, but only to end their business relationship in a
haze of hate for the other person and how it was absolutely hell working
with them.

It is really unfortunate that so many people can’t get to some basic level
of doing what they say they will do, and if they can’t, then just saying
so. I think this is the core of trust. You need to be straight with your
business associates as to what you can’t and can do, and what you are
willing and not willing to do. Too many people hide behind some facade of
passive-aggressive fear of failure and false pride and refuse to just be
honest and clear with others around them, as well as with themselves.

I’ve already had an encounter where I had trusted someone, only to find out
that this person could not be trusted and actually lied to me at the end.
I got out as fast as I could but still I lost a lot of cash. Well, what
can you say- entrepreneurship comes with risk.

And so it is with trust. Trust comes with risk and yes you need to
minimize the risk associated with trust. So I try to do better in
listening to my intuition, read up on how to tell if someone is lying to
me, do some reference checking to see what others say. But somewhere along
the line, you need to fish or cut bait. You make a call and either it
works out or it doesn’t.

I think the key thing here is to know that trust is not without risk, and
that even after doing everything you can to maximize your trust in a
person, you can still get betrayed. The object lesson would be to minimize
the exposure of your assets to such risk, to be able to let go of your
investment if it goes sour, and to always learn and try again.

The worst thing you could do is to retreat into some cave and never trust