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We all know that startup businesses have high failure rates. Just how high is open to debate but this graphic, showing them by industry, is worth a look. Trust holds the key to long-term business success and profitability, yet it remains the most frequently ignored business strategy. Without trust as a foundational element, the chances for long-term business survival are little to none.

Yesterday someone asked me to enumerate, from a “trust” perspective, ten sure-fire business failure warning signs. I’ll bet several are present in your organization.


  1. Trust is taken for granted or viewed as a soft skill. There is no Chief Trust Officer (not to be confused with ethics or compliance. Trust is voluntary while compliance is regulated.)
  2. Your corporate credo or core values are nonexistent, or the ones in place are simply “words” tossed up on a website.
  3. Goals have yet to be defined, shared or agreed upon. Nor has a course been plotted with a one, three and five-year plan.
  4. Leadership is focused on survival and short-term profitability only, instead of a unique corporate value proposition and the customer.
  5. The “leader” lacks leadership skills. Worse yet, he is a total jerk and everyone knows it but him.
  6. There is not a single woman in sight on the executive leadership team.
  7. Everyone is a boss and no one is held accountable, resulting in a lack of consistency and a great deal of finger-pointing.
  8. Board members are “Yes men” for the CEO, and “yes” they are all men.
  9. There is lots of talk and little action, and everyone is always “very tired” from all the “hard” work.
  10. A well-defined hiring strategy has not been implemented resulting in misalignment and inefficient staffing.

How many of these are present in your startup? Each one is an indicator that your business will fail.

We have published a brand-new 2015 poster listing 52 weekly actions you can take to build trust and secure and ensure long-term business success, drawing on expert advice from around the world. A donation of $10.00 (minimum $5.00) might hold the key to your long-term business success. Make the investment for the good of your organization and all your stakeholders. See you in 18 months!

Want to learn more about building organizational trust? Our award-winning 3-book TRUST Inc. series that can be ordered here,


Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2014 Next Decade, Inc.


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