Whether it’s lunchtime snack trading or trade between businesses, trust is critical.

Trust is a fascinating, powerful concept in business. How we think about trust, and how trust manifests itself, has been one of the most important drivers of trade since pre-historic times.

Trust is at the foundation of trade. Think about it — if I don’t trust you, I won’t trade with you. So how can I decide if I trust you? If I’ve lived next to you in the same village, and I’ve known you since birth, then I have some basis to trust you. I grow apples, and you bake bread, and if I trust you in your product…

There’s a lot more to the economy than what we see as consumers. Just like there’s more to this iceberg than meets the eye.

Floating icebergs have a significant percentage of their mass floating beneath the surface of the water. When you’re approaching one, it’s easy to focus only on what’s above the surface — but if you do, you’re missing the larger picture. (Read about the RMS Titanic for more on how that could be a problem)

Before we started Kinnek many years ago, I used to only see the “tip of the iceberg” when it came to the economy. I only noticed what I interacted with directly, as a consumer. I would buy a pie, but never wonder how the bakery bought…

“Do you trust me?” Maybe, can I see some third-party validation?

“I am the most handsome person you’ve ever seen.”

“We consider ourselves to be Philadelphia’s best hotel — and our mothers agree.”

“We have the best burger in New York — trust us.”

Imagine if you heard these claims in your personal life. You’d probably consider them ridiculous, almost laughably untrustworthy- right? When you put unverified claims on your website like “#1 supplier” or “best in the industry” with no objective sources and no validation from your customers, just remember that your prospective customers are thinking the same thing.

Here at Kinnek, we encourage businesses that sell to other businesses…

Not that kind of “rich.”

These days, for individual consumers like you and me, reviews are everywhere: Yelp, Google, Facebook, Amazon…the list goes on. But if you’re a small business owner searching for supplier reviews before making a major purchasing decision, good luck finding anything useful. There’s no reliable source for quality B2B reviews.

Years ago, we at Kinnek set out to change this. We wanted to bring the power of consumer reviews to the small business world. Of course, we knew we had to adapt the consumer review model to be truly useful to small business needs.

Our mission was to make each and…

Would you like to phone a friend….in order to check the trustworthiness of a supplier?

If you’re a small business owner, you know it’s difficult to have complete confidence when making purchasing decisions: Is the supplier appropriate for your business? Will they provide good service? Are they going to deliver on their promises? (Or will your business be caught in a storm of shadiness and ineptitude?) Will the supplier support you during difficult times? All of these questions might race through your mind as you’re considering different suppliers, reading through price quotes, negotiating terms, and ultimately deciding whether to place an order with them. …

An example of how not to deliver trust.

Just for a moment, try imagining yourself in the shoes of a small business owner (maybe you are one already, in which case that shouldn’t be too difficult). Every purchase you make for your business is critical. Not only from a financial standpoint (you simply don’t have enough resources to withstand many “bad decisions” when it comes to choosing a supplier), but also because your business is your life. It’s not just a job- it’s your livelihood, your passion, your everything.

The irony of this is that while nearly every purchase a small business makes is of incredible importance, there…

As consumers, online reviews aren’t new to us. Far from it, we’ve been inundated with reviews sites over the years and they’re now pretty pervasive in our purchasing habits. …

Surprisingly, businesses do not use “trust falls” as a way of evaluating suppliers’ trustworthiness.

Six years ago, my co-founder Rui and I recognized a major structural problem with our nation’s economy. Small and medium-sized businesses were stuck in an awkward no-man’s land when it came to discovering the best suppliers. They neither had the resources of Fortune 500 enterprises to have dedicated purchasing teams, nor could they avail of the same tools and websites that individual consumers had to make the best purchasing decisions. We saw that something had to be done- someone had to change the status quo and help businesses discover the best suppliers. The inevitability of change was powerful and undeniable…

Indiana Jones took the leap of faith, just as consumers and businesses have been forced to do for decades.

Take a moment to think about the major factors driving changes in purchasing habits over the years among consumers. The rapid rise in Internet usage certainly comes to mind, as does the proliferation of mobile devices. But there’s a singular factor that has been the driving force behind some of the largest changes in the way consumers make purchase decisions. What is it?

People’s desire for objective sources of truth and reputation when making purchasing decisions.

It might not sound revolutionary, but this concept has changed the way the world works for consumers like us. Think about it. Even 25…

Rethinking what it means to be a MVP.

If you’ve been in the technology space for some time, you’ve almost certainly heard the term “minimum viable product” (MVP). It’s become so pervasive that “MVP” has become somewhat of a golden rule for product managers in some ways.

The MVP framework is excellent in theory. It prescribes that product managers should avoid designing massive, monolithic products that will take a long time to build and won’t yield actionable results for months and months.

Instead, it encourages them to come up with a minimum set of features that would make a product “viable”, start by building that and launching quickly…

Karthik Sridharan

Co-Founder & CEO of Kinnek. I’m passionate about small businesses, I love mangoes, and I’m listening to “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan right now.

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