Businesspeople In Meeting

Making Rain on a Small Business Budget (Part 3): A Bigger Idea

Post Series: Making Rain on a Small Biz Budget

Our story about making rain on a small business budget takes an unexpected turn here. We’ve talked a lot about small business challenges, money, planning, the big idea (getting rid of the old incandescent light bulbs), and even hiring consultants to help win more and work less. Here’s a little secret. People want to work with (and buy from) people that they know and trust. If you haven’t earned the basic trust of your customers, prospects, partners, colleagues, or employees, all the planning, consultants, and money in the world will not help you succeed in business. Without trust, nothing else matters.

Do you know how trustworthy you are? The trust equation ( is one simple way to calculate trust and includes the following four variables.

Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy

Credibility is related to how you communicate your skills, credentials, and accomplishments to others.

Reliability is related to how you demonstrate your skills, credentials, and accomplishments in actions. Did you deliver what was expected on time, or even ahead of schedule?

Intimacy has to do with empathy, safety, and security. Did the customer tell you things in confidence that they didn’t tell others competing for their trust (and their business)?

Self-orientation is about your focus and orientation. It is the lone variable in the denominator and has the most significant impact on reducing your trust quotient. Do you focus on yourself (internal) or others (external)? Are you more concerned about what you get out of a relationship or the value the relationship brings to the other party?

Your Trust Quotient (TQ) is a number, like your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) that provides a benchmark for each of the four TQ variables. Business development trust (a prerequisite for making rain) requires good scores on all four variables¾high credibility, reliability and intimacy, and low self-orientation.

The TQ is an easy way to assess your personal trustworthiness and the first step toward determining if/whether you are trusted by others. The Trusted Advisor website has a basic TQ assessment to help you understand how you rate on the trust scale compared to others. The assessment includes 20 basic statements and asks whether the statement is true (almost always, often, sometimes, rarely, almost never). The average TQ score is 6.5 out of a possible 15.

The trust equation provides a quantifiable framework and analytical tool for improving your trusting relationships at work and at home. Take the 10-minute quiz, analyze the free mini report, and join the 30,000 people who are focused on improving their trusting relationships. Hint: Most women have higher intimacy variable scores than most men.

Take Action

Getting back to our original question: “How do you make rain on a small business budget?” The answer is that it’s not necessarily all about the money. It’s about taking recommended actions to increase your win rate, increase your BD efficiency, improving your personal and professional trust quotient, and getting help if and when you need it.

Reading this article will be a complete waste of time (yours and mine) if you don’t take any first step actions or somehow change your behavior. If you are serious about making rain on a small business budget, winning more, and working less, flip though this article again and highlight 2-3 things that resonate with you. For example, do you need to think about, analyze, or otherwise collect information such as conducting a simple employee (or customer) survey, or taking the TQ assessment?

If you know what your BD pain points are, which ones can/should be addressed first? Strategic planning? Pipeline management? Do you have plans or templates that need to be developed or refined such as capture plans, proposal management plans, and proposal or storyboard templates? Do you need help making rain to grow your business? Do you have a plan for seeking and securing inside or outside assistance to grow?

Take steps to win more and work less. Build trusting relationships with clients, prospects, colleagues, and coworkers. Take out your calendar or To Do list. Write down what you plan to do and when. Do it now, and stop throwing your money away and making excuses for working too much or not winning enough.

Let’s Share Ideas. What are your thoughts and tips on winning more and working less? Do you disagree with any of my suggestions? What recommendations resonate with you the most? Let’s continue the dialogue.

Chris Simmons is the founder and principal member of Rainmakerz Consulting—a business development solutions company specializing in all aspects of proposal development.