Chad Pedersen is Director of Business Development for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB), which works to advance marketplace trust by setting standards, creating a community of trustworthy businesses, calling out and addressing substandard marketplace behavior, celebrating marketplace role models, and helping businesses promote the trustworthy reputations they have built. He can be reached at
(651) 695-2451 or ChadPedersen@thefirstbbb.org  www.thefirstbbb.org

By Chad Pedersen

One of the most valuable assets every business has is its reputation. All new businesses start out with a perfect one. Then customers enter the equation, and that’s when the process of building trust truly begins. In today’s marketplace, however, it’s no longer enough to simply build your reputation. You have to constantly protect and maintain it. This is just one of the things Better Business Bureau can help you with. We offer a wide variety of programs and services that can help you with marketing, networking and building your brand.

Here is What Every Small Business Should Know about BBB:

1) We are not a government agency. Founded in 1912 in Minneapolis, BBB is a nonprofit organization funded by dues-paying businesses that support our mission of advancing marketplace trust. We receive no government funding, nor are we an enforcement agency. We promote the highest standards of business ethics and conduct by encouraging self-regulation.

2) BBB connects consumers with trustworthy businesses. BBB may be known for handling complaints (Last year we processed nearly 24,000 complaints with a 90% satisfaction rate), but the majority of our interactions with the public involve pre-purchase research. In 2014, more than 4 million BBB Business Reviews were accessed through our local website to find local, trustworthy businesses. BBB Business Reviews and online directories for local

Accredited Businesses are search engine optimized, helping customers to find your company’s information online with all major search engines. We provide BBB Accredited Businesses with helpful statistics on how many times (and from which ZIP codes) their BBB Business Review and online directory listings have been accessed.

3) Meeting our high standards builds trust. To earn BBB Accreditation, you must be in business at least one year and agree to several principles: advertise honestly, make good faith efforts to resolve consumer complaints, be transparent in how you do business, safeguard privacy, as well as embody integrity, truth, and trust. BBB Accreditation is an honor, and must be earned. All businesses that apply for accreditation are thoroughly vetted.

4) BBB is a risk management tool. A century-plus worth of experience has shown us that many typical business-related issues can be avoided or successfully managed if action is taken early. We have helpful tips for businesses regarding: ethical decision making; data security; customer privacy; and alerts about fraud targeting area businesses. In addition, we offer pre-complaint assistance and mediation services to our Accredited Businesses to head off potential problems with customers.

5) Co-brand, learn and network with BBB. Accredited Businesses can use the BBB seal on their websites, vehicles and marketing materials. Our online Dynamic Seal also links directly to your BBB Business Review, as well as with our special Accredited Business Online Directory to help potential clients find you online and through BBB. To keep our Accredited Businesses informed and connected, we host monthly Focus Luncheon seminars, networking breakfast orientations, mixers, and other educational events designed to bring business leaders together to share insights, ideas and best practices.

Call To Action
Start With Trust. Start building your business’s reputation and trust in our marketplace today by registering with BBB at www.thefirstbbb.org or call (651) 695-2451.