Good business relationships are built on trust. People who depend on you, from your creditors to your employees, need to confidently rely on you to treat them fairly.

Once they know you can be depended upon, they will extend their cooperation and even make allowances for you. This is absolutely critical to your success.

The sooner you demonstrate that you are trustworthy, the faster you will receive the benefits, such as extended credit, loyalty, engagement, priority ranking, increased sales, and opportunities. The key is to be proactive. Look for ways to show all the folks you work with that you have their best interests at heart.

Here’s our short list for how to build and grow trust:

1. Communicate often

Be clear about what you are doing and why. Don’t leave anyone in the dark guessing what you are up to. We recommend regular meetings with creditors, suppliers, outsourced services, and your own team. Alleviate their fears by sharing vital information early and often. The more they know, the more confident they feel about working with you.

2. Forge alliances

Identify who gets ahead if you do and forge these strategic alliances. Treat these folks like business partners, such as sharing your plans for expansion with suppliers who will benefit from your increased business. Discover how you can work together to improve their business while reducing your need for capital, such as long-term contracts in return for free warehousing and better terms.

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Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact