How to Fuel Startup Growth by Building Trust with Phin Founder Doug Lessing


To learn more about how to fuel startup growth by building trust, click here to watch the webinar.

Consumer trust is a difficult thing for companies of any size to earn. According to a recent PwC report, while 84% of business executives think that customers highly trust their company, only 27% of customers say the same.

And for startups, earning consumer trust can be even more difficult. While 91% of business executives say their ability to build and maintain trust improves the bottom line, startups often lack the name recognition and longevity that enables a company to become a trusted brand. 

But for early-stage startups especially, earning the trust of potential customers is key to growth.  

“Building trust is even more important for startups because they have no reputation,” says Doug Lessing, founder of Phin. “You’re looking for those first 20 or 30 clients that believe in you to say, yes.”

Phin is a social good platform that helps companies build trust with customers and employees through charitable giving. The startup has generated more than $1 million in donations to support causes like Girls Who Code, Doctors Without Borders, Brighter Children, and One Tree Planted.

In a Founders Network webinar on Nov. 7, Doug and Phin client Neha Sampat, founder of Contentstack, will share how startups can fuel startup growth by building trust.

Neha is a three-time tech founder and CEO. She is currently pioneering the leading Composable Digital Experience company, Contentstack, and has raised $169 million in total capital over the past three years for her mission.

In the webinar, Neha and Doug will explore the essential principles of building exceptional companies and fueling growth by building trust with employees and customers. In this engaging event, they’ll highlight how intentional efforts to build trust start with everyday actions.

Trust in Sales

As previously stated, consumer trust can fuel startup growth. According to PwC’s 2023 Trust Report, 58% percent of consumers say they have recommended a company they trust to friends and family.  But how does a startup build trust? The PwC report found that 43% of consumers want to do business with companies whose purpose and values align with their own.

“From a sales perspective, how does a startup company develop trust? When a lot of people don’t know if an email or LinkedIn outreach came automated through a bot, through AI, how do they begin to establish trust and signal that they care and they give back? Social impact, charitable giving, is a really important way of signaling that you’re real and you care.”  

Employee Trust

Values alignment is also important to employees. For startups growing their team or trying to retain top talent, building trust with employees is essential. According to the report, 53% of employees want to work with a company whose values align. Additionally, 64% of employees say they recommended a company as a place to work because they trusted it.

“Startups are often focused on the product, the pitch deck, the logos,” Doug says. “Sometimes they don’t think about the foundation of building a company. It’s important to signal what they’re really about, that they really care, that they know how to build relationships and stick with them, that they do care about values and being purpose driven, giving back.”

Building Trust with Phin

Phin is a social good platform that provides an easy way for companies to boost engagement by rewarding employees and customers with company-funded donations to causes they care about. Phin provides personalized, interactive tools that help companies create values-based organizations and drive social impact.

 “We hear about being purpose driven and having values aligned,” Doug says. “Those are important things, but what is the underlying mechanism?  People want to buy from companies that care, but how do you signal that it’s real?  Our mechanism is charitable giving. Relationship building is about action, not talk. Charitable giving is a form of action to help demonstrate that you care. And that action gives you a moment to talk about your values.”

Through Phin’s work with Contentstack, the startup has cut their employee attrition rate in half to 10%, and increased their employment offer acceptance rate to 97% after launching a values-based giving strategy on Giving Tuesday in the midst of the Great Resignation. In a twice yearly survey, employees gave Contentstack a 85% rating, with 91% participation in the survey.

To learn more about how to fuel startup growth by building trust, click here to watch the webinar.

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