A few weeks ago a seemingly innocuous post by a young novice investor apparently touched a nerve. He posed a simple query: How do you gain credibility when you’re new?
In his post he stated: “I am fairly new to investing, and I am 25-years old. I spend a lot of time with many other investors on a regular basis, and I want to know – what some of the best ways are to gain respect among seasoned investors?”
Every one of us can relate to this. Either we are in that position right now or we had been there at some point previously. I know I certainly was. Age and experience will solve the problem, but what does someone in this position do right now?
An Earlier Time
My own confrontation with this issue came when I was a stockbroker in the late 1980s. It was right around the time of the stock market crash and I was struggling to stand out at a time when people were fearful of investing (sound familiar?). I didn’t have a track record to fall back on, nor did I have the wisdom that often comes with age. However, I did have something more valuable.
From the time I was a child I was taught the value of always doing the right thing. Being reliable and trustworthy was something that was expected of me early on. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how valuable those lessons were.
Your Most Valuable Asset
In business your most valuable asset is your reputation. If people know that they can count on you they are more apt to do business with you. It is the leverage you can use to propel your business. But just like financial leverage, it cuts both ways. As much as a good reputation helps, a poor one hurts.
There is one word that sums it all up: INTEGRITY
The dictionary defines it this way: Integrity – adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
Experience comes with time. A track record of success isn’t obtained overnight and wisdom comes by learning from your mistakes. Integrity is the one thing you can have right now. There is no class to take, no test to pass. You can have it when you get out of bed in the morning. However, you must choose to have it.
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. – Oprah Winfrey