By Michelle Corey, BBB President and CEO
With 2014 just ended and a new year beginning, now is the perfect time to look back on the accomplishments of your Better Business Bureau over the last 12 months.
It has been, thanks to BBB’s Board of Directors, committees and staff, an amazing period of successful growth strategies – a year of seized opportunities, new ways of doing things and a renewed vigor that has energized our Accredited Businesses with a new set of tools to help them grow and flourish.
Just this month, BBB Serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois cut the ribbon on its second regional office in four years – in Cape Girardeau, Mo. That office joins our headquarters in downtown St. Louis and our regional office in Columbia, Mo., covering Central Missouri.
We have updated successful programs, like BBB’s Request-a-Quote service, which brings new customer leads to Accredited Businesses, and we have introduced new ones, like the Passport to Learning webinars, which help our businesses sharpen marketplace skills in a variety of key business areas.
We have updated and streamlined our websites – both nationally and locally – and launched our “Look for the Seal” advertising campaign to help consumers understand the benefits of hiring Accredited Businesses. By year-end, we project that we will drive consumers to Accredited Businesses 1.4 million times.
Also in 2014, BBB continued to expand our involvement across social media and to strengthen our position as a trusted source of information for consumers, businesses and the mainstream news media.
And yet, with all of this, it may be the growth in our number of Accredited Businesses that has been our most important accomplishment. The statistics are stunning: in 2012 and 2013, about 1,200 new businesses each year became BBB accredited; by the end of this year, the number of new BBB Accredited Businesses is expected to exceed 1,700. That extraordinary growth – a more than 40 percent increase in a single year – is testament to the belief that BBB Accreditation is both good for business and an important investment in a better and more ethical marketplace.
At year’s end, our BBB was nearly 6,500 Accredited Businesses strong. One by one, each of those businesses has made a commitment to a set of basic principles that are at the core of who we are. BBB Accredited Businesses have promised to build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, safeguard privacy and embody integrity.
They may be only 17 words, but they are the foundation of what BBB has stood for during our nearly 100-year history.
Your BBB makes the same promise for 2015 that we have made every year that has come before – to help build better businessess and a better marketplace by connecting consumers to trustworthy businesses – BBB Accredited Businesses.
A version of this article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of BBB’s Torchlight magazine, a publication for BBB Accredited Businesses and Accredited Charities.