BUILDING A GOOD REPUTATION: OFFLINE & GENERAL PRACTICE
No matter how amazing your product is, how tight your business plan is or how noble your intentions are, a business’s success (especially a new one) ultimately lives or dies as a result of its reputation. Building a great reputation might seem straightforward in your head, but in practice, when there are so many other people involved, it can be a challenge to deliver your vision.
Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get, and you want to ensure that what is being said about you and your business is all positive. Once the word is out, it is out of your control, so here are a few things you can do to make sure all the chat about you works in your reputation’s favour…
1. Follow Through:
The most important element to building a reputable brand is trust. You need to ensure that if you and your business promise something, that you deliver on that promise. This is a policy that you need to implement for both your customers and your staff, so that all that work with you feel that they are in a safe and capable pair of hands.
Honesty is also a highly valuable asset to a strong reputation. In every business there will be things that don’t go to plan, that’s just how it goes. You will be judged on how well you deal with these problems. Being honest about these not only shows that you are human, which is endearing, but also allows others to help and to sympathise. This creates further trust, community, and a richer resource for solving problems through teamwork.
3. Keep Your Filter On
Everything about your company should look intentional; always present as a business that is in control. There is a metaphor about the gracefulness of duck; although it appears to glide effortlessly across the water, its legs are motoring and racing away under the surface. You should look good, as should your team, your premises, your branding and your promotion. This presents an image of control, capability and professionalism; whatever the current situation may be. You never know who might be watching!
By welcoming and encouraging feedback you show a willingness to do better. By striving to be better you are demonstrating a willingness to deliver a quality product to your customers that caters specifically to their wants and needs, and not to yours. It shows that you care.
5. Address Smack Talk
On occasion they may be rumours about your business. The mistake many make is to believe these will die away. Often, they do. But when they don’t, they can render permanent damage to a brand. So, if this does happen, make sure you address it publicly in as positive a way as possible. This will not only quell a rumour, but it will also show that you are not one to respond in an angry, brash or unprofessional manner.
6. Keep Talking
This is a habit that covers all previous points on this list, and is something that is important to both your staff and your clients. Be open and communicative at all times. The people around you need to be kept in the loop to feel informed and valued, and you need others to feel that they can come to you with any problem or idea that might crop up.