Most business owners go into business for themselves because they have a dream of providing a service that the customer really needs. Over time, they develop a client base and customers come to rely on this business because of its reputation. As the business grows, it is just as important to maintain that reputation as it is to establish a good reputation in the beginning. There is nothing more valuable than a good reputation, especially when it comes to your business. Some concepts worth considering:
1. Establish clear values. Successful businesses are built on the same principles that bring people success in life: honesty, trust, loyalty, humility, transparency, accountability, and consistency.
2. Keep your word. If you promise a service, stand behind it.
3. The customer is always right. Are you asking your customers if there’s anything you can do to improve your products or services? If the answer is “no,” you are running the risk of having a reputation in crisis. Prepare yourself for hearing negative feedback and humbly accept it, fix it, and communicate the change back to your customers.
4. Processes and rules of engagement are very important. Develop clear job descriptions and make employees understand their responsibilities. This applies to business that are staffed with family and friends. When you have a clear vision of what your company should look like, your staff are more likely to get behind it.
5. Welcome to the jungle. Choose your alliances, partnerships, and relationships carefully. Remember, your reputation is your brand and forming relationships with businesses and people who do not share your values can be detrimental to the brand you worked so hard to create.
Be mindful that your reputation resides in the minds of others. Your integrity and character are the backbone of your business.