Reputation is everything in the highly competitive world of being an entrepreneurial business owner. The reputation of a business is pivotal to its survival — without a good and positive reputation it won’t draw in customers, without customers it won’t draw in profits, and without profits it won’t be able to afford to retain its status as a business. Whether it be online, or offline, reputation must be managed.
Firstly, your online reputation matters, so it needs to be managed and its management needs to be optimized to its full potential. In the past, businesses had only to rely on word of mouth by their stakeholders and customers to establish and maintain their reputation. But now, in the digital age, because of the technological advances it has induced, such as: social networking, sites and instant messaging services, there are a plethora of ways to build a reputation in the online realm. You’ve got a website, now what? Now you’ve got to make it portray the reputation of your business that you want it to have. To do this, you can do things such as offering as much interaction as possible in order to garner a reputation for your business that it is a customer-friendly one. If you utilize services such as pop-up assistants, for instance, prospective customers will think you’re always willing to help.
However, with great online power, comes great online responsibility. Although the internet offers all sorts of wonderful things in order to help you create a reputation and manage it, it can also destroy it in just one click. You should find a service to help you manage any negativity regarding your business, such as bad reviews, that could cloud your reputation; services such as Digitalico will address all the negative materials that are floating around the interweb about your business and brand. This will then leave you with more time to get to dealing with another important aspect of online reputation management: your own rep. It’s not only your business’s online reputation that needs to be managed — yours does too. Because the internet has now been readily available for a number of years, including all of the social media sites it as induced, it now means that a lot of the entrepreneurs of this generation were children when they first began to use it, and may have uploaded something online during their youth that they thought was appropriate at the time, but find that it really isn’t now.
If a potential customer, client or partner to your business were to ever do an extensive background check online on you, what would they find? Would they find embarrassing photos or videos of you from your college-era, i.e. would they find a video of you running around your college campus naked a prank, or a video of you boasting about your drinking skills while chugging alcohol? The naked truth is, that they shouldn’t be able to find any naked, or even nearly naked photos of you, or any pieces of media depicting you acting recklessly anywhere on the internet. If you feel that there is a piece of media that is posted online that could compromise your professional position (you’ll always be able to tell if is bad enough to do so as you’ll probably cringe at it) and likely to make them drop the offer of working with you, then you should destroy it. This doesn’t mean you have to destroy it completely: just from the realms of the internet; by all means, put the media in a safe place for you and yours eyes’ only. If there is a reason that you can’t take down the compromising media, like if it wasn’t you that uploaded it in the first place, then you should still take action to do so. You should contact whomever it was that did the uploading of the media in question and ask them to take it down — if they don’t then make sure to explain the circumstances as to why you want it to happen. And if they still need more convincing to do so, even after you’ve explained why they should, then you could consider contacting a service to deal with removing the content once and for all. If you were to ever come across any compromising photos of you from other sources that you were previously unaware of, make sure to check this survival guide to see what you can do next. And if you’re of the entrepreneurial mindset from an early age, you should try to limit the amounts of embarrassing things you put online, so that they don’t come back to haunt you in the future.
But, that’s not to say all reputation building is done online. Offline is arguably where reputation counts more: the way your business portrays itself physically through the way it deals with customers, to the produce it offers and the prices it makes them available at is what will attract a serious customer, not just if your website looks nice. How you treat a client, customer or partner in real life will help them to make their mind up about you and your business far more than merely chatting with via email services. Also, in order to stop all the negative reviews found online that were posted by bitter customers, your business’s offline services must be up to standard. Another huge aspect of building a sturdy offline reputation is the way businesses deal with crisis and disaster. For example, BP have, in recent years, had to respond to a crisis in regards to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill which seriously tarnished its reputation. In order to salvage its reputation, it worked to take responsibility for the clean-up, compensated the people affected upon the impact of the accident, and supported the economic recovery of the Gulf Coast’s tourism and seafood industries which were impacted by the spill companies in the world. So, if disaster ever strikes your business, make sure to act accordingly.