As an entrepreneur you have a reputation – positive, neutral or negative. And, as an entrepreneur it is your job to make sure you get noticed, approached and selected. Your reputation will determine how successful you become.
When I started my company 26 years ago, all I had was industry contacts and relationships with individuals that knew me from my previous roles as a recruiter and sale representative for Union Carbide. I needed to leverage my reputation and relationships and step out and test my entrepreneurial wings. I learned very quickly about reputation and how powerful it is.
A brand is what a business does, reputation is what people remember. Ted Rubin
A poor reputation:
- Undermines or ruins your business
- Damages your network
- Weakens your brand
- Forces you to accept customers that you don’t want and shouldn’t have
- Increases the costs of doing business due to lack or trust or perceived value
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. Benjamin Franklin
A great reputation:
- Opens doors and create opportunities for discussion and business
- Provides access to influencers and decision makers
- Enables you to expand your network quickly
- Positions you as being unique and offering high-value products, services or expertise
- Aids in raising your prices or fees and building strong client relationships
The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. Socrates
Being the best you can is not enough. You must be “perceived” by others to be the best in your market sector, industry or geographic area and have relationships with influencers that can create opportunities for you. Relying on luck will not create or build your reputation. A strategy that positions you as someone competent, credible and desirable is essential.
The greater the problems you solve; the bigger the impact of your solutions, the more important it is to be a “front of mind”, or get here quickly by being referred through your network.
Potential clients will consult friends and colleagues within their network or do a Google search to evaluate your reputation and track record before contacting you or buying from you. It is your responsibility to ensure you can be easily found and accessed when they come looking.
Entrepreneurs need a lot of “friends” and advocates to succeed.