Whether you have your own business, are thinking of going on your own, or you are running a division or business unit within a large corporation, the following guidelines for reputation building all apply.
Without a strong and positive reputation, the critical word of mouth advertising, which is free, and the most powerful, will not be available to you.
Endorsements and referrals, be they personal or virtual, are the fuel that can turbo charge and sustain your growth and generate business profit.
Essential Reputation Builders
1. Do more than is expected.
- Provide what is required and then some. It doesn’t always have to be tangible. Great ideas and cutting edge information are extremely valuable – share yours!
2. Deliver on your promises.
- If your clients ask for something, do it and make it memorable. Entrepreneurs have a lot on their minds. Get an assistant if you can afford it, use an electronic task management system or in the simplest form, make a to-do list so you keep your commitments.
3. Help others succeed.
- Develop an attitude of helping others. It can relate directly to your clients’ business; however it can also be expanded to their family or colleagues if appropriate. The adage of “it is better to give than receive” is noteworthy and powerful. (A personal note on this. My experience is that when I give without any expectation of reciprocation, I benefit from deep contentment which is literally priceless. I‘ve also learned that no good deed is left unrepaid in some form or fashion. I may not get material goods, however I have received countless “paybacks” at the most random times and in the most unique ways.)
4. Be consistent.
- Show your best qualities and skills with everyone you meet or interact with. If you are pleasant and engaging in one setting and a jerk in another your reputation will suffer. Consistency is the best way to quickly build your reputation.
5. Make others look good.
- “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This is a good starting point for building relationships and getting business. Have you ever been thrown under the bus by someone? How did you treat that person moving forward? What about the ones that pulled you away from the curb so you wouldn’t get hit. You remember and value them and seek to return the favour.
6. Be likeable.
- This may sound simple, but it is one of the greatest assets an entrepreneur has. Being likeable relates directly to your manners, attitude, and even appearance. Do you look and come across as someone that is approachable and positive? Smile, develop a good handshake and be personable. (Additional blogs on this topic: Do You Have a “Yes” or a “No” Face? or The Impact of a Leader’s Body Language)
7. Act with integrity.
- We’re talking the foundation of success for every entrepreneur here. There is no room for selfishness, greed, or envy. I’ve always lived by the saying “if I wouldn’t buy it, I won’t sell it”. This attitude has served me extremely well as an entrepreneur. In the short-term it may have cost me some business but in the long run it gained me loyal clients and endorsements and support from many.
You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do. Henry Ford