Throughout the past few decades, innovations in technology have allowed almost all aspiring entrepreneurs to attempt their hand at running their own business, whether it be a traditional brick and mortar or e-commerce store. The issue with this is that although the opportunities are certainly there, it does not automatically guarantee that you will see long-term success. In fact, one of the most common mistakes that tend to bring down most start-ups is not their product or business plan but a lack of reputation. In business, your company’s reputation is everything. Here are four ways you can begin to improve the reputation of your company and keep it.
Understandably, small companies tend to run on a shoestring budget. So renting out that fancy office downtown may be out of the question. However, this should not stop you from finding other means of setting up shop. Those running an e-commerce business might think that this doesn’t apply to them, but, in fact, it’s actually more important to show that you are just as professional a company as the competition. When customers and vendors are going to do business with a new company, they tend to want to dig deeper into it before spending their hard-earned money.
Many of them will make their way to Google Maps and look up where you are located. Seeing a street view of a run-down building or residential home can be seen as a red flag for them. A great way to make your workspace look professional is to go into multi-rental offices. These are essentially areas in which multiple companies set up shop and share rent. Not only are you getting it for a low price, but it will no doubt impress potential clients when they step into your nice and professional office.
Nurture Current Relationships
A common mistake made by new business owners when attempting to grow their business is that they also tend to neglect their current relationships. Although looking for new prospects is a good thing and should be encouraged, it should also not come at the expense of already existing clients. Ignoring them can cause them to feel like you were only attentive to them in order to make the sale. This can really hurt your reputation as being someone who does not give it their all. One thing that new business owners don’t really seem to know is that companies talk to each other. If you begin to neglect current clients, that person will then tell other businesses around your local area about how you treated them. This, as you may know, can really lead to trouble in the sales department.
Most customers will be hesitant about trying out a new company, so if anything goes wrong, your customer service should be top-notch. A very important area to focus on is your calling system. As a small business, you might not be able to afford the manpower needed to operate a customer service department, but that is no excuse. Being available is important since many customers who reach an answering machine will never call back again.
Other areas to also focus on is how you respond to people through your social media platforms. Many business owners tend to forget that their conversations on social media are also a part of customer service. Not only that, but it is more amplified because other customers and potential customers are seeing how you react and respond. Therefore, when customers ask a question or post a frustration, you should not keep them waiting. Answer them promptly and kindly so they can understand that you really care about their issue. All these small things will eventually provide you with a positive reputation as a company that truly cares about their customers.
Giving back to the community is an excellent way to not only better create a positive reputation for yourself, but also do some good for others. Giving back to the community demonstrates that you are grateful, responsible, and a good business overall. When choosing what type of work or charity you want to do, always make sure it is one that you actually feel passionate about. Too often, companies attempt to give back only to come off as fake. Speak with your staff and choose a charitable cause that you can all participate in together. This will only provide you with a more positive reputation.
A company is nothing without a good reputation behind its name. We have seen, in the past few years, that even the most well-established companies in the world can suffer due to illegal or unethical behavior. Business owners should keep their image in mind and begin creating a positive reputation that will attract customers and that they can be proud of.
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