Why Reputations Do Matter In The Business World?
Why reputations do matter in the small and large business world? Wait, you do not know the answer to such a simple question?
For too many small and large business business owners, they actually may struggle with answering what should be a rather easy question to respond to. As a result, they may be missing out on new customers because something is floating around the Internet, something that is either putting them and/or their business in a bad light.
With 2013 here and off to a fast start, do you plan at some point this year in stopping for a minute or two to check your online profile? Wait, you do not know how to do such an easy thing?
With more and more consumers turning to the Internet these days to browse and shop/purchase goods and services, it is important for those running companies to not have any skeletons in the closet when it comes to their online reputation. What may seem like a minor thing to some could end up being really important to others, specifically the customer.
If you have never really put much thought into your online persona, then consider a few things:
1. Talk is not cheap – In the event your name or that of your company is not getting good reviews online, it could be impacting your ability to bring in new customers. It just takes one unhappy employee, disgruntled customer, or challenging competitor to say something negative about you or your business online. When that happens, word can spread like wildfire, even if the comments have no validity whatsoever to them;
2. Houston, we have a problem – Once you discover that your online reputation is being attacked, how will you defend it? For many small business owners, that can oftentimes be the million dollar question. They may think it isn’t such a big deal, but then a drop off in customers and rumors swirling around about one’s online reputation can quickly lead to panic.
There are essentially two ways to deal with the problem, both of which should be considered. First, you can try and repair your reputation yourself, but do you really have time for that with all other responsibilities you have with running a business? Second, you can turn to an outside firm or consultant who handles such issues (see below) in order to get your online reputation restored to its proper place;
3. Choices, choices – Should you decide to reach out to a consultant and/or company that oversees online reputation protection for individuals and companies, know what you are looking for. First, make sure you get quotes and information from several providers so you have some options to work with.
Second, be sure to do a background check on each provider you are considering, especially looking at their company history, any matters with customer complaints to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and if they have any financial problems. If you are going to invest time and money into having someone clean up your online reputation, make sure you don’t create a second problem by hiring the wrong outfit;
4. Tout the positive – Your last and most important task is making sure positive news about you and/or your small business takes center stage. If you are down in the search engine rankings, there is the opportunity to rise up, but it takes time and effort.
If you have a company blog, offer press releases, have some customer testimonials tucked away, etc. make sure they are spread around the Internet. The more good news you can get out there about your company the better. As the good news ascends, the bad news descends, giving you the opportunity to improve your search engine ranking.
While your online reputation may not have seemed important in the past, today’s obsession that many folks have with the Internet makes it all the more important.
What About You?
When it comes to your online reputation, are you willing to chance it? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.
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About the author
Dave Thomas has more than 20 years of experience as a business writer.