female entrepreneur standing in front of office

Protecting Your Reputation As An Entrepreneur

There are few pursuits more empowering than entrepreneurship.

Yet, while the digital realm may have granted you the knowledge, resources and contacts that you needed to start your enterprise up for nothing, make no mistake: your competitors have access to those exact same advantages. As such, all who own a small business know the endless pitfalls and perils that come with distinguishing oneself from their competition and maintaining a reputation for your brand and your own persona that is in line with the ideals in your mission statement upon which the fabric of your brand is based.

Even though consumers are growing increasingly more capricious and fickle, despite brands both large and small investing heavily in securing their loyalty, protecting your own entrepreneurial reputation may well be the key to securing their loyalty. If you can get them to invest in the person behind the brand, it makes the prospect of investing their attention in the brand much more appealing. Here we’ll look at some ways in which you can do exactly that…

Look after your employees and they’ll look after you

You can judge a business by how well it treats its employees. Workers who are underpaid, underappreciated and overworked tend to have a hard time wiping their dissatisfaction from their faces. As a consumer you’ve likely encountered more than your share of customer facing employees whose smiles don’t exactly beam with sincerity. This is unlikely to be how you’d like your customers to perceive your employees and your brand. Make sure that they’re valued, respected and appropriately remunerated and they will only ever reflect well on you.

Know whereof you speak

Whenever you speak to anyone, whether it’s a customer or a member of the local press, it behoves you to know whereof you speak. While you may face the temptation to wing it from time to time, opening your mouth unless you’re absolutely sure of what you’re going to say can reflect very poorly on you. If you try to go over the intricate electronic workings of one of your products with a customer but blanch if they ask you if it uses a Piezo Transducer, if you make a statement about a product that’s corrected by one of your employees or (worse still) you say something online which is proven to be false, the effects could be disastrous. Speaking of which…

Watch what you say (and to whom you say it) on social media

The internet never forgets. While you should use social media as a platform to espouse your ideals and establish yourself as an authority in your chosen field, you should never, ever post anything on social media without thinking long and hard about it. Business gurus and movie industry titans alike have been dethroned by failing to consider what they post on social media, even when in jest. The internet does not forget, nor does it have much of a sense of humour.

Don’t just espouse your ideals… live them!

Finally, if there’s one thing consumers loathe it’s hypocrisy. That’s why it’s not just enough to espouse the ideals upon which your brand was built or write eloquently about them in your blog, you have to live them. If your customers can’t see them in the way you interact with them, if your employees don’t feel them in the way you train, reward and encourage them, you will only end up undermining yourself.

License: CC0 Public Domain

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