In the world of business, reputation means everything. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just a small business that started operating two days ago, or whether you’re a long-standing corporate giant, if you want to attract new clients, you have to maintain your image. As Warren Buffett — the famous business magnate and investor — put it: “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Yet, how does one build a business reputation? Read these 8 timeless ways to improve your business’s reputation and find out!
1. Try Blogging
Write in-depth articles to showcase your knowledge and expertise in relevant industry matters. With the right information at your hands it is not that hard to start your own blog. Moreover, keep your articles informative and restrain yourself from using too much jargon so even the broader masses can understand you; you don’t want to come out as pompous or arrogant. In addition, use your own case studies (if you can) and you’ll get plenty of links back to your articles, boosting your domain authority even more.
Create a LinkedIn profile and start building your network from there. Search for friends, present and past business colleagues, and prospective clients. If you have the time and resources, try some other platforms and social media relevant to your industry as well. Participate in discussions, post engaging content, and don’t forget to share other people’s content too; sharing is caring. Also, if you can, try helping people out and offer solutions to their problems. This will display you in a good light not just for them but for onlookers as well. Overall, you can do this while you’re on the toilet, while you’re commuting, etc., so no excuses! To make your connections long-lasting, take that step further. What about customized thank-you letters? By sending them as handwritten notes you will turn it into a different experience that won’t go unnoticed.
3. Be Honest
Always keep your word, no matter what. You promised your client that you’d deliver their goods in a timely fashion (during the weekend)? You do so. Never lie, and never bite off more than you can chew. This will not only ruin your reputation but you’ll lose a client in the process as well. According to ClickZ, you stand a much better chance (60–70%) of selling goods and services to an existing client than to a new one (between 5–20%). Therefore, lying in this case, doesn’t pay. You want to establish yourself as a reputable businessman whom people can trust. In the long run, your good (read: honest) reputation will precede you, bringing new clients and customers to your very doorstep.
4. Be Professional
Even if money is tight, you still have to work on your image, both online and offline. Dress accordingly — makes sure that there aren’t any wrinkles, that you’re decently dressed, and that everything fits perfectly. Moreover, take great care of your personal hygiene and grooming, and always double-check your written content for any grammatical or spelling errors to keep it neat and polished. If you’re not the artistic type, consider hiring someone to create some professional-looking business cards for you, as well as a unique company logo; these two essentially represent the face of your company. In addition, audit your website regularly, check for broken links and glitches, and keep it updated at all times.
5. Be Yourself
Always be yourself and try to remain consistent on all platforms; alternate personas will only get you so far. Once your cover gets blown, you’ll appear insincere and calculating; nobody likes dealing with a trickster. After all, you are the face of your company. So, act natural and do things your way (if possible). Don’t go on copying someone else. Instead, focus on cementing your own personality and soft-skills. In addition, constantly changing your schedule for no (good) reason will make you appear unreliable and disorganized. If you’ve announced that you’re going to post two articles a week (at a certain time), then stay consistent and do so.
6. Go the Extra Mile
When it comes to business, never overpromise things you cannot deliver and then go on to underperform. Instead, you should always ‘underpromise’ and ‘overdeliver’. Go above and beyond to please your customers and clients. Be known as the business that’s always willing (and ready) to go the extra mile if necessary. That way, you’ll gain the utmost loyalty of your customers and become the leader of the pack in your niche and industry (in your customer’s eyes at least).
7. Offer Exceptional Customer Service
Everyone knows the maxim “a happy customer is a loyal customer,” and for good reason. In the sphere of business, much of this happiness comes down to the quality of customer service. According to Microsoft, 96% of consumers around the globe think customer service is an important factor when choosing their brand. What’s more, another survey from Oracle claims that as much as 89% of consumers switch sides and go to the competitor’s camp due to poor customer service. It’s no wonder then that companies around the world are investing half of their resources into improving their customer service; you should follow suit.
8. Get Certified
Last but not least, if there’s any chance of you getting a relevant certification for your business, then do so. Being certified may not seem like a big deal to you at first, but any kind of validation of your industry-related skills, capabilities, and overall commitment by a third party is always welcome. What’s more, you can display the said certificate anywhere you want (on your business card, in your office, on your website, etc.) to give a nice boost to your reputation. If anything, you’ll appear more credible to your prospective clients.
At the end of the day, building a solid reputation is something you simply cannot do overnight. You need to start right now and slowly build up to that point, but beware. Your reputation is like a house of cards, one wrong move and it can all come crashing down. Tread carefully.