Dave Thomas

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Reputations Truly Do Matter in the Business World

Dave Thomas

January 18, 2013

1.0/5.0 (1 votes total)

As a small business owner, have you ever truly sat down and thought about how you are perceived in the business world?

Keep in mind that years before the Internet became a part of just about everyone’s lives, you could oftentimes get away with having a so-so reputation as a company leader. Unless you or your employees did something totally off the charts, most consumers would not take the time to complain, especially where many ears and eyes were prevalent.

Now, however, the 24/7 Internet age means that information, both correct and incorrect, can be spread on a number of different forums. If those details are the latter, they can end up costing the small business owner much, including less of a return on investment (ROI).

If you are entering 2013 with an online reputation that needs some polishing up, there are ways for you to go about that.

Look at several factors, including:

* Why are you in this position to begin with? - First and foremost, why is your online reputation being called into question? Did you or your company do something to upset an employee, customer, competitor? If so, are their online actions now having a negative impact on both you and your small business? If so, have you addressed the problem, plan to address it, or will essentially ignore it? Know the facts before you react, meaning you lessen the chances of making things worse;

* How do we handle the problem? - How you respond to the problem will go a long way in determining whether or not it is met with success. If someone has spread misinformation about you or your company online, you always have the option of a lawsuit. If the information is true but still damaging, you have the ability to find a reputation protection consultant and/or firm that will help you in restoring and protecting your reputation going forward. Should you decide to seek out help, make sure you do some investigation into who you may hire, making sure that both their services and costs meet your needs;

* Promote yourself and your company - While you should always be finding good things to say about your company, those needs become even more pressing when you are trying to fight negative online information. Turn to things like blog posts, testimonials from some of your best customers, press releases touting the positives about your business, and anything else that speaks highly of you and your company. As the information is put out there, it will help you and your company climb the search engine rankings as people search for you. As the positive information goes higher up in the rankings, the negative details will drop lower, making them harder to find when people search for you and/or your business;

* Protect yourself going forward - Finally, what lessons are to be learned from a bad online reputation? You should definitely focus in on reviewing both your name and your company’s name on a regular basis. Check your social media engagements on sites like Facebook and Twitter, looking for an abnormalities that could lead to harming your online reputation. The same should hold true with online forums, which you should note need to be monitored to see if your name/company name are coming up in a negative manner.

If you have never had a problem over time with your online reputation, keep in mind that it can happen at any moment.

The question is, will you be prepared if it does? If not, you may find more than your reputation at stake.


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