Posted: Thu 18th Aug 2016
When it comes to business, it's not who you know, it's what they think about you that counts. Alexis Liming, Enterprise Nation's chief operating officer, draws on his experience with Enterprise Nation and brands like Virgin to help you build and manage your business reputation.
Regardless of size, the success of a business is underpinned by its reputation. I like to think about it as 'brand' being the theory and 'reputation' being the practice.
When you build your brand, you are setting out how you want to be perceived. Your reputation is the opinions and beliefs that people actually hold about you and your business based on the actions you take in executing your brand strategy.
Enterprise Nation has covered in a number of events, masterclasses and content how digital platforms and tools such as search and social media have made it a lot easier to be 'discovered', but reputation is what turns discovery in to business.
These same digital platforms have also dramatically increase the sources from which a reputation is built; blogs, reviews, comments and even volume of likes or retweets all now form part of your reputation.
That means a big part of building a successful business is now 'reputation management'; making sure you are aware of what is being said about you and undertaking actions to influence your reputation.
There are lots of ways to approach reputation management, but at its most fundamental it is about human qualities of integrity, honesty, reliability and exceeding expectations i.e. building your business based on relationships rather than transactions.
Here are a few of my top tips on building and managing your reputation:
Build credibility: Become an authority on what you do, deliver what you promise and then some!
Be reliable, be responsive: Communication is key. Choose a few channels you will focus on and respond quickly and effectively. It's about a series of quality conversations, not shouting at a crowd. Make it easy for people to contact you; ensure your contact details visible
Offer value: This doesn't mean being cheap, it's about understanding what your customers value and focusing on that. It might be price, it might be something else
Respect privacy: Your customers trust you with the personal information so make sure you have the safeguards in place to protect it.
Keep up with tech: Use digital tools to help your business. Keep up with the basics like a fresh and simple website, emails that look good and use the tech your customers use
Do good: If you have something you care about, consider how you can use your skills to help a cause
Know who's who: Whether it's a little black book, or a sophisticated CRM system, have a system for keeping track of the important people; influencers, press, engaged customers, mentors and engage with them regularly
Want to know more about reputation building? Join my session, How to build your reputation as a small business owner, at Designers Fiesta on 16 September at Hackney Picturehouse, London.
Can't make it? If you're an Enterprise Nation Classic member, there are loads of resources to help you build and manage your reputation including these four fab masterclasses:
ï¿¼Not a Classic member? Joining takes two minutes and costs just Â£30 + VAT for a whole year.
Image credit: Rebecca Chivers Media