Warren Buffet once said that:
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
Twenty years sounds like quite a long time. So how exactly do you go about building a great reputation, and why is it so important?
Well, to answer the second question, reputation is the cheapest form of advertising. By simply satisfying customers, they will advertise for you through word of mouth. This is the most powerful form of advertising. Surely a word of recommendation from a close friend is worth more than a Google ad. Once you have secured a good reputation, you have a tool that costs you nothing, yet it’s usually significantly more effective than traditional advertisement.
So what exactly is a good reputation? The answer will vary, depending on the business. If your getting an expensive new Porsche, you will expect perfect quality. If you’re buying a cheap Kia, low prices will be more important. If you’re a company that offers a service, rather than a product, good manners and effective customer service are the key.
You may be saying to yourself, that’s great, but I’m a new business, that’s lacking both customers and a reputation. What do I do?
First off, if you have a large budget, a powerful advertising campaign should be effective. When consumers see that a company has made a massive investment in advertising, such a commercial on the SuperBowel, this automatically puts a thought in their minds about your company. “If this new company I have never heard of is advertising on the SuperBowel, they must be serious.” This is the fast track towards building a reputation. However, if you don’t have a few million lying around in the piggy bank, you still have options. Read on!
Nothing builds a reputation faster than keeping promises. Have you ever called your service providers customer service only to be told that they will get back to you? Thing is, 9 times out of 10, they don’t call you back. Now, imagine if they told you they would call back within the hour and actually kept to their word. Wouldn’t you be impressed? Richard Branson once said
While a good reputation precedes you, a bad reputation will follow you for a long time.
This is absolutely true. Make promises and live up to them. Of course, if keeping promises sound too easy, you can take it a step further by over delivering. Make a promise and over deliver. everyone likes a good surprise.
Acting Like a Pro
It doesn’t matter how big or small your budget is. Always look and act like a professional. Simple things can go very far indeed. Dress smartly, talk in a respective manner and keep your temper in check. Make sure though to use this mindset throughout the entire company. If for instance your photoshop skills aren’t up to scratch, don’t do your social media graphics yourself. Get a pro to do it for you. These days, you can hire a professional graphic designer on Fiverr for as little as $5. So there really isn’t any excuse. You need to set a high standard throughout your company. Don’t confuse high standard with expensive. If your clever and creative these things don’t need to cost you an arm and a leg.