Reputation can be everything to a business, but entrepreneurs in particular especially depend on keeping a solid, positive reputation. Word spreads fast, and a few simple mistakes can ruin a good name that’s been built through many years of hard work. If you’re wondering how to improve the reputation of your small business, try the following tips:
Maintain a social media presence
Social media is a key tool for small businesses to build their reputation. Often, your social media accounts are the first thing potential customers see when they Google your business name. Maintain your social media accounts by regularly posting interesting content and by engaging with your customers. Don’t ignore customer complaints posted to your social media pages, as these comments will often be public – potential customers will look for your replies, and if they see a lack of response from you, they may be more hesitant to do business with you. You might also like to run ‘tag-a-friend’ competitions to spread the word of your generosity and fun social media presence, to get more people involved with your business.
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Do what you promise to do
No matter what service your business offers, you should always uphold your promises. If you have a motto or a slogan, make every effort to stick to it. Make it clear to your customers what they can expect from you – and, if you can, exceed these expectations. This will keep your customers coming back – and if your service is truly excellent, they’ll likely recommend their friends and family about your business.
Leave a legacy
Discerning potential buyers, investors, and customers will investigate your business to see whether you are known for positive values. Take the time to consider how environmental values might help your business. Environmentalism is an important cause to many people in today’s world, and if you can show that your business upholds strong environmental values, potential customers will see you in a favorable light. Why not work with other businesses that can help you minimize your waste and recycle as much as possible?
Always respond graciously to difficult customers
It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to respond graciously to difficult customers. Train your team to stay calm when faced with difficult situations, and word will spread that your staff are compassionate, competent, rational. Staff behavior will help the overall reputation of your business, as nobody wants to deal with rude or difficult staff.
You must also encourage your employees to act professionally around each other, especially if they routinely interact in front of customers. The last thing you need is for a customer to complain about the inappropriate way your employees were acting in front of him or her.
Ask for reviews
Navigating online review websites can be both fulfilling and painful, depending on the kind of comments and feedback you are receiving. You can’t control exactly what people say about your business online, but you could ask satisfied customers if they could leave a review after you’ve done a great job.
Have cards printed with the name and address of your business where customers can write something positive about you, and hand them out when you know you’ve done well. You might also like to ask them to provide a short, written testimony that you can display on your website.
Help out in the community
Attaching your business’ name to community events is one of the quickest ways for locals to recognize and appreciate your contribution, and to view your business as part of their own community.
You could represent your business and help out at events such as school fairs or local fundraisers once in a while. At such events, you could get uniforms or even event gazebos printed with your company name and hand out small promotional materials.
A good reputation is exceedingly important for a small business. Make sure yours is positive by making an active effort to create and maintain a reputation of dedication, compassion, generosity, and excellence with both your existing customers and your wider community.
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