Reputation matters more than any other aspect of business.
Well think on – 90 per cent of businesses that suffer a loss of data go out of business within 18 months.
Why? Because no one trusts them anymore. Their reputation is shattered.
Customers (and maybe suppliers and other contacts) run for the hills and keep on running if you let them down and appear untrustworthy.
So how can you ramp up your reputation in order to build your business and use it to fight back if things go wrong?
Let’s compare it to the long-established way to measure earth tremors – the Richter scale devised by physicist Charles Richter in 1935.
The Richter scale is a seismogram, which means waves ripple out from an epicentre rather than a ladder leading upwards.
Reputation-wise, you need to think of the core as the most trustworthy, high value things you can possibly do. Then see the less crucial activity spread out to the margins.
So here are five ways to shape your reputation Richter scale:
1. On a blank piece of paper draw a big circle and add axis lines from top to bottom and horizontally.
2. Being as honest as possible on a scale of one to five (with five being closest to the epicentre), in the top left quadrant write down where you would list the following words in relation to how you feel other people view your business:
Honesty, Reliability, Knowledge, Skill, Integrity, Wisdom, Ethics, Profile.
3. In the top right quadrant, write down the characteristics that absolutely mean the most to you in your relationship with customers.
4. In the lower right quadrant – again with the most valuable attributes closest to the centre – write down the most valuable ways you regularly communicate with your best and closest customers.
5. In the lower left quadrant (again with the most valuable at the centre) list ways you can market your values and the way you do business.
As you fill the words in on your reputation Richter scale, you’ll soon see the top half is laden with high value characteristics that matter most to you and the people you do – or aspire to do – business with.
In the lower half, you’ll detect the methods that work best for you at present, so you can use more often to develop existing and build new relationships.
The challenge is to keep working at the things that matter most and work best – and phase in others that can lift your reputation take things even higher. You might also wish to demote the things that matter least.
Image and Reputation is the theme at May’s Business Media Club meeting on Friday, May 31 (9.45am-12.30pm) at the CGM Media Centre in Worcester.
You can also read our blog: Why reputation is crucial to your business.