Many things factor into a business’s overall success, including profit margins, retention rates and the effectiveness of its products or services. One of the most important things is your business’s public face and reputation. Without that, your products and services won’t matter as much and it will be more difficult to retain employees and generate profits. Here are four reasons your business’s public reputation is crucial to its success.
1. A good reputation makes customers more receptive
When you run a business, particularly one that is reliant on repeat customers, it’s important to find ways to ensure your customers feel receptive to changes you’re planning to implement or are in the process of implementing. Change can make people nervous, but if you have a positive public reputation or a reputation for being steady and having experience with change, your customers are more likely to be receptive when you announce new changes. For example, if your business is transitioning from utilizing invoice factoring to asset based lending, your customers will be more willing to trust that the transition will be relatively streamlined if you’ve already proven yourself in times of change.
2. You can better manage expectations and changing attitudes
Your public reputation hinges on several aspects of your business practices and interactions with customers and investors. These things can be affected by internal and external changes, some of which may be entirely out of your control. You need to be prepared to deal with these changes and manage your customers’ reactions and expectations. If, for example, a product needs to be recalled, you’ll do a better job of managing the blowback if you already have a robust public relations department. This risk increases the longer your business has existed. Older businesses need to weather not only immediate issues but the changing attitudes of customers and society as a whole over time.
3. It will help you legitimize your business
To feel comfortable interacting with and purchasing from your business, customers need to be aware of your brand and reputation as well as your offerings. They can’t achieve familiarity if you don’t already have a public reputation. Not having a reputation, or not having an easily-accessible reputation, can result in people not knowing about your business or being concerned that your business isn’t legitimate. When you take the time to determine your target market and the best ways to create and foster exposure of your brand, company values and products or services, you’ll be more likely to attract the types of prospects you want to turn into customers. This typically results in a domino effect where the more people become aware of your company, the more they’ll spread that awareness. Then more people will learn about your company and continue to spread the word.
4. It provides a good base for expanding your brand
Not only do you need to ensure your business has a reputation for steadiness in times of change, but you also need to reassure them when you plan to expand your business. Times of expansion are also times of stress for your business and your customers, with the added weight of reputation transfer. Reputation transfer refers to attempting to expand your existing reputation across a new product, department or subsidiary. If you already have a good reputation with your customers, your company is more likely to transfer its reputation to a new entity or offering successfully.
You need to strike a careful balance in your public relations and reputation management where you maintain a positive image but don’t overdo it. You need to keep your eye on people’s attitudes toward your company and adjust accordingly.