Protecting your personal and business reputation, both online and offline, is critically important if you are starting a business. As an entrepreneur, all you really have is your reputation, and we’ll explain why.
Your business history tells a story of your capabilities (or lack thereof). Have you started numerous companies that didn’t last very long? Not good. Have you had a great track record in one or more businesses? Great!
Whatever your history may be, it will typically be available for all to see online in one way, shape, or form. So try to make sure that it is in good form.
A bad reputation concerns and can deter investors. Want new investors in your business? Want to keep the ones you have happy? Then carefully guard the reputation you do have.
Investors do their research and want to be associated with entrepreneurs who have clean reputations, who have been successful in the past, and whom they think will do right by their investment.
Customers watch your online reputation. According to Brafton.com, a full 89% of customers do their research online before making a purchase decision. Don’t let a poor online reputation prevent customers from pulling the trigger on your product or service.
Future employees don’t want to align with ill-reputed business owners. Who wants to work for an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a polished reputation? In a time when employees and investors alike have access to the same information about you, keeping your reputation clean is critically important. Don’t lose potential employees who can change the scope of your business in a positive way because of negative dealings.
Legal proceedings can severely impact your business. The perception around a business and an entrepreneur who has been involved in legal issues is usually negative, and very often litigation is public record, so be forewarned. Both investors and customers may be wary of working with you if you are associated with litigation, as these types of relationships are built on trust and respect, which legal dealings can mar.
Have a future business partner in mind? Make sure he or she will be interested by keeping your reputation intact. A future business partner will look at that in assessing whether or not to work with you, as they will understand that when you pitch to investors or try to win new business, people will be looking into both of your backgrounds.
One negative news report can beget many more. Media vultures are hungry for negative news. One negative story found about a business that might otherwise be doing well can turn into multiple negative stories and a bunch of links in search results about you that collectively imply a far worse story than there might have been to begin with.
In short, an entrepreneur’s reputation contains the data needed for many people you engage with on a daily basis to make decisions about working with you. Keep that reputation untarnished, and if it winds up being so for some reason, consider services like those of Reputation.com to help you to monitor and manage your online reputation. You only have one Google search to make a first impression. Make those search results shine!
Tell us how your online reputation won you business or helped you in a positive way!
Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from photography and the arts to online reputation management for Reputation.com.