Building a Good Reputation

prize pumpkin

CC image courtesy of Ivy Dawned on Flickr

We all know where we like to shop and we all know where to go when we need advice about organising our complex 21st Century lives. We go to people with a good reputation, people we can trust. We buy brands that mean quality, reliability, safety and satisfaction.

How do we know about a product or service? The Internet has helped this process of discernment enormously. If I’m invited out to a restaurant that I’ve never been to before, I don’t just ask friends and family what they think, I go on-line and check out the gossip. The same is true of your business. I always say treat people with respect, everyone you meet – you never know who they are or how they may impact on your life in the future.

Apart from the obvious concept that integrity and respect underpin relationships that are constructive, positive and enduring. To me business is about building relationships and we all have an inbuilt bullshit detector. I remember once being encouraged to buy a huge box of frozen prawn kebabs out of the back of a van by a very keen and pushy young man. I found it difficult to say ‘no’ and ended up buying a box with my neighbour. Now that young man may have made a sale but the experience put me off prawn kebabs for life.

We appreciate a straight talker and someone who is selling something they believe in. Unlike traditional business advisors I never recommend pretending to be a customer to find out about your competitors. I have found that a successful business run by someone who is secure and passionate about whatever it is – will be hard to shut up and often extremely generous with information and advice….the worst that can happen is that they don’t want to talk to you. That’s fine – no harm done.

One man I coached called the first competitor he came to in the Yellow Pages – it turned out that this person was looking for a business partner as he had so much work.  The rest is history – the two men have been working together happily and profitable for the last 2 years.  Now if the client had pretended to be a customer he wouldn’t have had the break that got him started…

Anne Francis

Anne Francis

Anne set up her first business in 1985. She currently runs Carnival Consulting specialising in socially motivated business support and a fitness company Dance Fitness Norfolk. She regularly contributes to local media, is a former ambassador for Norwich Lanes, a Princes Trust mentor and was on the committee of FSB for several years.
Anne Francis

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3 Responses to Building a Good Reputation

  1. Angie Giles December 14, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    excellent post Anne, so true!

  2. IvyDawned January 12, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    I am glad you were able to use my pumpkin picture. Please feel free to use any of my images for your articles. All that is necessary is to link the image itself back to the image you are using, in this case http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivydawned/2961329673/ If would also be especially excellent if you would kindly specify that the image is used through Creative Commons license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

    Also, maybe your readers would like to help tag some more of my images so that people such as yourself can find them more easily. It’s a cinch. http://www.wikihow.com/Tag-Other-People's-Images-in-Flickr

    • Editor January 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

      Ivy thanks for the tips on how to better attribute images. We’re now using your advice on all the CC images we use!

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