Clients come and go. Money comes and goes. Successes and failures pass by, sometimes their impact only barely felt. What matters more than anything is reputation. Reputation is what makes sure that the clients, money, and success keep coming in the future, too. But when you first start out and your operation is a smaller one, you don’t have much of a rep to speak of. How do you change that?
Know some people
Your rep is created by getting people to know you. Doing good work for clients is all well and good, but they aren’t the only people you should be focusing on. You should also look at the partnerships and the links you can create through networking. Contribute to discussions, attend events, shake hands, and make deals out there on the road. You’ll start creating a broader network in your area that knows you’re worth knowing. This leads to more referrals, but it also leads to having others who can vouch for you when a potential client or customer is unsure.
Have time for them
You are the person in charge of your professional image. If you don’t have the time to give to it, it’s not going to improve and you’ll become a more obscure figure in your industry. One of the contributing factors to this risk is a lack of time. If you spend all day dealing with admin work and trying to keep on top of your schedule, you won’t have the time to write back to an inquiring email or pick up the phone to answer a client. Virtual assistants like those at http://web.timeetc.co.uk can help small business owners free up a lot of their time to do just that.
Be bigger than you are
A bit of bluster and swagger can go a long way, too. Some people won’t give a business that looks smaller the time of day. A home address, a lack of formal business manners, a low-quality site, they are all vulnerabilities. But you can overcome them. Services like https://www.hoxtonmix.com can help you establish a real business address to give your brand some prestige. You can direct some of your returns back into investing in a real site that speaks positively about your professionalism. You might even want to consider printing business cards that don’t out you as the business owner, so it doesn’t look like the head of the whole business is always on the front lines.
Keep an ear to the ground
Your image isn’t just affected by what you do, of course. It’s also shaped by how people react online. But you have some influence to use in that field. For one, request positive feedback from those who are happy with your work. Ask for testimonials or that they leave positive reviews on the appropriate sites. You might even have some cards to play against those who are leaving negative feedback online. While you should address any real concerns they bring up and try to build off them, teams like https://purereputation.co.uk can help scrub the net of any untrue or outdated negative information about the business.
Reputation is everything, but don’t try to create a hollow one. Do the work, fulfil your brand promise, and live up to the reputation you create. Otherwise, it won’t take much more than a light breeze to blow it over.