I was delighted to give a presentation on the importance of reputation in business at a recent NRG Networking Group meeting in Fermoy.
The worlds of marketing and public relations often intertwine but, fundamentally, marketing is concerned with the promotion of goods and services. PR is more focused on the bigger picture – the brand, image and message of a business, in essence, the management of reputation.
When I asked the group how many had recently googled their businesses, very few had. It surprised me, but on the other hand, when you are the owner of a small business, you are your business. Both of your reputations are intertwined and it is almost impossible for one to operate independently of the other.
As the old saying goes ‘What other people think of you, is none of your business’ but, of course, in business, it absolutely is your business! That doesn’t make it any easier to hear and accept critique, though- which can often be interpreted as criticism when we are personally invested in a business – which we always are when self-employed.
Imagine how useful it would be though, to know what your customers like, what they want, what you could do better. Imagine how much you could improve your customers experience if you knew what worked and what was important. As a small business, our reputation and service are often the only things that enable us to remain viable and compete, especially in this era of online shopping and increasing multi-national competitors.
As a local business, you ignore your reputation at your peril. If you don’t conduct local market research, that too could be to your detriment. So, make it part of your business plan to take some time to ‘step outside the building’ every few months. And, Google yourself – often.
Reputation is important, mind it and it will mind you!
Want to hear more? Read my previous blog on Corporate Reputation.
Karen Twomey is a freelance public relations consultant with www.communicationshub.ie based in Fermoy, Co Cork.