As an entrepreneur you know how important it is to build a good reputation for yourself. Of course knowing it and actually doing it are two separate things. So how do you build the best possible reputation for your business?
Start With Yourself
Make sure that your personal information is secure. This is going to take some work. You’ll have to get yourself removed from the databases of data brokers like Intellius and Spokeo. It’s also a good idea to pay a visit to your County Clerk’s office and ask what steps you have to take to privatize your address, phone number, social security number, etc (and then follow those steps).
On a personal note: Taking steps to check out your county clerk records and credit reports is great but the only way to truly know and make sure that the background check information on you is accurate is to run one on yourself.
It’s what I had to do and it turned out to be incredibly helpful. By running my background check I was able to get a clear picture of exactly what personal information of mine is available to clients, investors, and public organizations.
Separate the Business from the Personal
Set up professional social media profiles that you can leave open to the public. Then go through your personal social media accounts and turn the privacy settings all the way up. Send messages to friends and family asking them to only tag your personal accounts in the photos or updates they post.
Run a Google Search
What comes up when you type in your name? What comes up when you type in your business’s name? Make sure that the things that come up are accurate representations of you and your company. If you spot anything negative or untrue, take steps to correct those things.
When dealing with negative feedback, stay as positive as possible. Thank the person for the honest review and look into the issues they raise. If the issues they raise are legitimate and require your attention make sure things get fixed. Keep the person in the loop (as publicly as he or she will allow) in order to improve the impression the person has of you. When others see that you’re positive and respectful to people who disagree they’ll trust you more and be less likely to levy criticism in your direction.
When dealing with false rumors, your best bet is not to engage the poster of those rumors directly. Instead use your own blog and social media accounts to talk about the false statements and to offer up proof that proves the rumors untrue. The people who follow and trust you will spread the word on your behalf.
NOTE: If the rumors are malicious and designed to seriously damage you and your company (as opposed to obvious trolling), talk to your lawyers about legal action.
Keep Up With It
Checking out your reputation isn’t something you can get away with doing once every six months or so. It’s better to run small daily checks and deeper background/reputation checks at least a couple of times a month. If you aren’t sure whether you can keep up with this demand, it might be worth looking into hiring someone to stay on top of it for you.
Remember: In the business world, you are only worth what people think of you. Make sure they only think the best!