The world of small business is enormously liberating. But it can also be fiercely competitive. In an era where consumers are getting more and more fickle, most small businesses know that they can never afford to rest on their laurels. They must constantly strive for innovation, must never cease in their relentless pursuit of quality. They know that they can never close their ears to their customers’ needs, meaning that market research is an ongoing process rather than a one and done exercise when developing their business. But when it comes to maintaining a competitive edge, all the product research and development, all the customer satisfaction surveys and all of your branding expertise will count for little if you can’t maintain your reputation.
In small business, reputation is everything. Your reputation helps you to stand out from your competitors and engenders trust in customers and clients. But whether it’s through employee misconduct, honest mistakes, or malicious false claims, every day you will come into contact with something or someone who could damage your small business’ reputation. In this case, it’s important to know your lines of defense…
It may not be fair, it may not be right but it’s likely at some point someone will make a claim against you. It may be a disgruntled employee, an angry customer or even a vengeful former shareholder. In any case it’s important to ensure that you have legal protection. Nobody is immune from wrongful claims. While we tend to see it mostly happen to public servants like teachers or police officers, see more from DuffyLawCt.com/federal-crimes/federal-police-misconduct, many spurious claims are made against those in the private sector, too. Ensuring that you have sterling legal counsel with experience in your industry is vital in ensuring your reputation.
Your Quality Control
If something goes wrong with one of your products, causing harm to a customer, it could wreak irreparable damage upon your reputation. Which is why your greatest weapon against a black mark on your reputation is your quality control infrastructure. Ensure that it is robust and comprehensive both now and as your operation expands and you’ll ensure that your products and your business are well regarded in an increasingly competitive market.
You are the face of your business. You are the one to whom your employees turn for guidance and the one to whom they look for leadership. It’s your example that sets the tone for every consumer facing facet of your business. As such your behavior needs to be absolutely unimpeachable at all times. However much the stresses of entrepreneurship may weigh upon you, if you conduct yourself with grace and calm, you’re far less likely to have nasty claims made against you.
Your employee training is vital in ensuring that the standards with which which your business is synonymous. But in the fast paced and extremely busy climate in which many small business operate, it’s understandable that some entrepreneurs do not relish the cost and disruption that training necessitates and so let it fall by the wayside. But make no mistake, to do this is to risk compromising your standards and allows for the possibility of damage to your reputation.
When your employees are well trained and motivated, your reputation is safe in their hands!