How Important is Your Online Reputation as a Solo Entrepreneur?
How important is your online reputation when you’re not a big brand or a local business? I’ve often told people that your online reputation is practically written in stone. Once someone says something about you on the internet, it’s there. And in almost all cases, it’s not going anywhere. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter. The downside of the “everyone gets a seat at the table” nature of the internet is that even dishonest and vindictive people get to be heard by everyone.
On the bright side, if you build a good online reputation, it can become tangible equity for you as a small business owner or solo entrepreneur. Sure, your accountant probably won’t add it to their balance sheet. But, the fact remains that position online reviews make your business much more valuable because they give you the power to attract more customers in the future. This fits my definition of business equity: something which has the power to produce ongoing income for you in the future.
This is why I often tell people that if you’re going to invest in something, make it your online reputation. This is especially important when you’re starting out and don’t have a lot of money to invest in marketing. Make it your primary focus to get real customer reviews, endorsements, and testimonials published in places where:
- Your reviews can be verified as coming from real people.
- Your prospective customers can easily find them.
For example, collecting and publishing reviews on your website is good. But, you should also have reviews, endorsements, and testimonials published on a place like your LinkedIn Profile, your Google Business Listing, your Facebook Page, and/or your Amazon Author Profile.
Depending on your type of business, some of these websites might be more important than others and therefore deserve more of your attention. But, you should treat every online review as either a long-term asset or a long term liability for your online business reputation. No matter what kind of business you’re running.
Finally, remember that your non-business related actions can also affect your online business reputation. If you piss someone off on social media, or even via email communication, remember that they might be the type of blood-thirsty person who will take it out on you by leaving a horrible “review” about your product or service…even if they’ve never done business with you. I’ve had this happen a few times and had to dispute it with the website where the review was published.
Never assume that the website will be fair and remove the review. Even if they KNOW it wasn’t written by one of your customers. Guard your online reputation and make every effort to get positive, verifiable reviews, endorsements, and testimonials published about your product or service. Your efforts will pay for themselves many times over.
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- Vegan Diet: Day 103.
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