Business and Reputation
Richard Branson was quoted to have said "In business, all you have is your reputation, therefore it is important to keep your word".
This quote resonated with me so much, especially when thinking about how I conduct my day to day business affairs.
Reputation is what people think of your business.
How did they feel when they interacted with your company, brand and/or values?
Did you fulfil your end of the bargain during the trade/exchange?
Did you provide excellent customer service?
Did you go the extra mile?
Did you resolve issues effectively?
What was your attitude?
Were you approachable, positive, compassionate, honest?
Did you call back when you said you were going to call back?
Nowadays, the integrity of our word is not valued and cherished like it used to be in times past.
I have been informed, that in the days of old, business was conducted with a verbal promise and a handshake. This token was honoured, because people understood the value of their words and promises. However, as time went on, it would appear that reliance upon verbal integrity eroded away, highlighted by the fact that security and background checks have become more and more rigorous - for example, when trying to apply for a loan.
What we have to remember is, that when we conduct business, it may take months, years, decades, centuries, even a lifetime to build up trust, but merely a second to lose it. Our reputation is all we have. All businesses will come up against challenges and obstacles, but it is how we as leaders, managers and business owners resolve these issues in the least damaging way.
This is an important principle that I stand by in my businesses, if I say I am going to do something - then I will do it, and even if I can no longer complete it because something urgent or pressing comes up, then I will ensure that I inform all parties involved as to why there has been a change of plan with a view to reschedule if possible.
I scream inside when looking back on all the times when I haven't been true to my word, and how it must have come across to people as very unreliable and untrustworthy. It makes you realise how important it is to be sparing with our words - because if we know we can't fulfil a promise, then we really shouldn't be making it at all.
This principle should stand not only in our business affairs, but in our personal affairs too. It should be a way of life, it should be an intentional habit, that our yes is our 'yes' and our no is our 'no'.
Double mindedness is not a good trait to be operating in, we need to be firm with our integrity.