I live in a small town. It is hard to keep things “under wraps”. People talk, everything is known to everyone. People know people who know people. Stories travel far and fast. Reputation and fame do precede you. But if you think about it, industries are very much like much like small towns. How many people do you know in your industry? How many stories do you hear and share with others?
With this in mind, I want to talk about reputation. Some people don’t really care about what others think of them so they go ahead and make their choices. This is great for making yourself unique and exploiting those traits that make you different from the rest. I applaud and commend that. The problem, however, arises when the choices you make give you a negative reputation. It could be because of your work ethics, the way you handle issues, the way you treat others or even the way you treat yourself.
A bad reputation is bad for business. It is stating the obvious to say that it is bad to have a poor reputation in the eyes of your customers. Now, having now said the obvious (again), I want to talk about the consequences of having a bad reputation among your peers and colleagues in your industry. Creating a bad name for yourself, for whatever reason, will negatively impact you and your business in more ways than one (that one being lower sales and negative PR). It will make qualified, smart, job-seekers to think twice before applying to join your company. It will make vendors and service providers reluctant to do business with you. It will make your competitors less likely to have a cordial relationship with you.
A successful business is the result of a symbiotic relationship between several players interacting together in harmony. If you have a bad reputation as a company (or individual) staff, customers, competitors, and vendors will become weary of you and they will alienate you, sometimes sooner rather than later. You will stand alone and you cannot succeed in business alone.
So, whether you care or not what others think about you at a personal level is, at the end of the day, your decision to make. But when we are talking business you should always care what other are saying about you. And you should care a lot.