Sunday, November 13, 2016

"About That Reputation We Work So Hard On ..."

Most of us are quite concerned about our personal reputation, and for those who are sole practitioners, that's the same as the reputation of the business. Even for larger businesses, the primary face of the business - the owner, partner, manager, or the one people see all of the time in the field - is the one to whom the reputation of the business is directly tied.

Reputation is important for connecting with a potential client in a way that helps to establish trust, credibility, and confidence - three vital areas of concern for both the aging-in-place provider and the client. If the client cannot be reasonably satisfied or assured that they are going to be getting a reputable provider - regardless of the amount the are spending for solutions or products - they may not agree to have the work done.

Ultimately, this hurts everyone when someone violates the public's trust by having a reputation that is not solid. it reflects on all of us who have worked diligently to achieve a solid reputation by honoring our commitments and respecting the client.

It doesn't take much to throw the balance toward the skeptical end and have our reputations come into question. We work hard to establish that reputation, and little things like forgetting to include an important detail, cutting corners "just this once," using someone on the job who is not up to the task because we got into a bind and felt we needed to use that person even though we knew better, and looking the other way on something questionable are clear paths to eroding that reputation.

Other things that may seem less obvious that don't occur on the jobsite can impact our reputation also. Take erratic or aggressive driving on the freeway in a company vehicle, being abusive to personnel at the lumber yard, being loud and demanding while ordering coffee or lunch at a fastfood restaurant, or posting questionable content or photos on personal social media pages. When we are the face of our business, there is no such thing as a totally private life except within the confines of our home. Someone is always capable of watching or noticing what we are doing and then associating that conduct or expression with our business They don't see the distinction, and we must learn to view it that way also.

Anytime we are tempted to do something when we think no one will ever know or that no one is watching - or because we rationalize to ourselves that "it'll be OK just this once" - we should think again and not do it. This is not a healthy or prudent way to protect a reputation. All it takes is one serious breach of the public's trust - or a series of a few smaller ones that accumulate. We work too hard to establish a good reputation. We must work even harder and more diligently at maintaining it. It's that important to our success and to the peace-of-mind of those we serve.

A good reputation is what a successful business is built upon, and a weak or sullied reputation is what will sink a business - regardless of all the good that has been done up to that point.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, C.E.A.C., MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.