Successful entrepreneurship is built on a few things. Chief among them are the novelty and demand for your offering and the reputation of your name. For SMEs, that means your brand’s name, the clout it holds, and the founder’s/CEO’s reputation.
Trust is the most valuable currency entrepreneurs and businesses have.
Although it takes a long time to build name equity (how trusted you are within your industry), achieving it is simple…
Just do exactly what you said you would. Follow through.
Building Your Name Equity
It takes many years to build value into YOUR name as an entrepreneur. And the only lasting way of establishing that desired name equity is by doing what you said you would, always.
In the end, and I can guarantee this, how much money you make, the number of deals you close, and your business’ overall value will be directly tied to how well you keep YOUR WORD.
Regrettably, many entrepreneurs have a hard time keeping their word. But it’s not always intentional. In fact, it rarely is from my experience. Entrepreneurs break their word for several reasons — forgetfulness and a busy schedule being the main two. However, as the saying goes, excuses are cheap, and once you break your word, that mark sticks, for a long time. Customers never forget, and they talk.
So, you need to build a system and process to ensure your word is kept.
Protecting Your Greatest Asset
Your reputation is the greatest asset you have. It serves as a regulator, determines your margins, revenues, and growth trajectory. It’s everything you got, frankly.
People want to do business with someone who follows through. Stick-to-itiveness is attractive. A company that routinely comes through with predictable results is highly sought after and receives higher multiples from a valuation perspective.
Here are a few practices that will help with keeping your word as an entrepreneur:
1. Block out 1-2 hours per day in your schedule for customer follow up, account management, reviews, and schedule times for complicated fixes — be it dealing with returns, product failures, etc.
2. Create an obsessive company culture that puts the customers first. It sounds generic and should be well-known, yet it is rarely followed.
Such a culture naturally generates new leads while also improving customer retention levels. Word of this type of corporate culture travels fast.
3. Complaints should be dealt with yesterday. Impressively quick response times set companies apart. However, they are challenging to achieve because it means, at least in the early days when budgets are tight, that your schedule can change on the whim of a customer. Eventually, you will want to hire at least a couple of people dedicated to instant problem solving for customers.
According to Super Office, “CMO council found that the most important attribute of a good customer experience, according to the customers’ themselves, is a fast response time.”
The article continued, “According to our own research of 1,000 companies, the average response time to respond to customer service requests is 12 hours and 10 minutes. That’s too long!”
That’s the average, and you never want to be average.
So, knowing that response time is most important to customers, and that the average business takes about 12 hours to respond, how do you set yourself apart? Simple, respond within an hour. Be religious about it. You do this, and your business will excel.
4. Lastly, proactively seek out problems. Don’t hesitate to ask customers/clients directly how you can make your offering better, without coming off as unconfident. No customer likes an unsure entrepreneur, but they all love a caring one.
Keep your word. Create a company culture that enshrines that mantra. Do it for your customers and to grow your business, but most importantly, do it for yourself.
PS – Entrepreneurship requires commitment and creativity. Let me share my insights that may help you along the way. Only my best content will land in your inbox. Subscribe to my free newsletter below.