Watch your reputation, they become your truth!

Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. Author: Lao Tzu



An appropriate quote by ancient Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu to open the conversation about your online reputation.

In an article by small biz trends, the author speaks about the small business online reputation and how it is of the utmost importance to not only your success by your mere survival in the age of internet.

Why online reputation matters to small business speaks about the importance of minding what people and customers are saying about you online.

Since you can not realistic control what others are saying about your business, you should work just as diligently to ensure that coupled with every undesirable statement is an effectively favorable statement by your customers.

In our previous article, Is Yelp doing a number on your shop, we discussed how customers are flocking to the internet much more than before to not only find discounts on services but just as much, reviews and comments about companies. We should also note that the forward thinking business owner should work just as hard to make sure that what customers are reading about them is not only true but written by real customers of their business.

In discussing your online reputation and how social media and the internet plays a great part of it, it must be noted that the idea of word of mouth has morphed. Word of mouth has gone from local to global, enough so to be coined Word Of Mouth 2.0. Word of Mouth 2.0 better defines review sites that function as online platforms for customer opinions, dissatisfaction and many times, grievances. In light of this, word of mouth is not always positive.

Our research shows that most customers that are satisfied with your services, again, will less likely run to a site to review or write a positive statement about your company. But the angry, dissatisfied, irate customers starts tweeting, blogging, facebooking sometimes while they're still IN your shop. These customers immediately initiate a chain of negative opinions about their dissatisfaction to their friends, family members and any one with access to the world wide web.

This new phenomena is hurting a lot of businesses. The concern is not so much about old established customers but new and/or newer customers that know nothing about your business and are looking to make a decision between you and your competitors. These are the potential customers that you will lose to negative reviews online and the crushing loss that retards business growths.

What then can be done about your online reputation?

Promote yourself!

We advise most business owners to start with a basic website. It always amaze me that a business owner who deals with a savvy public and generates revenues between $80,000 to over $500,000 a year does not have the most basic tool in the arsenal to combat and highlight their business's strength.

A website from start to finish can run you as low as $190 one-time fee plus an addition $10 - $15 per month, with a reputable hosting company. You can easily find a company on Craigslist or a freelance site to handle building you a website for extremely low price.

It is NOT expensive at all and to not have it, will not only be astronomically expensive for your company but irresponsible as a business owner. So in summary, the total amount of money you'd spend to safeguard your online reputation is roughly less than $350 per year. Ignore that basic fact and your online reputation can cost you that amount per week in loss business. You do the math!

The bare minimum to weather the storm

Website & Hosting - $190 One-time Plus $15 per month
Facebook.com - Free
Twitter.com - Free
LinkedIn.com - Free Basic service
Wheeoo.com - Free & possibly your most important source*
Google Adsense - Low manageable cost
SEO Services - Low manageable cost
Yelp.com - ? see article

It is time that small business owners recognize that the internet, like television in the era of radio dominance, is here to stay. Do your homework.
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