career management, Careers, entrepreneurs, Personal Branding, self employed

Maintain Your Reputation – Grow Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | December 10th, 2009

Are you vigilant about maintaining your personal brand, your reputation?  It’s easy to become lax when you are established or feel that you have made a name for yourself in your field. This could be a costly mistake for your business and your career. Let’s take the example of Zagat’s or Michelin Guides. They come out every year and rate restaurants, resorts, hotels, and inns. The yearly review process ensures that these establishments keep on top of their game providing their customers with the same high level of service that earned them high reviews. With the advent of internet based guides that provide updated reviews daily the bar just keeps getting higher.

When was the last time you took a look at how you were doing with your customers, clients or bosses? How can you be sure that you are at the top of your game and earning the same or better reviews than in the past? Given the difficult economic environment we are in today this might be a great time to let your customers, clients and bosses know that you are looking to improve the service or job you do for them.

1. Ask for feedback.

Simply ask your clients or bosses for ways in which you can improve what you do for them. People are generally flattered when they are asked to provide input and impressed when that input is for their benefit. Ask questions that focus on the work product or service you delivered – it’s timeliness, benefit or value to them, what was great, what was missing, what they enjoyed about the experience, what they would like to see in the future, what if anything could be improved upon. I know I started this paragraph with the word simply. I know how hard it is for most people to accept constructive criticism or advice but the future health of your business or career is at stake so ask and learn.

2. Keep current and up to date in your field.

Always look for new methods, products, or technologies that would enhance the service you provide or the work you do and make sure to incorporate them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of the same old same old but adopting new methods make you more competitive and may even improve the work you do. Re-energizing the way you do things often reinvigorates your relationship to your customers, clients, and bosses.

3. Treat each project, customer, or client as if it’s the first time.

Whether this is an old client or a task you have completed many times before, treating it or them as if it’s the first time keeps your eyes and mind fresh and open to new ideas. Additionally, it’s easy to take old relationships for granted. Don’t. Everyone expects the best service or work you can provide so make sure you meet their expectations.

Use this time of year to make some assessments and make the changes you need to grow professionally. Carefully watch and maintain your brand reputation because once it is damaged recovery takes a long time.