Why Reputation Matters
As we shift to a digital world where everyone "knows" everyone at least from their computer, reputation is everything. Warren Buffett said it the best when he said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently". That is so important when it comes to business. Especially if you are thinking about doing business in Pittsburgh. The goal should be to set out everyday to create raving fans out of your customers.
Pittsburgh is a very tight knit community. Word gets around very quickly about any good or bad experiences customers have with your business. Personally, I feel that reputation is more valuable than money now. Having a client or customer rave to their friends and colleagues about your service, or post about you online can literally generate 10s or 100s of potential new customers. It is a much better strategy to lose time or money on a transaction to show someone a great experience and potentially have 10 more customers from referrals, than it is to burn someone for one payday and lose that reputation forever.
A great reputation can get you in the door to places you want to be. Besides the fact that it is very easy to ask for someone's business after they have heard great things about you, having your name out in the community can be helpful for connections. This can stretch from businesses, to politics, to just a friend or vendor that can help in a time of need. Just because they know you and have high levels of respect for you, they make you a priority to help with your problems as you've done for others.
Just as a good reputation in Pittsburgh can take your business to the next level, a bad one can take it to $0. Word gets around quickly in the city in general, but add the internet and it's like a super germ! A few customers can destroy your reputation online with poor reviews, posting about their awful experience with you, or communicating with potential customers about how they should stay away from your business. This is very hard to come back from. It is difficult enough to acquire new customers in this very competitive game of business. There are companies with massive budgets that can get ahead. Reputation is one thing that can separate you from those big players.
Unfortunately, a lot of people think about the short term gains instead of the long term successes. All too often we witness a business that once they are paid, the service stops then. They don't go above and beyond to ensure the customer had a great experience, or help them even if it doesn't end up being profitable. Those extra steps where you don't make money, but make someone happy is what really creates that fantastic reputation for your business in Pittsburgh. That is the way a small business can separate itself from the large corporations that take over most of the market share.