When you are busy getting started in your own business how much does it matter how you look when someone googles you.
Turns out – a lot.
I asked veteran startup mentor, executive, blogger, author, tech professional, and Angel investor, Martin Zwililng just what a big deal online reputation is for new start ups.
Martin is the founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides products and services to startup founders and small business owners. The author of Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur? and Attracting an Angel, he writes a daily blog for entrepreneurs and dispenses advice on the subject of startups.
Here’s some questions i put to him – and his answers
Elite Reputations: Please tell me what does Startup Professionals Inc do?
Martin Zwililng: Our mission is to help entrepreneurs and startups succeed. We provide assistance to founders in finding business ideas, funding, executive mentoring, and business networking to incorporate a business, file patents, add an advisory board, and address operational issues
E.R. Do you think actively managing your reputation is more important now than it was say five years ago? Why, why not?
M.Z. Yes. Customers are becoming more and more interactive online, due to social media, and the pervasiveness of the Internet. They are not afraid to post their views and experiences, and they rely more and more on the posted experiences of others before them in every buying decision.
E.R. Do you have any clients for who reputation management has really helped. Can you tell me their story?
M.Z Not directly. Yet I was deeply impacted on the serious consequences on some major brands a few years ago, like United Airlines in the United Breaks Guitars incident. United Airlines simply was paying no attention to Internet chatter, and had done nothing to build a positive reputation there until the first big negative. Then it was too late. With a startup, this kind of a mistake can be fatal.
E.R. Do you have any advice to entrepreneurs around this topic?
M.Z.Thus my advice is not to wait for that first negative to set your reputation. Get your positives out there first, to balance out any negatives, and respond non-defensively to all potentially negative comments to show you care. See my recent article on Entrepreneur Inc for more specifics: