Your Reputation Depends on This

What does integrity mean to you?

You’ve heard the word in the business world.

Integrity is many things – and it can be different for everyone depending on which side of the business relationship you are on.

Do you work in integrity?

If you aren’t sure, maybe it’s time for a check-in.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Do your clients trust you? Are they confident that you are working when you say you will? Or do they have trouble getting in touch with you during your business hours? Do they trust that you will deliver their work on deadline and within budget? Or do they constantly have to ask you where stuff is and keep track of what you are doing for them?

Are you getting referral business? If your clients are happy they will tell others. If they aren’t they won’t. Your reputation is one of the most important pieces of your business. Referrals are one of the best ways to grow your business. So, you can build your business simply by keeping your clients happy. How easy is that?

Is it all about the money for you? Let’s face it. Business is mainly about making money. Without money, you don’t have a business. And that’s not a good thing. But we are support professionals and so we must put the people first. The money will come when the people (i.e. clients) are happy. If you are only thinking about the money you will struggle in your business. Start by thinking how you can help people in THEIR business and the money will follow.

Are you being positive online? Or are you one of those people who complains about clients anywhere someone will listen? This is a huge issue I see in the social media forums where VAs hang out. Negativity breeds negativity. And you know what? The ones who complain always seem to be the ones who are struggling in their business. If you maintain a positive outlook on things, things will naturally go much better for you. Look for the good in all situations. Put an end to the negative stuff. Maybe that means firing a client – so be it. There are lots of clients waiting for you!

Do you let your feelings make your decisions? Are you making solid decisions based on business strategy or are you letting your feelings get in the way? Business is business, and it’s important to assess everything with a business eye. As support professionals, we often take things personally. When we talk about rates or boundaries or payment, we get our feelings hurt if the client disagrees with us. By wearing our CEO hat when we make decisions, the feelings get taken out of it. It’s just business. It’s not personal.

Are you acting professional in all situations? It can be hard, I admit it, when you have a client or a team member who disagrees with you. But maintaining your professionalism through any disputes is so important to your integrity. If something is not working out, make a plan to fix it. If you must fire a client or team member, do so professionally and move on. Learn from mistakes if they are yours, and just move on.

Are you doing what you say you would do? This is a tough one sometimes. We get overwhelmed, maybe distracted or our workload get increased, or the client sends umpteen revisions to something we thought was done. Deadlines are set for a reason. You can’t always control what the client will do, but you can get your work done when you say you will. Limit your distractions and be honest if things are go off the rails. Everyone appreciates honesty more than anything, and everyone has had a deadline issue in their business life at one time or another.

Do you do the right thing? What if something goes wrong? If you make an error on a client’s newsletter, or if you have to redo a task because you took a shortcut that didn’t pan out. You must suck it up and take the loss. If your clients don’t have procedures then consider putting them in place to avoid something like this in the future. But if the mistake is yours, own up to it and move on. I have done lots of free work over the years when something was my fault. Get it done, move on, and make sure you cover yourself moving forward.

These are just a few ways that integrity comes into your business. Integrity is saying no when you want to say no. Integrity is owning up to your mistakes. Integrity is being professional at all time. Your reputation depends on it.

And your reputation is the most important thing in business.

If you have a stellar reputation you will have happy customers and your business will be successful. If your reputation is questionable, your business will suffer.

If you aren’t working in integrity, follow these tips and make a few shifts in your business where necessary. I promise you it will make a huge difference in your success!

Tracey D'AverioTracey D’Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.