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Why You Should Think About What Others Think of You
By Ken Wisnefski, President, VendorSeek.com

What does the image of your business look like from the inside and outside?  It is important to promote the right image starting from the inside of your business in order for it to radiate outwards.

I was at the water cooler a couple of weeks ago with a colleague. He expressed concerns about his relationship with his son. They have not been seeing "eye to eye" as of late and he wanted to remedy the situation.

"I think I am going to buy him a car for his seventeenth birthday," was one of his possible solutions. He figured that the elation of getting a car would inspire his son to change his demeanor towards him. I am not a licensed psychologist, but I do know about human relations; and though my colleague has good intentions, this is not the route to take.

Why am I relating this story? I believe you can make a connection between my friend's situation with his son and how some businesses cater to their employees' satisfaction. How many businesses offer awards, certificates, prizes, and other perks to make their employees happy? A large number of businesses do this.

Can't Buy Me Love...

Offering your employees prizes and buying your son a car is fine, but we must analyze the reason behind engaging in these acts. There is a difference between providing perks and promoting relationship satisfaction. The former may provide positive, short-lived rapport, but the latter focuses on the actual dynamic of the relationship and not just the "what's in it for me" aspects.

A successful business establishes exceptional relationships with their workers. A mutually satisfying and committed relationship warrants more than material inspiration. Depending on the size of the business, strategies used will differ, but it must start from the top and be a concern of every administrator and worker.

Consultants can offer assistance in every sector of any business. Some businesses are hesitant to hire a consultant because they believe it is an affirmation of there being a "problem" in their company. This is not true. A consultant seeks to improve lines of communication and promote a positive atmosphere so problems do not arise.

Make a Name for Yourself

I am not a blind optimist. I know that in an "ideal world" most of us would elect not to "work" at all, but that does not mean that we cannot attain happiness and a source of satisfaction from our place of work. Considering how much time we spend at work, it should be expected and is needed.

A consultant will provide a business with the insight that they can use in the work environment. Have you ever heard of an "employer brand?" A brand is an association relating to something; so in relation to business, it refers to the negative or positive associations made relating to your company. Obviously, we all want positive associations referring to our business.

Consultants can help you modify your brand, but they cannot start one for you. Depending on what stage you are in relating to the time span of your business, you have already done things to foster the existence of your brand. From marketing, hiring, firing, writing letters, writing emails, making phone calls, talking to employees, etc., every business related action has helped mold an image of your business.

A "brand" incorporates the thoughts, emotions, and images people associate with a particular product, service, or company. Who is associated with your brand? The following are just a few examples:
  • Former employees
  • People in your industry (vendors, competitors, and associates)
  • People who have turned down job offers
  • Managers of all levels in your company
  • The community where your business resides
  • Colleges or temp agencies you recruited from
Making the Grade

As stated, any business-related action taken is a reflection on the business. I mentioned that the ideology must start from the top because, as a positive brand will embrace and satisfy your employees, it will in turn be adopted by them and used to satisfy your customers as well. The end result is a synergy of associations stemming from and revolving around your business.

A consultant can work with your business to discuss strategies to promote and maintain employee and customer satisfaction. A brand already exists, but paying attention to its existence can begin to make it more beneficial for your business.

Share your success

A business with success in employee and customer satisfaction should be proud of this achievement and should seek to promote awareness of their success. Intranet communication within the office inspiring employees to share positive stories is encouraged. Business-related information can be delivered through a business newsletter dispensed to customers and associates of the business.

A Web site is an excellent way to promote relations. Most companies use the "About Us" page to briefly describe the company and what operations they perform. Why not use this space for positive employee and customer feedback? This way, when people visit your site, they are being invited to see your "brand" firsthand. In turn, they will share in the acceptance of this brand and will think and discuss of your business in the same manner generating great word of mouth.

Conclusion

Customers need to be addressed in the same manner as your employees. By offering a sale or discount every now and again will not "win them over." The aura and the brand a business creates will be the deciding factor in determining the tenacity of their employees' and consumers' allegiance.

It may seem like an obvious insight, but most businesses get so involved with day-to-day operations and the quest for revenue that the ingredients of success are taken for granted. A successful business knows that success is made from the inside and projected out.


Kenneth C. Wisnefski is the president of VendorSeek.com, an online business to business marketplace that connects business consumers with pre-approved vendors in over 150 different categories. VendorSeek.com has over 5,000 vendors in their Approved Vendor Network and processes close to 10,000 requests per month from businesses of all sizes.

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