As an entrepreneur, you work hard to build a reputation of integrity and trust. You understand that people do business with someone they know, like and trust, so you make it your goal to do business in that way. You keep your promises and you over-deliver with your products and services.
Life would be good if you could continue operating your business with no issues, but that’s not a reality. Attacks on your business and reputation are bound to happen, especially as you grow. Jealousy, envy and other emotions can enter people’s mind and cause them to want to damage your business and attack your reputation.
Left unchecked, your customers could start believing what’s not true. I know this because I’m facing this very situation in my business. Over the last five years I've openly and honestly built a successful lifestyle business. Despite my desire to serve, a few bad apples are determined to cloud the message. For a while, I thought I would stay quiet and let my reputation speak for itself. It’s taken some time to realize that’s not enough and not proactive. Here are five ways we, as entrepreneurs, can handle an attack on what we’ve built.
1. Don’t get into the mud with those attacking you.
It’s natural to want to fire right back at your attackers but it looks bad and it doesn’t solve anything. You get angrier and come off looking less professional. You don’t want to stay quiet, but you don’t want to let your emotions react for you. Ignore what they are saying and let your character and commitment to helping people do the talking for you. Actions speak louder than words.
2. Assure your loyal customers that business will continue as usual.
Customers fear a situation like this will lead to you being less productive, or worse, you closing your business. Let your customers know that you’re in business for the long haul and can weather any storm. Let them know they will still get the same or an even higher level of service from you. Difficult situations are what separate those who aren't committed--don't let that be you.
3. Counteract what is being said by offering extra value.
Your customers and those who follow you do so because of the value you offer. The more value you offer, the more the focus stays away from those who are attacking you. During a time when you are being challenged, give even more of that value. Focus on putting out content, products, and services that solve people’s biggest problems. At the end of the day, people want to know what's in it for them. They will take good content over gossip any day of the week.
4. Reach out for support.
It’s tempting to want to run and hide and not tell anyone wants happening inside your mind, but that's not smart. Reaching out for support does more than you realize. Other perspectives can help you get clarity. You can vent and strategize in a safe place with people you trust. Don’t let the anger build, talk to those who have your back and your best interest at heart.
5. Stay focused on your 'why.'
You started your business and became an entrepreneur for a reason. That reason should always be the fuel that keeps you moving past any setbacks or difficult situations that will arise. Do what it takes to keep your business running and your customers assured while staying focused on your why. Let that be the motivation to keep going despite how you may feel.
An attack on your reputation feels like an explosive initially. You feel the pressure coming from all sides and you’re tempted to react emotionally -- don’t do it. Take the initial hit and plan your next steps carefully. A good friend of mine says, “Never let them see you sweat.” The truth has a funny way of shining.
Stay focused on why you became an entrepreneur and continue to do the things that have made you successful. Don’t let those who have nothing better to do get the chance to keep you from what you want to accomplish in your life and business.