They say that the best jobs are never advertised and the same applies to good business opportunities. If you want to be considered then you not only need to be known, but also known as being a specialist. Having a reputation as a ‘Jack of all trades’ is not likely to get you on the list, let alone the short list! What’s more, saying you are a specialist in 101 different things does not fool anyone!
Lets say you have an important project that needs doing. You need to get it right first time and delays are not an option. Are you going to pick up the yellow pages and pick a name at random? Or will you first ask around to see if someone whose judgement you trust knows of someone.
If you are spending £50 then maybe the yellow pages will be fine. Spend £5,000 and you may be a little more selective.
One of my first clients was starting a new business and had a reputation in one area but was trying to establish a new business in another area with no great success. I convinced him to focus on his area of reputation and then cross-sell in his new services. It worked perfectly and not only did he quickly start generating cash flow – a year later he had developed a reputation in his new area and had successfully made the transition.
You cannot control your reputation – its what people say about you when you are not there. You can, however, have a strong influence on it by the way you interact and the stories you tell. The most important thing to bear in mind is that you must be consistent and make gradual changes. I know someone who changes his business focus every 3 months and the only reputation he has managed to generate is someone who never sticks at anything! Who would want to buy from someone who is not likely to be selling the same thing in 3 months time?
Sometimes it is a lot easier to build a reputation where people do not know you than to shift a reputation with people that already know you. However, if you want to be recommended then one way or another you need to develop your reputation.