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The Eye Of The Beholder: Working To Manage Your Business’s Perception



It can take a long time to ascertain the real reason why a business is flagging. While you can attribute so many issues in relation to growing pains or financial issues, the real problem a business struggles to make headway is its perception. Because a company can take a long time to get up and running, how it is perceived can colour so many different aspects of a company. It's not just in relation to the external processes, like the marketing, but it's the inside that can have so many negative repercussions throughout the business. As far as any business is concerned, perception is everything, so how can you work at making a business comprehensive in its positive perception throughout the culture of the company?


Identifying Your Weaknesses


An essential component when you are addressing how your business is perceived is to identify each individual weak aspects. You can use the SWOT analysis to determine the prevailing issues, but for you to identify your weaknesses across the board, it's going to take a lot more drilling down to see what aspects are weak, and what you can do to ensure that each component is fully formed. Because the big problem each business faces when trying to fix problems is putting a specific process to determine what is wrong with it, this can spell major issues for the business altogether. So, how can you fix this? Because the business relies on each individual component working together, to ensure that you have minimal downtime it's all about effective planning before taking that aspect out of the equation. Unfortunately, there's no way around this, but to be sure that you are identifying each individual weakness, you've got to examine the aspect in its native habitat, either through workplace observation or evaluation, and then taking it out of the environment to analyse it further. While the SWOT analysis can give you the tools necessary to address these problems, fixing them requires a longer time span. The weakness may not be a procedural problem, but it could be relating to something more inherent within the business. The culture is one such example, and this can, in turn, have negative impacts on morale, productivity, as well as the perception of the company from the internal workforce. To address internal processes, if you work fixing these problems, you're doing yourself a service to the workforce and the clients at the same time. As far as perception is concerned, a lot of the battle is won when you are seen to be proactive in fixing these but you need to deliver on your promises. A lot of managerial types can easily suffer from the ability to sweep things under the carpet. This doesn't inspire your workforce!


The Most Important Tools In Business


Perception is a very interesting component because, in order to develop an overall appreciation of the business and how it is perceived, inside and out, it's important that we have the engine running at full capacity. It's a very difficult thing to gain an appreciation of when you are working on the inside. This is why it's important to get into the habit of outside help. This can be the Achilles heel of many an entrepreneur because they want to be seen as “in control” of the organisation. Being the captain of a ship can equate to that need to be seen as someone who knows every single component. But this self-sufficiency is a weakness. Because if you don't get into the habit of asking for help when you need it, you're going to be struggling. It's a common human flaw: we can be too proud to ask for help. But this is what outsourcing is for! As a business cannot be completely self-sufficient, especially outside, outsourcing becomes the key tool to ensure that the business navigates those choppy waters. When it comes to the perception of your business, you can easily go to the marketing components. As far as the most beneficial tool in business is concerned now, your website and all the various accoutrements are integral to how your business is perceived across the board. You can argue it is social media that is the most important component now, but there are those that will disagree. It's all dependent on your business and the demographics. But what we consider to be most essential is the website because this provides instant access to services as well as the product. And when it comes to your ability to outsourcing the right help, there are numerous website design specialists available that can ensure that your website, essentially the business’s front line, embodies all the characteristics of your company.


Working At The Company Culture


As far as the perception of your company is concerned, when you are working so hard at externalising a proficient process, you can easily neglect the internal aspects. Granted, the internal aspects can seem secondary to the product, but if you don't provide the fundamentals in business, such as a good working environment, how can you expect the general public and clients to see your business as a positive entity? We can use social media as a smokescreen of sorts, giving the illusion that the company has everything in place, when in fact, everything's falling apart at the seams. You only have to look at the recent documentary about the Fyre music festival to see how everything was coming apart around them, even though they were doing their best to present a unified image. It became a very desperate workplace culture, where people were being held at ransom, and having part of their pay withheld, to ensure that they completed the tasks. And these days, where customers are so hot on the ethical components of a business, it pays to ensure that your internal processes are ethically sound. This is the bare minimum you should accomplish, but if you ensure that your workplace culture and environment mirrors what you are presenting out to the general public, not only does it make for a comprehensive strategy as far as your perception is concerned, but it makes life easier for everyone. That idea of transparency in an industry is essential, but when we get it right, it makes life easier for everyone.


Ensuring You Lead By Example


It might not be something you'd give consideration to as a business leader, because you may believe that it's your duty to see the big picture, and ensure that everything is working in tandem. But what we can forget about, especially when we’re working at unifying the perception of the company, inside and out, is to make sure that we are leading by example. It's a simple but often overlooked component. Because we can think in terms of how our business is perceived, we may not consider ourselves to be integral to the process. But, every decision we make affects the people below us. Look at the big business leaders, from Jobs to Musk, from the perspective of any person on the outside, you see their actions more than the business as an entity. And if you are exercising concern over your public perception, you've got to think about the decision that you make. You may opt to be a faceless component, but at the end of the day, because the buck stops with you, and you are accountable for the actions of business, your details are emblazoned over everything, literally and figuratively. It's vital that we strive to be the leader we envisioned, that leads from the top down, and ensure the personal touch forms part of their process, not just in terms of what goes on in the back office, but also how to business is perceived across the industry. Some people take a proactive approach to leadership and realise that every single action they make at the outset carries their fingerprints. But this is something that you need to consider throughout the entirety of your business’s life.


When you think about how your business is perceived from the outside as well as the inside, this sort of anxiety can threaten to overwhelm you. But because we are in the business of presenting a product or a service, we've got to learn how we can make the most of our image in every aspect. From the marketing to the internal processes and culture, as well as how we lead. Each component carries a lot of significance. If our business does not carry a certain image, this bleeds into every other aspect of how your business is run, if you can win contracts, as well as making that all-important sale. Perception is in the eye of the consumer. Not just the customer, not just the client, not just the worker, but all of them. And don't forget yourself. As you can consider yourself separate to the business, this can mean, over time that you aren't taking responsibility for your actions. This is why it's important for you to begin with yourself, and then you can work at making every other aspect of the business comprehensive in its imagery.