This Week’s Dilemma

I want to develop my business and broaden my range of services. I would like to generate additional income streams in new areas. Through training I know I can acquire the necessary skills to deliver a high quality service but I am unsure of how to build a reputation to attract enquiries and win business. How can this be achieved quickly and cost-effectively?

Julie Johnston is head of mortgage products at Mortgage Intelligence

It takes time to build a reputation. Even a business that is widely considered to be successful at one thing will have to prove itself again in a new area.

But an advantage of having a good reputation in an unrelated area is that people may give you the benefit of the doubt. The Virgin brand is a great example of this. It offers a wide range of unrelated products and services and leverages brand strengths and values, transferring these to areas including airlines, financial services and much more.

However, companies must earn their stripes in new sectors. There is no avoiding this, or customers will stick with tried and tested options. Having a great reputation is vital but contrary to what many believe, this does not solely depend on being significantly better than your competitors – there are other factors involved.

It’s not enough to do a good job because if few people know a firm exists, no matter how great its products or services, it will never achieve its full potential.

Given that your company’s offering is of good quality and attractively priced, the next step is to make sure potential customers know you exist so a public relations and marketing campaign should be a high priority.

Once you are noticed and have satisfied customers on board, your goal should be to get those customers spreading the word for you because in business, personal recommendation is pure gold.