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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

News Roundup: Inc. Magazine & SmallBiz Technology Talking About KikScore

Monday, April 9th, 2012

We just wanted to send a special shout out to our friends at one of the best magazines around, Inc Magazine (see our previous post on our love for Inc. Magazine), and Ramon Ray's SmallBiz Technology Blog.  Over the last few weeks, both of these great websites not only mentioned KikScore but used us as important data points for both How to Build a Website that Inspires Trust and also Managing Your Online Reputation and Taking Steps to Protect it.

The Inc. Magazine post discusses the important concept of making sure your business website conveys trust and credibility.  If you remember, we actually were the guest host for #SmallBizChat on that very topic last year so feel free to check out our presentation and tips that was rated one of the top 10 tweetchats of all of 2011. Thanks to Jon Gelberg for mentioning us in the article.  We really appreciate it.

The SmallBiz Technology article discusses the increasingly important issue of how do businesses manage their reputation in a comprehensive way from what is said on third party sites and then taking the best reputational information and making sure that makes it onto the small business' website.  Just like so many of the great articles on Ramon Ray's blog, the article discusses how there is a real need for a 360 degree solution for small businesses so they can collect and use reputational information from across the internet (Yelp, Google feedback, Facebook posts, Tweets etc) to get more business from their websites.  We are really honored to be mentioned as a product that helps deliver part of that 360 degree reputation management solution to small businesses.

Thanks to both of these great websites for covering and discussing KikScore.

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

The Bad Job Correlation: How Bad Companies Encourage New Business

Friday, April 15th, 2011

College is a time for learning and really bad jobs.  Some of us work at Subway, while others (me) had to participate in a parade of horrible jobs.  I worked for my father and he had a wide range of business endeavors – commercial real estate, mini-storage and estate auctions.  He also had partners that had really side businesses.  One installed cable antennas in rural North Dakota; the other built homes.

Unlike working at the pool or some awesome restaurant, I was my father’s indentured servant.  My days consisted of looking for some type of wrench or nail (I’m not very mechanical) or sitting on a steep pitched roof in Valley City, ND, with a 40 foot piece of metal, waiting to hear if the TV. inside showed any signs of life.

One extremely hot day, on some metallic roof (applying some type of glue or something), I said to myself “I cannot be an outside working guy.  I have to get an office job.”  So, I took out an outrageous amount of student debt, and got an office gig.

But all is not as it seems in corporate America.  In talking with friends and former classmates, I think 90% of people I meet don’t like their day job.  Whether it’s a manager or corporate culture (e.g. type of place where everything has to be in a CYA email), people are scratching their head for an idea.  One that gets them out of their office and into their own business.

A friend of mine recently quit his job as a general counsel for a Fortune 500 company.  His main complaint was the lack of control over his career and not a lot of exciting moments during the day.  So, what is he trying to do now? Work with some young Tech company?  Nope.  He’s scouting locations for a self-serve yogurt shop.

Another guy I know roams the sterile hallways of his corporate job, thinking of any concept that could get funding…anything from mineral rights to a new way to run match-making sites.  All of this is because he has a boss that he can’t stand.

So, in a way, America owes a lot to terrible work environments.  Otherwise, there’d be much less entrepreneurial spirit.

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

Does Your Business Name Really Matter?

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Like all new businesses, when we were coming up with a name for our product, we struggled a bit.  We had to balance the availability of a “.com” domain, making sure the name is protect-able from a trademark perspective, and that the name would actually convey a sense of what we do.  This may be wrong,  but we wanted to focus on a “.com” domain, and one that spelled out our product name (not “who you gonna trust.com”). 

We looked for available domains (because we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a domain name), and then applied the next level of filter — conveying a sense of what we do.  We looked at a lot of “trust” type names, but none really seemed to work.  Then we focused on “score” and “scoring”.  There were many more options.

Finally we looked at the list in terms of what is the best from a trademark perspective.  If the name is too literal, it can’t be protected (e.g. www.transparencyseal.com”).  It has to be a bit unrelated (e.g. apple computers). 

There is no real surprise if you’re reading this blog that we wound up with KikScore.  But did all this brain damage over a name actually matter?  I mean, most of our traffic comes from other sources — like our partners, twitter or paid search clicks.  In other words, it feels like we could have named the product anything we wanted to and the traffic would come.  But is that really the case?  Maybe becaue of our name, people feel like partnering with us?  Maybe we wouldn’t have any traffic from Twitter if our name was “BreadScore” (though that just gave me a new business idea)?

What are your thoughts?  Does a name, in the beginning, really matter?

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

The Startup Team and Life Changing events

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

When your team is lean and everyone is wearing multiple hats, it causes quite the glitch in everyday functions when one (or multiple) team member experiences a life changing event. How do you prepare for it? There are some situations that are emergency impact that cannot be prepared for, but others can.

Since the inception of KikScore there have been a mixture of life changing events across the team…
– 3 new births across different team members (all first time parents),
– spousal job changes
– infants becoming toddlers
– loss of pets (and additions)
– demanding day job impacts
– and an upcoming one for me – moving cross-country to ‘the big city’ for an amazing new day job opportunity.

So how does a small night/weekend entrepreneurial company stay focused?

It is very easy for the impacted member to get caught up in the life event and KikScore takes a back seat.  While not the intention, human nature makes us selfish.

We can’t let this happen as the business would in turn suffer.  As a small team, we need to regroup and delegate items out to others  during the transition time, arming the business with communication channels to stick together and react to customer needs.

Some other tips that can prove useful are to continue to conduct weekly meetings to re-establish expectations. The team member going through the transition (me soon) should be able to commit to a once/week discussions to ensure they stay informed and can lend a hand as their life calms down and they rediscover their head.

How has your small business coped with  life changing events?  Please share your story with KikScore.

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

Online Business – Necessity Or Luxury?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Is your favorite restaurant or local boutique online?    Would you be more likely to purchase something from the local boutique if you could order the latest chenille scarf from your bedside table?

Website hosting companies such as Shopster have made it very simplistic to create a new website and start selling online in minutes.   Having an online site builds trust between consumer and merchant because it can allow a browse before you buy (or eat).   Yet there are still a great number of local restaurants and shops that are reluctant… why?

With the boom of social media, not having a site could be detrimental to your company’s future success.

There are other ways to be active in the online community without a dedicated ‘full’ website.   Creating a dedicated company blog promotes trust and transparency by sharing your company values, and can be done without a full website.

You may think if you only have one or two items to sell, a website is overkill. Even if it’s just one product (such as this unique product for avid boaters -TuftedTopper), the mass consumer base enjoys the convenience of online purchasing. As a merchant, you need to determine what drives the intrigue in your product base.

You’re here reading this, do you have an online business?

How have you built trust and transparency between yourself and your consumers to create repeat customers?

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

The Magic of Metrics

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

As a small business grows and not only builds the customer base but also expands the solution offerings, a metrics tracking method should be developed. There are a wealth of options of different metrics to track across any business. The hype for small companies seem to focus on SEO and website traffic metrics, but there are other business and process facing metrics that can greatly help a small business grow and succeed.

This article promotesmetrics are magic.  Key areas that can keep all team members in-check are to outline metrics surrounding milestones with dates and deadlines, and tracking of metrics like calls, presentations, programming modules, etc.

Depending up on the size and complexity of your business, utilizing a tool set to track and report on metrics could be very useful.  This provides the business leaders an avenue in which to review and evaluate trends and to determine if new solutions are working as expected and increasing cash flow.

Metrics help to outline the quality and measurement of success for any given business, product or process.  As a small business owner, factoring quality into daily activities helps to keep the entire team focused on top quality solutions and practices

What defines a quality metric and tips how to determine where your solution measures up?  The key is to create a metrics roadmap early in your business cycle so that you can formulate processes and checkpoints throughout that adhere to it.

The metrics you track will change over time, as your business expands (or shrinks).  You must also be diligent in that tracking process and share out not only the positive metrics, but the negative ones as well with your entire team. The only way to improve upon your business processes and ensure quality is to define the metrics and make appropriate changes to continue to improve them.  And allow your business to evolve in a positive light by continuously reviewing the metrics and creating new benchmarks that define your business success.

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

Build Trust By Listening and Sharing

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

A couple weeks ago, I focused on the need for valuable and easy to use feedback tools for your customers.  While continuing to research this topic and build best practices for KikScore, a colleague shared this great article with me on How to Make the Most of Customer Feedback.  As a small company, I realized we tend to get caught up in task items of the release schedule we’ve set forth and lose sight of the customer connection – until an issue arises and you are placed in emergency mode.

This article touches well on the subject of empowering customer-facing employees.    As you continue to expand your solution offerings and grow your customer base, this becomes a critical area of focus.  And it’s not just sales personnel, this includes customer support and even marketing resources who are interfacing with customers on a regular basis.  By giving your employees the right tools to not only listen to customer input but also to respond and raise awareness throughout the rest of the organization.  This also goes to the level of communicating in a transparent manner to your customers on what is coming next from your company.  This helps to promote trust between company and customer and shows how your company listens and reacts.

The aspect of close the loop with those giving feedback empowers your customers to then not only see how you take their opinions to heart but also how your company strives to prioritize and stay one step ahead.  Simple steps to promote customer loyalty and make your business a success.

What feedback processes do you have in place and how does your business track and prioritize them?

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

Build Trust With Customers by Providing Feedback Tools

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

As KikScore continues to grow and add customers, our team is more active in social media sites.  In anticipation of a large partner release, we are working to ensure staff support and processes in place to respond to customer inquiries and issues.

Providing an avenue for your customers to sing your praises and also to vent when needed helps to build trust in your brand and confidence in your customers.  With social media continuing to rise, consumers savor the ability to have a voice in a variety of platforms, and they can yell loudly.  To build trust and loyalty in your customer base, you have to listen and react in a timely and professional manner .

Being a mom, I could relate to the outrage set forth by moms across the country on this Motrin add.  Motrin could have quickly regained confidence and trust in its consumer base by reacting to this outrage in a much more professional  and empathetic manner.

As a small business, creating an avenue for clear communication with your customers on good and bad topics will not only build trust, but also instill loyalty which creates new customers and reduces abandoned shopping carts.  Be an advocate for your customers and they will yell loudly on social media platforms that your business is the business to connect with.

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

Don't quit on me!

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

When starting a small business, everyone wears multiple hats and jumps in to assist where needed.  As your business grows, you work to hire people to fill specific roles so that:

1) the founders can focus on more strategic direction

2) to drive the business forward

3) effectively execute on key initiatives.

You proudly get your entire team staffed up and people are working hard in their roles and the business grows exponentially – everything is on the up and up, customers are fascinated with your product line and you have a backlog of requests to implement… and then, somebody quits.

So this perfect (well at least manageable) entourage you have created to implement your product roadmap now comes to a screeching halt, or at least imposes a very large mountain to navigate around. To keep business moving, you must revert back to wearing multiple hats, which in turn impacts growth and forces you to re-prioritize efforts, at least until you can back fill.

In larger companies, the back fill process can be lengthy and daunting.  What tends to happen is until the position is refilled, the tasks of the resigning employee are dumped on other employees… it becomes a juggling process to continue forward momentum.

While you cannot 100% prohibit turnover from happening, you can implement processes to ensure smooth transition in the event and also back fill (or redistribute effectively) so that you don’t end up pushing further resources out the door from overload.  People leave for a variety of reasons, but when building a team for a small business and growing your company, retention can be critical.  Then again, sometimes, that resignation is music to your ears

How do you motivate your team to stand by you? What transition plans do you have in place in the event of a mutiny?

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Posts Tagged ‘reputation management’

The Awe Inspiring Essence of Creativity

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I stumbled upon an interesting and motivating quote a couple weeks ago:
Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself — George Bernard Shaw

This got me thinking about how creativity comes into play in defining not only who we are, but how the world sees us.  My daughter, who turned 2 in December, has started mastering marker to paper, and paint brush to easel.  My husband and I praise her creative wonders and display many of her designs about our home.

As I hung two of her recent ‘dinosaur’ masterpieces on my office wall today (one scanned above), I am overwhelmed with not only a sense of pride but an inspiration to be more creative myself.   To force more creativity in my daily doings and namely in my business activities (both day job and KikScore).  To remind myself that a little bit of color and imagination can be awe inspiring.

In order to maintain a competitive edge in business, you must have innovation that not only keeps your customers interested and coming back, but ensures they are shouting out accolades about your business with their friends and beyond.  Since teamwork is a key element to business success, you need to keep your team motivated and the creative juices flowing.

We continuously encourage creativity and individuality in our children… and we need to carry that forth and foster it in the work place environment as well.

Whether you have a start-up or a mature business, how do you encourage creativity?  Get out those markers and a blank palette… what can you create?

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