There are many situations businesses must deal with over the course of time. For instance, commercial robbery prevention to avoid such crimes is just one of many. Natural disaster cleanup and recovery is also a reality for some entities. Another common occurrence is dealing with a retail slump. But sometimes, it’s not bad actors or outside economic forces that harm a business. Unfortunately, the damage can be inflicted internally. A prime example is when a previous owner destroys a business’ reputation.
The Infamous Chicago Cubs Goat Curse and Your Business
In case you’re not familiar with baseball lore, in 1945, Billy Sianis, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, took his fragrance-challenged pet goat to Wrigley Field to watch the World’s Series. Because of the goat’s foul odor, Mr. Sianis was asked to leave the ballpark. Upon his departure, Sianis declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more!” The Cubs lost the championship series to the Detroit Tigers and have not earned a National League spot since. That is, until this year, when the team beat the Los Angeles Dodgers and will faceoff against the Cleveland Indians, seeking the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Reputation management also includes reputation repair. Most people think that only politicians and celebrities who misstep or get caught in compromising situations need to worry about their reputation, but in reality, everyone from college students to senior executives must mind the way they are perceived and — when a damaging event does occur — correct a damaged personal [or business] brand. —Entrepreneur.com
While the previous owner might not have cursed your acquired business in such a fantastic manner, there is real fallout to deal with going forward. We’ll see if the Cubbies are able to break the curse and they’ll do so with team work. That’s precisely what you’ll need to rehabilitate your new company’s reputation. Everyone in the organization must be onboard and in-sync. Any going off-script or rogue is going to inflict more damage and that might constitute enough to be unrepairable.
How to Rebuild Business Reputation after Bad Ownership
When you takeover a business, it’s very important to do your homework to learn about its reputation. Unfortunately, some owners are savvy at covering up bad things and you might be taken by surprise. Now that you’re fully committed, you don’t want to walk away, especially without giving brand rehabilitation a sincere try. Here are some helpful tips about how to rebuild a business reputation after bad ownership has done it damage:
- Make the new ownership known. You’ve no doubt seen “Under New Ownership” or “Under New Management” signs before. Although it’s an unfortunate step to take, it is a necessary one to make people aware things are changing for the better. If you don’t make the change conspicuous, it won’t make a positive impression.
- Address all bad online reviews. Because of the age in which we live, technology gives everyone a platform to share their experiences. Bad online reviews are part of the business world and these present a great opportunity. Address these one-by-one, offering to make his or her next experience a great one.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about it. There’s little to no chance you’ll make it through the transition without having to talk about the previous owner. Don’t waste the chance to indulge and to talk about your plans. However, dwelling on the past won’t move the business forward, so speak positively about the future.
- Be willing to give away discounts and free items. While you may not delight in the fact you’ll have to give up more to get something small in return, it shouldn’t be avoided. Enticing people back to the business won’t necessarily come cheap but it will pay big returns later.
Have you taken over a business with a bad reputation? What steps did you take to rebuild and turn it into a positive one? Please share your experiences and thoughts below!