100 Day Challenge: Protect Your ReputationJust this week (at this writing) the overblown athletic industry has had a major hit to it's collective integrity. 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finally admitted that he (and his team) used performance-enhancing drugs and blood doped for every single event. Just as many had suspected for years.

Like movie stars and politicians, athletes are seldom known for their high moral character, so perhaps neither of these revelations come as a surprise. But even for the “elite,” such a hit to their reputations does — or should — mean something.

And for “the rest of us,” it almost always does.

The easiest way to grow a business is when happy and trusting clients tell family and friends about their experience.

For a number of years now I have offered affordable blog setup for small businesses, run a blog network for those who want to make money blogging, and provided custom web work for a number of clients. I haven't advertised my custom work and, in fact, don't advertise anywhere or even have a web site to promote this. All my work in this venue has come from word-of-mouth from current clients.

In a nutshell, I work hard, charge a fair price, and deal scrupulously honestly with my clients. That gets around well enough that I have had as much work as I like for a number of years.

In contrast, shoddy work, excuses, and sleazy practices don't serve you (or your business) well.

On December 17th — in the middle of an already stressful college finals week — Alana's transmission went out on her way to school. In order to save her the cost of a tow, Sam and I tethered her Kia Rio to our Excusion and slowly and painfully (in slick, snowy weather) pulled the car to the nearest shop that showed up on Google Maps as a transmission repair establishment.

The first place was no longer in business. We pressed on a few blocks to Jake's Automotive in Pleasant Grove. When Sam went inside to ask about service, they explained that they didn't offer extensive transmission services. He recommended a shop in Lehi — two cities away.

Upon pondering the stressful prospect of towing the car many miles further, we decided to take a chance on a CIT Transmissions, a shop we could see a block away. While it didn't escape us that Jake's hadn't recommended the place a rock's throw away, we weren't sure we could safely make it to Lehi — and Sam had already missed a couple of hours of work.

When we pulled into the transmission shop, the owner — a very nice man — came out and addressed us. He told us he's see if it could be completely rebuilt (for $1,400) resulting in a like new transmission or replaced (for $1,200) with a used transmission. He said it would be done by December 24.

On Christmas Eve, we drove to the shop. It was closed. To make a long story short as of this writing (January 19) the car is still there and, as of yesterday, he wasn't even working on it yet. After nearly five weeks without a car, all we've gotten are excuses.

Jake doesn't recommend CIT and certainly neither will we. If asked about transmission repair, I'll be sure to steer folks clear of CIT. Maybe all the mistakes were genuine, maybe all the excuses were true, but given a choice, at very least we'll go with someone who has better luck and better estimation skills.

Reputation can make or break you. What is said about you is largely up to you.

Join me in the 100 Day Challenge!