FSB urges self employed to protect their reputation

Tuesday 6 June 2017

The Federation of Small Business (FSB) has urged small businesses and the self employed to take measures to protect their reputation and prevent PR disasters. 

The warning comes after British Airways suffered significant PR damage after a system failure last month. The error caused flights to be grounded at London’s Gatwick and Heathrow terminals, as well as at a high number of airports abroad. 

Due to the error, tens of thousands of passengers were left for hours without any information and their frustration was obvious on social media. BA struggled to reassure travellers on Twitter and other platforms, which only exacerbated the problem.

Now, the airline is facing a massive compensation bill and must work hard to rebuild its reputation in the travel industry. United Airlines also faced severe criticism after forcefully removing a passenger from one of its planes in April. 

While these instances saw large corporations affected, smaller businesses can still find themselves vulnerable to significant PR damage in the event of a company-wide error. 

Many companies are not aware of the severe consequences of reputational damage. It can cause substantial loss of money and customers, and, as many startups have no access to professional PR advice, it can happen easily. 

The FSB said the number of small businesses it has given advice out to has risen over the last year, highlighting the importance of educating start-ups about PR. 

Dave Stallon, commercial director of FSB, said: “New communication technologies mean potential reputational issues have the ability to escalate dramatically and swiftly. 

“Social media, round-the-clock news media, and data breach threats increasingly pose risks to businesses’ reputations. It’s crucial that all businesses have effective means of dealing with this.”

As separate study from Experian also found that 42 per cent of SMEs did not have customer notifications as part of their response plan, while 45 per cent had no legal strategy.

In particular, start-ups that manage their finances in-house could be at risk of PR damage. Such work requires extensive knowledge of the sector, which is why contractor and freelancer accountants are so important.

These experts have a clear understanding of the latest rules and regulations and will be able to answer any queries you have regarding taxation. This gives you a chance to learn more about your business’ financial obligations under less pressure.

While the specialists handle your finances, you can boost productivity by focusing on other areas of your company. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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