"Reputation management is particularly important to small businesses," says Aerial M. Ellis, Owner of Urbane Imagery, an urban marketing and public relations firm located in Nashville, TN. "I've seen it become a very important component to building public relations strategies for several clients. Because small businesses are heavily reliant on word-of mouth and return customers to impact their revenue, the mismanagement of their image can be crucial; ultimately the consumer determines the business's reputation."
Managing your reputation has always been important - "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it..." (Warren Buffet). Nancy Williams, Managing Director at Tiger Two Ltd., a U.K. based online reputation management firm, feels that "your reputation is what makes you succeed or fail as a small business - with the internet permeating every aspect of business (and social life) it is even more important to be managing that reputation both online and off line."