Name: Shannon Wilkinson
Business: Reputation Communications, a provider of online reputation management for CEO’s
Industry: High Tech
Location: New York, New York, U.S.
Reason for starting: The demand for online reputation management helped lead to my business, I never planned to start it. As a result of the Internet-related communications services my PR firm at the time provided, in 2008 clients began referring me to Wall Street firms that had online reputation issues. In 2009, a $15,000 contract developed into a $150,000 contract. The writing was on the wall, and it said “Internet.” My business advisor, who has an MBA as well as a degree in economics, said, “Your PR firm is holding you back. “ I exited it and incorporated Reputation Communications.
How do you define success? Building a well-managed, well-respected company with strong brand recognition that I can sell for $5+ million.
Biggest Success: My first $1 million fee negotiation. The client who began with a $15,000 assignment became a repeat client. Last year, I introduced them to a new analysis report that we created. When they saw it, they assigned a dozen and negotiated a contract that started at $1.4 million for several related services. (They brought it down to $700,000 and then divided it into two contracts. We executed the first at the end of 2013.)
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is educating prospective clients about what online reputation management is and why the Internet is important. I have addressed that by writing the “You Online” blog; adding a content publishing platform to our company’s website; publishing articles in Forbes and elsewhere; becoming a public speaker and writing an annually updated online reputation management guide which is currently being expanded for publication next fall.
Who is your most important role model? Arianna Huffington. She built her brand as a writer and commentator, then seamlessly transitioned to the Internet. Her vision for the Huffington Post was brilliant. It was big, it was limitless and then she monetized it. Now, with the launch of her new book, “Thrive!” she is showing women how to integrate a holistic view of life to become healthier more well-balanced. She also has great style.
Edited by The Story Exchange