Updated: Jan 12
No longer is it a wise business decision to be undercover, incognito, or anonymous when trying to grow your business. This should have been apparent for quite some time but its more clear today than ever before.
One of the drawbacks of operating that way is you aren't building your personal brand at the same time which is worth doing for anyone given how the economy has changed.
So if you are staying in ‘incognito mode’ while operating your business then you are doing yourself a disservice in the long run.
This applies to most industries but I’ll speak to the commercial finance industry as there has been a desire to stay incognito for many because either they want to avoid repercussions of their actions or maybe they don’t understand or aren’t willing to accept how the ways of doing business have changed.
Even getting people to provide real information when joining our site isn't an easy task for some. We have adapted to the changing times by figuring out who people are before being approved. There are several different ways we do this including speaking with them, reviewing websites, phone numbers, and social media accounts like LinkedIn, as I wrote about before. But no system is perfect so people will slip by or go on to change their profile on our site so they can try to be incognito.
There will always be people trying to game the system. Their reasons for doing so usually equate to taking shortcuts or performing shady business tactics. A member of our site recently wanted to access one of our member's pages that they didn't have permission for so they tried to create a fake profile after logging out of their real one. We were able to catch this and then asked the member what was going on. They tried to play dumb, lie and deny everything. We immediately blocked his account.
Another member wasn't approved after he submitted false information so he started spamming us and threatening to hack our site.
When users do these kinds of things it tells me this is the way they conduct business including with their clients. This isn’t a winning long-term strategy.
Funders and ISOs are as wary of each other as ever. Funders have instituted many different policies to prevent or minimize dealing with partners that have a checkered past. One of those policies starts at the very beginning of the new partner onboarding process. At least one funder I spoke to does a video meeting with any new ISO before they can be approved as a partner. Most also do background checks and other due diligence online for anything else that may be relevant.
There will be other changes and adjustments to business processes as technology changes and the economy evolves. The best way to grow your business is to ensure you and your brand are presented well enough so that you have the chance to stand out in a crowded market.