Reputation expert Regine le Roux helps companies to build their reputation and strive towards being a business that people want to do business with. She established Reputation Matters in 2005; the company uses its own Repudometer® assessment methodology to assess and manage firms’ reputations. Her team was carefully chosen, and all of them either had a BCom in Communication Management with Honours or graduated at the top of their classes.
The Repudometer® is a research instrument that has helped many organizations gain a better understanding of their stakeholders as well as what aspects of their businesses are strengthening or weakening their reputations. She states, “We quantify your intuitions and arm you with facts and figures to present around the boardroom table.”
Joining the League of Entrepreneurs
Regine had no desire to run her business when she was a student. Among her pals, she was usually the first to declare that she had no desire to launch her own company. “I was quite excited and thrilled to find a corporate career,” she says. “Never say never!”
Regine was working for a supervisor she didn’t resonate with; After a particularly bad conversation, she found herself questioning why she was expending so much effort on something that no one seemed to enjoy when she could and should be doing it for herself. This was the nudge she needed to start her own company, Reputation Matters. She recalls, “The biggest leap of faith was believing in myself and realising that it may just be possible to start my own business.” She also adds, “Starting my own company, as dauting as it was, was better than having to work for a boss that I didn’t respect.”
The South African company Reputation Matters was among the first to develop a research instrument for assessing reputations; a methodology that can be used across different Various industries.
Quantifying an organisation’s value, be it its reputation, climate or brand is the main goal of Reputation Matters.
Reputation management is all about understanding and fostering relationships It is developed over time and is based on the perceptions of others. The team assists organizations in understanding these perspectives, identify any gaps, and ultimately provide recommendations on how to forge closer relationships with key stakeholders. In the end, individuals want to work with organizations and people they like and trust. A company’s reputation has a direct impact on its bottom line. We help companies improve both.
The company believes that having a set of core values is crucial. Reputation Matters’ values are:
The acronym is GREAT.
Reputation Matters’ team regularly discusses their values, and it is an agenda point on their weekly team meeting. Team members get a chance to speak about their values and share an experience of something that resonated or didn’t resonate with their values during the week. In this way, the company’s values are always top of mind.
Life Before Reputation Matters
Regine obtained her Honours Cum Laude while studying BCOM Communication Management at the University of Pretoria. She first believed that she wanted to work in public relations and event planning, but she was unable to get employment owing to her inexperience. She received a job as a research analyst after completing her Honours year. She recalls, “I thought to myself that research was really not something that I was too keen on, I really didn’t enjoy my research methodology classes at university that much, but I needed to start my career journey somewhere and did see it as an opportunity to get my foot in the door.” She further adds that it ended up being an incredible experience. For her, it was magical to see research in ‘action’ and the difference it made to businesses. The company that she worked for was also part of a management consulting firm, and she learned a lot about business management. She immersed herself in all the branding and communication-type projects that came in. One of which was measuring reputations. This was at a time before every second PR agency said that they do “reputation management.” The study entailed unpacking exactly what a reputation is. So much so, Regine got the go ahead to convert it into a Master’s degree, which she completed within a year.
Regine was still eager to work in the communications sector after gaining experience, so she found a project manager role at a PR and event firm. There, she had her first experience with event planning and media relations. She also realized that, regrettably, communication was not seen as being particularly strategic. Regine created the Repudometer® reputation quantification tool in part to assist communicators in becoming more strategic and to gauge their efforts.
Balance is absolutely key in everything. Regine encourages the team to strive towards a balanced lifestyle. Each week, during a morning huddle, the team chats about their reading, exercise, and journaling goals. She shares, “We don’t have timesheets, everyone is responsible for their own time and making sure their deliverables are on time.”
Regine often begins her day at approximately 4:30 a.m. when she is not traveling. She spends 20 minutes in meditation and 30 minutes reading in the morning. She then keeps a journal. She then has a morning walk Mark her better half and their Weimaraner, Bella, Additionally, she runs 10 kilometers up Chapman’s Peak every other day (her aim for this year is to complete 100 10-kilometer runs).
Around 9:00 is when Regine starts her “office” day. She prefers working on strategic projects or things requiring creativity in the morning. At 12:00, she then takes a 30-minute lunch break. Business administration and development take place in the afternoons.
On Fridays, Regine often concentrates on her Re.Bag.Re.Use initiative. The workday usually wraps up at around 19:00. Regine doesn’t expect the team to work over weekends at all, and as far as possible, doesn’t check emails before 07:00 or after 19:00.
Seven Lessons of Leading Successful Business
Regine has seven lessons that she has learnt and stuck to since starting Reputation Matters in 2005:
- Get a good accountant and pay your taxes. There isn’t anything like creative accounting. The only thing that gets very colourful is your language when you realise that your accountants were questionable. You need to pay your taxes. They are not going away, and only accrue more and more interest and penalties the longer you take to pay it.
- Avoid a business partner; own the business 100% as far as possible. If you must get a business partner, make sure that you have all the tough conversations very early on in the relationship, and make sure that you have agreements in place. It does not matter how much you think that you are on the same page and ethically aligned, when things get tough relationships can take their toll, and it’s really difficult to have those tough conversations when you are not on speaking terms with each other.
- Avoid doing business with friends and family. It’s often very hard to separate the family / friend / employee line and it gets very difficult when the lines blur, and you still need to be the boss.
- Keep an audit trail. Write everything down. You can’t prove a conversation. Keep a record of everything.
- Work on the business not in the business. This was quite difficult, because initially I was doing everything. It’s important to have processes in place and to learn how to delegate your responsibilities so that you can focus on building the business.
- Don’t give things away for free. The quickest way to devalue your worth is to give things away for free.
- Make sure that you have a set of non-negotiable values that forms the foundation of behaviour; speak about the values regularly and let it become integral in everything that you say and do.
Success is about living up to your potential; making the most of every situation with the resources that you have. Through every interaction, making a positive impact. It’s all about respect; respect for yourself, for others and every space and situation. It’s about being authentic and true to yourself, having a set of non-negotiable values.
The big goal is to have every company across Africa to know what their reputation score is.
“Don’t let excuses stand in your way of starting your own business. Set yourself big goals! Here’s a blog I wrote, that you might like: Businesswoman’s Blog: The most beautiful car in the world… (dynamicbusinesswoman.blogspot.com)”
A reputation isn’t necessarily based on the truth, but it’s based on someone’s perception of reality, and that forms their worldview and impacts a reputation ~ Regine le Roux
“Consistency is key.You are either consistently good, or consistently bad. Either way, you are building a reputation for yourself” ~ Regine le Roux
Achievements and Accolades
- 2021 Started Re.Bag.Re.
- 2020 The SABRE Award for Superior Achievement in Measurement and Evaluation WINNER
- 2020 The SABRE Award Certificate of Excellence (Technology Sector)
- 2019 The SABRE Award for Superior Achievement in Measurement and Evaluation WINNER
- 2019 The SABRE Award for Associations WINNER
- 2019 Speaker at Yoast Con 2019 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands
- 2018 Speaker at the African Public Relations Association (APRA) conference in Botswana presenting the reputation and ethics survey that we conducted on the African continent.
- 2018 Businesswomen’s Association, Regional Business Achiever Award NOMINEE
- 2018 BCW Global’s reputation research partner in Africa
- 2018 The SABRE Award for Superior Achievement in Measurement and Evaluation WINNER
- 2018 The SABRE Award for Associations WINNER
- 2018 The SABRE Award Corporate Image Certificate of Excellence
- 2015 Rotary International: Double Paul Harris for Public Image
- 2016 Businesswomen’s Association, Regional Business Achiever Award FINALIST
- 2015 I wrote and published the book: Reputation Matters, Building Blocks to becoming the businesspeople want to do business with (ISBN 978 1920526429).
- 2012 Rated number 1 Reputation Management Company in South Africa (TopSEOs)
- 2011 Bronze Winners: PRISA Prism awards in the category: Corporate Communication.