Your reputation is one of the few things that will stick with you forever. It’s a small world, even in big cities like Los Angeles or New York City. You will end up working with and running into the same people over and over again. How you handle yourself and your business will quickly solidify your reputation in the business community. Your reputation is very sticky, and once set, it’s hard to unstick. As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” It only takes one or two events for your reputation to be set. As a result, make it a top priority to protect your reputation and that of your company. Protect and nurture it with the business community in the same way you handle it with your customers. Be transparent, direct, and honest. There is little adversity in the good times, so you will be judged most by how you handle yourself in the bad times. Therefore, when times get tough, dig deep and do the right thing. When in doubt, take the moral high ground. It’s longer and harder, but worth the extra effort. Even if the right decision means you have to shut down your business, an untarnished reputation will allow you to bounce back quickly.