If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a successful private business owner like so many of our readers or you’re aspiring to be a successful private business owner. Part of being successful in business is getting visibility, getting people to know who you are and getting people that understand your business. After all, the more people know who you are, the more people that see you, the more likely you are to find that perfect customer.
It’s like having a billboard on the side of the road that your customers drive past every day. What is that worth just to have people know who you are, and see your name?
One of the keys to building a meaning brand and stature is to be true to yourself. I’ve looked at my journey and I’ve looked at the journey of others as they’ve built a brand, as they’ve built a presence, as they’ve gotten more people to interact with them and there seems to be some common themes.
#1 Authority is cumulative. Your ability to be an authority, your ability to influence thought and to be called upon as a resource is cumulative – a collection of all your work. People are going to look at a variety of things when they’re determining whether you are the right source. They’re going to look at your business, your professional background and credentials, your media appearances, the events that you’ve attended and hosted and spoke at, whether you have a book, and other things. They’re going to look all of this as a totality. At some point, there’s a cumulative effect. The size, scope and amount of these items will determine whether you’re determined to be an authority or not.
#2 It starts to build. As your authority increases, as you do more and more media appearances, more and more speeches, and more and more events people start to single you out. They will see you through all the noise. They know that you are capable of doing it because you’ve done it in different contexts and they will know you can help them.
#3 At some point you have to start saying no. At some point opportunities will start coming to you faster than you can take them in. This seems very far away when you’re first starting out. When you’re first starting out, you’re digging for opportunities. You’re looking for people to accept you and wanting to go somewhere. As your brand builds and as you become more powerful people will actually seek you out. I’ve appeared on a number of podcasts lately and some media. More and more often it is the media hosts approaching me rather than me approaching them. They see my credibility; they see my authority. They know that I’ve done this before. I’m taking a lot of risk off the table for them. Because they know that they’re inviting a known quantity onto the show. They’re not taking the chances that they would be with an unknown guest.
They also want to tap into my following. They know that I’m building a following through my blog, my book, social media and speaking (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com). While the numbers of my followers may be much lower than some other experts, they know that my following is growing. By tapping into it, they can grow their following. It’s a cumulative effect for them too.
What lessons can we take away? How can you or your organization build your authority? I think a key is for everybody to know that authority is cumulative and that it has to be built it over time. There is no one answer. You don’t wake up one day and say, “I want to be an authority,” proclaim yourself an authority and start booking on media, podcasts or speaking events. You have to build it. You have to have others see you as the authority. You want to be involved in articles, to be quoted and build your authority over time.
The other thing that’s clear is that this is not a linear path. Rarely do we see somebody get to be an established authority by any one path. It’s not just one large speaking engagement, one blog article or one book (in most cases). It’s usually these elements combined together – a book, a speech, a blog and a guest article on a site all combined together. All of this stuff works cumulatively together.
The key is a building process.
Start small. Work for accessible events and in accessible locations that already know you or are within your reach and get bigger and bigger. Just like a recording artist. If you are following a musician or singer that you love, you probably found out that their career started at small venues leading to bigger venues. Then one day there were breakout events — a large concert, opening for a major act, getting on a TV show or something that seems random but was seeded by a lot of prior work.
It’s no different when you’re building your brand or your business. The key is to keep planting seeds. Keep looking for small opportunities to get your name out there. Make these small opportunities become bigger and bigger opportunities.
What’s been your experience with this? Where are you in the process? What are you trying to do in the future? Join us in the comments below.
Keep planting seeds to succeed.
Look for small opportunities to become bigger opportunities.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer toomas jarvet.
About the Author
Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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