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Position Yourself As An Authority, And Watch Business Boom

It is a pre-requisite in business these days that the founder, CEO or principal must become an authority in their industry.

Ken Dunn

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Let’s face it, it is tough building a business today. There is more competition then ever. There are new widgets and gadgets, that are confusing your clients, every day.

Long gone are the days when your customers would just buy because of a good product and a good price – they want more! Consumers are looking for an experience or a feeling. Your customers want more then ever for their money. They want to be emotionally stimulated.

Your competitors have already figured it out and they’re stealing your business. Twenty years ago, business owners made it a habit of holding all of their information “close to the chest.” It would seem insane for the principle of the business to go out and speak publicly about how they were different, why they were growing so fast or why new customers were flocking to their doors. We use to call this information “trade secrets.”

Related: 3 Brilliant Books To Help You Launch Your Business

Today, those same principals and CEOs have realised that sharing the secrets is the key to winning the loyalty of clients and customers. New terms like authority, expert and thought leader have completely changed how people do business today.

In the best-selling book Behind The Cloud, Salesforce.com Founder Marc Benioff goes into great detail on the strategy that he used to bring significant attention to his SaaS start up.  He positioned himself as an authority on anything to do with human resources, politics and business.

Whenever something was happening in the media, Benioff would reach out to TV and national radio and get himself on air to give his opinion. Sometimes, he would have to make up his opinion as he went on.

Benioff proved that becoming an authority would propel his business onto the world stage. Today, Salesforce.com is the market leader. They host annual events with over one hundred attendees from all over the world, and they are 10 times bigger then their closest competitor.

If asked, Benioff would undoubtedly agree that his authority status was worth millions of dollars in advertising and new revenue. If we dissect Benioff’s authority strategy, we can quickly see three good reasons for you to focus on becoming an authority in your industry.

Related: Business & Leadership Lessons from Kumaran of Spartan

1. Brings attention to you

Julius-CaesarYou are the principle of the business. This is one case where a little ego will go a long way. Any attention that comes to the founder or CEO of the business will inevitably bring more revenue to the company.

Every time you are introduced as an authority, the first thing said after your name is the name of your company.

The more you are speaking on stage, being interview on TV or giving an opinion on radio, the more people are going to learn about your business. If you’re really savvy, you will also figure out how to weave your business into then things you say as examples.

2. Brings new customers to your business

Consumers always want to be associated with the best-in-class product. If you have ever tried to launch a new product in a crowded space where there is a true market-leader, you understand how difficult it actually is.

What is most frustrating is when you know that the reigning “best-in-class” is an inferior product. The only thing that trumps the best-in-class spending habits of consumers is a new product being launched by the leading authority in the space.

Look at what is happening with Tim Fargo’s startup, Tweet Jukebox. Fargo has been one of the leading expert users (authorities) on Twitter for years. He recently launched a new tool to help Twitter users post better content, more often – and it’s an overnight success.

Now, I am addicted to Tweet Jukebox and think it’s a great product, but I wouldn’t have wasted a second looking at it, if it weren’t for Fargo’s authority status on Twitter.

Related: 8 Secrets Your Business Mentor Won’t Tell You

3. Increases loyalty in your customers

Loyalty-fansReal “authorities” will be incredibly passionate about a chosen subject. They will be publishing articles with their thoughts regularly. They will be Tweeting, Facebooking, Pinning and writing on Reader’s Legacy on a daily basis, and their customers will follow every word, loyally.

Ken Blanchard wrote a wonderful parable on the art of creating customer loyalty called Raving Fans. In it, Blanchard touches on the importance of authority positioning. It is becoming harder and harder to win the hearts of new customers, so you need to do everything you can to keep the ones you have.

Positioning yourself as an authority and communicating with your customers, through every means possible, will increase their loyalty.

Customers want to follow the champion.

I am going to spend the next couple of months studying and writing on the art of becoming an authority.

I am convinced that it is becoming a pre-requisite in business that the founder, CEO or principal must become an authority in their industry. If you don’t do it, you will be destroyed by your competition – because their principle is taking this stuff seriously. They are becoming an authority.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Ken Dunn is the author of five books on sales, marketing and business and has sold more than 250,000 books in 10 languages around the world. Dunn is the founder and CEO of ReadersLegacy.com and Next Century Publishing.

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Strategy

4 Ways To Find Your Own Business Style

The only way to develop a business style is step-by-step over time.

Timothy Sykes

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Finding a style in finance will define how you react to changes and how you approach new situations. It’s as important in business as it is in stock trading. Developing a business style and developing a stock trading system are extremely similar pursuits.

But I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy to do. It will take time and you do have to be willing to work at it.

Here are my four ways of finding your own business style.

1. Get rid of your expectations

You can’t force anything to work. It’s necessary for you to be flexible when it comes to finding a business style. Begin by letting go of any expectations you have before trying a new style.

Prior to attempting a new style, you have to be willing to go into it with no expectations. You never know what you’re going to find.

Related: 8 Steps to Building Your Business According to the Lifestyle You Want

2. Track your movements

Some things are going to work and some things aren’t going to work. I always tell my students in the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge that they should keep records of the things they’re doing. Keep these records as detailed as possible because attempting trial and error can quickly lead you in circles.

Don’t fall into the trap (as I did in the beginning) of trying the same thing multiple times because you never tracked the results.

I keep large spreadsheets with notes of the various styles and systems I’ve tried in business. Business mistakes can be costly, so you need to do everything you can to avoid making them.

3. Look at what others are doing

business-options

I refuse to believe that someone is doing something truly unique. The moment someone makes a breakthrough in business there are a hundred people replicating the same things. And that can be a powerful tool. Consider what others are doing and see whether you can learn something.

It’s why I also advocate finding a mentor to help you out. They’ll be able to help you out and you’ll benefit from their enhanced experiences in business.

Again, track what you’re taking from other people so you know whether something is working.

Related: I Started Saying ‘No’ To These 6 Things. My Life And My Business Got A Lot Better

4. Refine what you do

Rarely will anything in business work the first time. However, your first attempts will give you a good benchmark as to what you need to do next.

You should never be satisfied with what you have, even if it’s working. Always work on improving your business style. I believe this is the most important thing because it also teaches you how to adapt to changing conditions over time.

Last Word – Constantly Growing

There’s no step-by-step guide for how to develop a business style. The only way to do it is to obey the fundamentals and then develop everything over time.

Even though the process is long, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot of lessons and gain from a huge number of experiences over time.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Strategy

6 Questions You Should Be Asking When Coaching

Top athletes have coaches because they’re winners. Business leaders should be the same.

Nadine Todd

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Dr Marshall Goldsmith

Whether you’re a CEO looking for a mentor, coaching your management team, or structuring a coaching programme for your managers to implement, there are six questions that can help anyone get better at anything.

The expert

Dr Marshall Goldsmith is a best-selling author and world-renowned business educator and coach. He has coached top CEOs, including Alan Mulally, former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company.

The key to a successful coaching programme is simple dialogue and establishing responsibility. The person being coached must understand and agree that success lies in their hands. They must take responsibility for their actions.

Related: How Business Coaching Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

The method

Once every few months, have a direct coaching session. Ask (or answer for yourself) these six questions:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. What are you doing well?
  4. Do you have suggestions for my improvement?
  5. How can I help you?
  6. So you have suggestions for me?

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Strategy

4 Ways To Develop The Leaders You’ll Need In The Future

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership development is consistently and effectively identifying the next wave of leaders.

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One of the most challenging aspects of leadership development is consistently and effectively identifying the next wave of leaders.

It can be easy for those at the top to forget that eventually someone will have to take their place at the helm. And ignoring that fact has lead to issues with succession planning, unwanted turnover and other challenges in leadership development in many organisations.

2016 High Impact Leadership research from Bersin by Deloitte asked 2,422 HR and business leaders from around the world how well they believed they could discover new leadership talent. Just 35 percent of respondents said they were above average when it came to successfully identifying and developing leaders.

To understand why this is, consider the typical leadership development paradox. Traditionally, the first step is to choose who has leadership potential, then develop their skillset. Logically, however, this makes little sense.

How is it possible to identify effective leaders if employees have yet to receive any type of leadership development?

Here are four ways to properly identify better qualified candidates for leadership positions:

1Stop choosing potential leaders based on unrelated skills

Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager Report, which studied 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries, found that the top two reasons employees are promoted to management positions are because they were successful in a non-managerial role or because of their tenure with the company. Neither of those criteria have any proven correlation with leadership skills or relevant experience.

Create a better means of measuring for true leadership potential. Look at the culture of the organisation and envision what it would look like for someone to lead by those values.

Also consider how successful leaders evolved over time in the organisation. Then use that information to make a list of recognisable traits to look for as signs of leadership potential.

2Broaden leadership development to more employees

People learn and grow at their own unique pace. Requiring that an employee reach a certain position or be with the company for a certain number of years before they’re offered leadership opportunities holds back those who might be ready for more responsibility now. Or even worse, it might push those who aren’t yet ready into leadership roles.

Instead, let leadership development be a company-wide initiative. This gives more people the chance to take the next step in their career. It also creates a larger pool of possible great leaders to draw from across the organisation.

3Track progress and growth

Track progress and growth

There’s no way of knowing who is ready to step up and lead unless development is monitored. Remember that this is a process. Employees need feedback from their mentors and coaches to know for certain what skills they’ve mastered as well as where there can still be improvements made.

Develop a way to assess progress for different leadership positions, and be clear with employees and coaches about what success would look like in different situations. For instance, explain what is expected of a first time project leader.

Get everyone on the same page about the developing leader’s responsibilities and how that should guide their team.

Then collect thorough feedback from all those involved. Ask the leadership candidate what challenges they faced as well as where they think they thrived. Pose the same questions to those they supervised and organisational mentors.

Over time, this will reveal patterns that make it easier to identify who is best suited for leadership in the long-term.

4Focus on continual leadership development

There is no such thing as too much experience. There is always more that can be learned. After leadership candidates have been identified, continue to nurture them. This keeps employees from feeling that they have plateaued, which is unfortunately common.

The 2014 Insigniam Middle Management Survey: Middle Management’s Critical Role In Saving Company Innovation looked at responses from 200 middle managers from around the world. It found that only 15 percent of managers believe they will ever be promoted to the next level of leadership at their company.

Whether intentionally or not, employees who have proven their leadership abilities are being told that their leadership journey is over – and this hurts both them and the organisation. Encourage a steady stream of highly trained and skilled leaders working their way up by demonstrating that there is no end to development.

In order to clearly see who the next wave of leaders is going to be, employees need to be given the chance to hone and exercise their skills.

That means redefining how leadership potential is identified and providing each employee with the chance to develop personally and professionally.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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