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Self Development

Become a Household Name

To become a guru, you must leave a trail of bread-crumbs that potential clients can follow.

Douglas Kruger

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Thought leadership is the most relevant new skill for sales teams, brands and entrepreneurs. When your organisation is seen as the guiding light, the household name, the go-to source, it becomes the logical business choice for those seeking to spend in your industry.

When you, individually, are viewed on all the right platforms, you become seen as more than just an entrepreneur. You’re seen as an industry expert and they start coming to you.

The best part is that it’s free. It requires only effort and intelligence to implement.

The alternative is to remain a low-level operator, selling items piecemeal, knocking on doors, ringing phones and attempting to reach one prospect at a time. It’s often less lucrative, requires greater effort and isn’t self-replicating. When he sleeps, the low-level operator’s profits come to a halt.

Remember: Experts always leave a trail of bread-crumbs.

Think about it: Your goal is to become the guru, dispensing wisdom to the crowds from a hillside. Of course, in place of a hillside, you want audiences flocking to your website, attending your presentations and events, viewing your articles and interviews and ultimately, buying into your brand and products.

But first, they must know where to find you

Every time you are featured publically, you should leave a trail of breadcrumbs. If they follow you up the hillside, you are a guru. If they don’t, you’re just a vagrant hillbilly.

Different kinds of crumbs:

Let’s start with the most obvious form of breadcrumbs: Your contact details. You should never conclude an interview, speech or published article without a basic means for people to reach you. Contact details are critical, but they also constitute only Level One in terms of what you can achieve with breadcrumbs.

Level Two is encouraging followers. You can invite your market to do that on the various social platforms. Extend the invitation and then provide your LinkedIn name or Twitter handle.  As a sidebar, always remember to follow back anyone who follows you on Twitter. That’s just how it works.

And yet, these two levels still represent a bare minimum. What you really want to do is provide Level Three Breadcrumbs.

Level Three is made up of compelling, must-have crumbs, of the kind that people cannot possibly resist. They follow the crumbs because they are mesmerized by them. They are mesmerized by them because you have designed them to be so. Level Three breadcrumbs are achieved with The Promise of More.

The Promise of More:

In 2010, car manufacturer Hyundai began upping the ante in terms of their relatively humble positioning. They launched the Sonata with a series of ads featuring extreme close-ups of the dash, the steering wheel, the bonnet, without actually revealing which brand was being advertised. They ended with the intriguing tagline, ‘Re-think luxury,’ and a link to a website. Almost everyone I know went on to that site to discover the manufacturer’s identity. I certainly did. That was a compelling trail of bread-crumbs.

In Hyundai’s case, the element of attraction was ‘mystery.’ But yours could be anything: the promise of free, useful content, entertaining videos, downloads, a quiz, a game, a trivia test… You are limited only by your imagination and the creative skills of your web designer.

And, of course, your trail needn’t lead exclusively to websites. You might create a business card (crumb), which, when presented at your premises, entitles the bearer to a very engaging and entertaining X.

But even business cards are fairly obvious. Instead, how about giving away free, one-page fliers with valuable information? For instance, if you want to be the leading voice in fashion advice, could you design a single-page hand-out with ‘Ten Fashion Foibles to Avoid’? That’s a keepable crumb!

Keepable Crumbs

I once designed a small flier with a few educational bullet-points, which a staff member at a large corporate company tagged to her cubicle wall. Her boss saw the flier and booked me for a speaking engagement. When crumbs are kept, your dialogue goes on. Your brand speaks even in your absence.

Get creative with your crumbs:

I have a keynote presentation called ‘The Rules of Hamster Thinking.’ For that reason, my own business cards feature all my details on the front, and a summary of the Rules of Hamster Thinking on the back. On my site, I have a series of free articles, many of which feature ideas about Hamster Thinking in corporations.

Creating crumbs

So rather than allow valuable instances of public exposure to become flash-in-the-pan brand moments, your goal is to create ongoing dialogue. Do that by ensuring that your trail of breadcrumbs will:

  • Enable them to reach you
  • Invite them to follow you on social platforms
  • Entice them to engage further with intriguing offers of more; and
  • Be the kind of crumb people will keep.

Scatter your crumbs broadly, but scatter them with intelligent design. Use every interview, every speech, every instance of public appearance to leave your trail of crumbs, but do it tactfully. A compelling crumb is more valuable than a series of leave-behind business cards. The Offer of More is endlessly more enticing than mere contact details.

Leave the right kind of trail, and they will follow you up the hillside.

Douglas Kruger is the only speaker in Africa to have won the Southern African Championships for Public Speaking a record five times. He is the author of ‘50 Ways to Become a Better Speaker,’ published in South Africa and Nigeria, ‘50 Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert,’ and co-author of ‘So You’re in Charge. Now What? 52 Ways to Become a Better Leader.’ See Douglas in action, or read his articles, at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Email him at Kruger@compute.co.za, or connect with him on Linked In or Twitter: @DouglasKruger

Self Development

The 5 Gut-Check Questions Confronting Entrepreneurs Every Day

The day you forget why you began is the day you’re done.

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https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/314209

Entrepreneurs make an astounding number of decisions daily. They are faced with choosing which opportunities to move on and must solve problems big and small.

By setting up a framework of questions to ask yourself daily, you’ll give yourself some markers to help guide you through these difficult situations. Knowing where you stand on these questions will empower you to make good choices that ultimately lead you to your desired outcome. It will give you a deeper understanding of your motivations and your feelings about your business, and can help you clarify future plans.

Here are five powerful questions all entrepreneurs should ask themselves daily to ensure they are consistently moving toward their goals and making the best decisions for themselves and their business. Ask yourself these questions with an honest and open mind, and see where they take you.

1. Why are you doing this?

What makes this one little question so powerful is that it forces you to examine your desires and impulses, and helps you chart how those motivations change over time. It forces you to look at things from a different perspective. Asking yourself this question every day reaffirms your ambitions and the mindset behind why you are doing what you’re doing. If you don’t know why, you’re in trouble!

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

Asking this question opens the door to a plethora of other questions that will give you food for thought. What is the reason for launching your business? Why are you passionate about doing this? Are you the right person to run this business? These answers may change over time. At first it may seem difficult to truly nail down the “why” behind your motivations. Maybe there are competing interests that are driving you. But when you really think about it and drill down into this question, there’s probably a simple answer. Just be sure you’re being truthful with yourself.

Why you do something also gives rise to the question: what do you hope to achieve? You need to know what your end game looks like, and what success means to you. Is it about attaining a certain level of wealth? Is it about being the top in your market? Is it about earning respect? Are you looking to rule the world (or at least a niche market), or are you simply hoping to earn a living doing something you love?

Start your day by asking yourself this question and see where your answer takes you. By spending a few minutes pondering this, you’ll gain clarity that will help you steer your career in the direction you want it to go.

2. What is your company’s purpose?

purposeSee if you can answer this question in a single sentence. A good place to start is with your mission statement: what are the formal aims, goals and values of your company or organisation? This should be clear and concise – it should get to the heart of what your business is about.

Your company’s purpose is the foundation that all else is built on. It should have enough flexibility to grow and allow for change, but be specific enough to be meaningful and relevant. Ultimately, this question should help you understand what the heck you’re really doing here.

This question should be at the forefront of your mind when making important decisions. Ask yourself whether this new venture or idea would reinforce or logically contribute to your company’s overall purpose. Are you staying true to your calling?

That’s not to say that your purpose can’t change over time. However, if it does, the change should be purposeful and executed with care. Thinking about this will help you identify your long-term business goals and may lead to bigger questions, such as: What do you want your company to mean to your customers, what is your company’s place in world and what is its ideal market?

3. Where is your business at right now?

The goal with this question is to take both an analytical and emotional assessment of your business. This is a chance for you to take a hard look at where your company sits. Is it on the right track? What seems amiss? What is going right and how can that be reproduced throughout your business?

It’s also important to acknowledge your emotions and to be mindful of how you are feeling about your business. What is your gut instinct saying? Are you feeling anxious or excited about the business? Whether you are having negative emotions or positive ones, it’s important to recognise what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way.

This will give you a chance to better understand your mental state and how that may be influencing your decision making. It’s also about understanding what kind of vibe you are putting out. Are you feeling clear-minded and balanced? Or are you feeling off-kilter and out of sorts?

Being in tune with your emotions and having a clear view of what’s going on with your business will ensure you’re on an even keel. It will help you avoid overreacting or under-reacting to situations.

Related: Attention Black Entrepreneurs: Start-Up Funding From Government Grants & Funds

4. What lessons are you learning?

Every entrepreneur faces an uphill battle to achieve success. Every day you should be learning and growing, and the best way to do this is through a great deal of reflection on the lessons that present themselves each day.

Ask yourself whether you’re learning from your mistakes. Failure is a part of every entrepreneur’s journey. The question is, will your mistakes allow you to learn and grow? If not, you’re liable to fall into the same pitfalls and missteps. Conversely, are you learning when to jump at an opportunity and when to let it go? This is the ultimate lesson every entrepreneur is trying to learn, and it’s never an easy one.

The next time you’re weighing whether or not to take a risk, try asking yourself: “When I’m 80, will I feel sorry if I hadn’t gone for it?” Jeff Bezos does this as a way to crystallise whether he will regret not taking action on something. In the big picture, it’s often what we fail to do that we see as our biggest mistakes in life.

5. What’s next?

If you ask yourself one question every day, this should be it. As an entrepreneur, you always need to be anticipating what’s next. You need to anticipate what’s coming down the road and formulate a plan to take it on. This is the question that forces you to look up from that pile of work on your desk and think about the big picture and next steps for your business.

What strategies will you need as you keep pushing your business into the future? What trends or shifting interests are coming up that may affect your business? How will new technology impact the way you manage the company?

Disruption will happen in every market because change is inevitable. Businesses that survive see that wave coming and start making adjustments early on. So, in a way, change is predictable because it will always come. Innovation and ingenuity will always be the key to success – and those who seize opportunity will ride the crest of the next wave.

So when you ask yourself “What’s next?” make sure you have your blinders off and are looking at things with a curious and open mind. Make sure you’re staying open to new ideas and embracing creative solutions. Keeping looking for the “wow” factor.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Self Development

5 Inspiring Quotes From Madiba To Stir You Into Action On Mandela Day

In honour of Mandela Day, here are 5 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspiring quotes.

Casandra Visser

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Bouncing Back

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“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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Self Development

25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

If the harshest thing you have to say about someone is partly true, say the other part.

John Rampton

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word-choice

Did you know that in every language, there are more negative words than positive ones? It seems we need lots of words to describe our negative feelings, but we’re content with a handful of positive ones.

For instance, researchers have found that most cultures have words for seven basic emotions: Joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame and guilt.

That’s one positive emotion, and six negative

It’s no wonder so many of us have a hard time keeping our negative comments in check. Over the past six months I’ve been working on the verbal language that I’ve been using that I don’t even realize hurts others and in some cases makes them feel inferior. I even noticed that I’ve used a couple on my personal and business website. This is a “no-no” that I needed to fix.

This post will list 25 negative words you should avoid…so that you stop hurting, belittling and intimidating those around you!

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