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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

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Self Development

Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute

Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.

John Boitnott

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Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.

I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.

Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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Self Development

To Be Successful Stay Far Away From These 7 Types of Toxic People

You need a network of talented people, not toxic personalities who undermine you.

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Surrounding yourself with prospective mentors is an excellent way to build lifelong success. When Steve Jobs founded Apple, he learned from colleagues like Steve Wozniak about what it took to build computer hardware. And he learned from early investors like Mike Markkula about what it took to build a successful company and market a product. Now imagine if Jobs had surrounded himself with toxic personalities instead. It is likely that he would not have been able to create a company that is on course to be valued at $1 trillion.

If you interact with people who demonstrate questionable behaviour, you’re more likely to model that behaviour yourself or to become stressed as a result. At the very least, you will be missing out on the opportunity to network with more successful and inspiring individuals.

This article will review seven personality types that should be eliminated from your life in order to build your most successful self. Once these people are gone, you can work on building a network of people who influence you positively.

1. Micromanagers

According to a report by NPR, micromanagement is one of the biggest factors associated with employee dissatisfaction, lowered motivation and lack of professional creativity. To be successful, you must learn to solve problems independently. Micromanaging can make it difficult to develop these skills.

Related: Keep An Eye Out For Toxic Employees

2. Short-term thinkers

If you surround yourself with short-term thinkers, it will be difficult to know if an idea is destined for long-term success. Those who are narrow-minded may be more likely to dismiss one of your ideas because it will take time to develop into a meaningful success.

Take the creation of Airbnb as an example. The company was founded in 2008. At the time the “sharing economy” did not exist, and hotel chains like Starwood and Hilton dominated the lodging market. A short-term thinker would have criticised an idea like Airbnb.

In order for the company to be successful, Airbnb would need to change people’s attitudes and expectations about travel. They would need to encourage people to be comfortable staying with strangers, and they would need to find ways to mitigate possible liability should something tragic happen during a customer’s stay.

Well-respected venture capitalists decided to pass on Airbnb because of these short-term concerns. The Airbnb founders were only able to find success once they connected with people who were comfortable thinking long term.

3. Pessimists

pessimistsPessimism is not always a bad trait; at times it can help entrepreneurs to recognize certain pitfalls that might otherwise be overlooked. However, a steady diet of pessimism is toxic when it comes to taking big professional risks.

As David Armor, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, says, “An entrepreneur starting up a company, for example, might drive himself to work 18-hour days for months and even years because he optimistically believes that there will be a big payoff for him at the end.” Conversely, a pessimistic attitude would make it difficult to tolerate such a prolonged stressful situation.

For those interested in taking on stressful professional situations, pessimistic people should be avoided in most cases.

Related: Tips on how to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic Workplace

4. Selfish people

Relationships that contribute to success are mutually beneficial. This dynamic cannot exist when dealing with selfish people. As a result, it is best to eliminate selfish people from your life in order to make room for more giving relationships.

A recent study found that a job applicant who is referred by an existing employee is 15 times more likely to be hired than someone who applies via a job board. If you befriend a selfish person, you probably can’t rely on them to introduce you to new career opportunities. However, forming connections with someone who is altruistic could give you a professional leg up.

5. Risk-averse personalities

Business success is about making informed decisions by weighing risks and rewards. If you are surrounded by people who over-index on possible risks while ignoring the possible rewards, it will be challenging to identify good business opportunities.

Take Amazon as an example. In 2014 Amazon launched a smartphone called the Fire Phone. In the end, the phone was not successful. Following the unsuccessful launch of the Fire Phone, risk-averse people might have avoided developing another piece of computer hardware.

But instead, Amazon correctly assessed the opportunity for an in-home smart speaker, and launched the Amazon Echo just one year later. Today, Echo has 75 percent of the smart-speaker market in the United States.

6. Unmotivated individuals

People who lack motivation or work ethic set a bad example for those interested in working diligently to become a professional success. There is no worse colleague than someone who simply does the bare minimum to get by.

Rather than associate yourself with people who cut corners or avoid hard work, try to surround yourself with people who are motivated to succeed. Collaborating with people who have a healthy drive for success can instill an extra dose of motivation in you.

Related: 3 Strategies for Dealing With Toxic People

7. Spendthrifts

Financial responsibility is a critically important quality to develop if you want to become successful. Warren Buffet is perhaps the supreme example of a financially responsible and successful person.

Buffet is the third wealthiest person in the world, worth nearly $80 billion. But despite his professional success, Buffet does not spend his money on flashy cars or large homes. In fact, Buffet still lives in the modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, that he purchased in 1958.

Those who associate with spendthrifts may be more motivated to make irresponsible financial decisions in order to fit in. At the very least, it will be harder to associate with people who make good financial choices, as these personalities are frequently diametrically opposed.

Conclusion

Business is all about who you know. From landing a new job to launching a new company, your network will enable or prevent future professional success. When developing a network of talented people, it is best to avoid toxic personalities who could set a bad example or demotivate you.

Be sure to avoid people who are micromanagers and short-term thinkers, as they can make it difficult to think autonomously. Risk-averse individuals or pessimists may cause you to think twice about great business ideas, and spendthrifts or selfish people may hamper your ability to grow. Last but not least, stay away from unmotivated individuals, as your success is dependent on your willingness to work diligently in order to succeed.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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