Becoming an authority in your industry can be a great way to promote your business and help you better serve your clients. It takes a consistent dose of education and risk, but the rewards can be well worth the effort.
Why? Becoming a go-to person for industry leadership should incentivize potential clients to seek out your wealth of knowledge. The bottom line is that authority can lead to profitability.
Here are seven steps that can allow anyone to develop a reputation as an industry leader:
1. Think like a leader. For entrepreneurs, this might go without saying, but your life and business will change the moment you begin to think like a leader. Leaders aren't focused on trying to maintain the status quo. They're focused on doing what must be done to ensure growth and profitability in the future, which is not an easy road to take.
2. Innovate. New things get noticed. This means you can't be afraid to present something new to your market, even if it's just a variation or an addition to an already-existing product or service. Simply innovating doesn't guarantee success, but you'll learn far more from the risks you take than by maintaining the status quo.
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3. Keep the lines of communication open. Your clients are critical to your business. Don't lose touch with who they are and why they've chosen to do business with you. That means call or send a friendly email every couple weeks to stay in contact. This also means you keep up with key employees who interact with your clients on a day-to-day basis. The moment you lose touch with your market, you're done.
4. Publicly address industry changes. Every industry has changes that affect the way business is done. Strive to address these changes through an online platform such as a company blog. Detail your opinion, along with tangible ways to make the most of it. This can allow you to be seen as an industry leader and potentially increase traffic to your site as people begin to search out information and answers about these changes.
5. Respect your time. Being an authority doesn't mean you must solve everyone's problems. Your main responsibility is to continue growing, innovating and sharing your knowledge. Don't allow people to suck up all your time with their questions or problems. Learn to say "no" more often. Yes, you want to assist people, but not at the expense of losing your edge or slowing down your innovation.
6. Develop your intuition. The most successful leaders I know have learned to "trust their gut." But this doesn't happen overnight. It takes practice to learn when it's your gut talking or when it's just fear or pride. Your business life requires you to make difficult decision and sacrifices. Just remember that your intuition should get a vote, too. It's not always about numbers and statistics.
7. Keep learning. Industry leaders are students of their craft. Study the great success and failures of your industry. Also learn from people outside of your industry to see which principles are transferable to what you're doing. I know the phrase "never stop learning" is nothing new, but are you really practicing it?
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