3 Reasons Successful Entrepreneurs Should Become Online Thought Leaders
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"Bill" is a dynamic CEO who, during his tenure, has taken his company from $5 billion to over $55.75 billion. He is a Slicon Valley darling praised by his peers at every turn. In addition to leading his company, Bill has a real zest for personal self-mastery and for educating youth.
His only problem is no one outside of the Valley has ever heard of him.
Imagine the impact this CEO could leave behind for his children and grandchildren. Imagine the wisdom he has inside his mind, which will die with him if he doesn’t create an avenue to capture and share it. In short, it’s time that Bill create something permanent which can span generations. It’s time to build his thought leadership legacy.
What, exactly, is thought leadership?
Legacy is not something successful entrepreneurs often think about until later in life. Does this sound familiar? You may be a business leader like Bill, who tends to focus only on the task at hand: growing your business. You don’t stop to think about the impact you are making through your business or your personal brand.
But think about a different scenario: Imagine reaching thousands of people around the world with the most important life and business lessons you have to offer. Imagine the ripple effect of getting your message in front of all those dreamers, makers and entrepreneurs worldwide The generations to come are going to be filled with creators with the potential to positively expand humanity; and those creators need your help.
In fact, they really need your help, because our society is in flux. Our youth are caught in a hazy transition between the conventional life their parents experienced and the world of the future that creativity and technology are leading us toward. What do youth need to utilize their creative gifts? The answer is courage and the right mindset. Today, more than ever, they need thought leaders.
This could mean you. It could mean your message. It’s time to turn the significance of what you have accomplished into a long-term legacy that could potentially have a worldwide impact while at the same time growing your business. You just have to recognize the importance of building your thought leadership and legacy online, as outlined in the following three reasons for doing exactly that:
1. Moves you from commodity to expert
One of the fastest ways to grow your company is to be more visible. Becoming a thought leader in your industry will bring a ton of attention to your business. People follow people. The more human you can make your company’s brand, the better.
For example, a financial advisor looking to attract more high-net-worth clients will benefit greatly from the increased ease of selling, frequent referrals and a longer retention of services. The more clients look at that advisor as a thought leader, the easier it will be for that advisor to grow his or her practice.
2. Bonds you to your team
The best leaders lead with empathy. They connect with their team. When your team members see you as a trusted expert, they buy into what you are saying in a bigger way. You clearly show them your vision. This inspires them and creates a more cohesive environment.
Team members who fully buy into their leader are more engaged and more focused, and have a clearer understanding of why they are doing what they do.
3. Creates a positive impact on the world.
Your life and your business should have a bigger meaning beyond just making money. While profits are to business what food is to the human body, humans don’t exist to just eat food, and businesses don’t exist just to make money. They need a bigger mission. A higher purpose.
Creating a thought leadership brand online will get your mission and messages in front of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, around the world. Always remember, this generation’s hindsight will be the next generation's foresight.
What does it take to be an online thought leader? There are three things you need to be a thought leader online.
Your legacy manifesto. What do you want to share with the world? What causes are important to you? What are your biggest life and business lessons? A helpful exercise is to visualize your own funeral. What do you want your friends, family and coworkers to say about your character, contributions and achievements?
Getting clear on the overall mission and then the messages that move that mission is the deep work you need to do before building anything online.
2. Your legacy platform. The main piece here is your website. Your website is the center of your entire thought leadership platform online. Having the right words and images to represent your mission is key. I also consider a podcast or a book as part of your platform. Further, social media and search results are important to distribute the next part -- your legacy content.
3. Your legacy content. If your platform is your legacy distribution system, your content is where your legacy manifesto is packaged and shipped to others. The medium you choose is up to you but I highly recommend using video as your core content vehicle. Video allows you to connect at a much deeper level with your audience. Video is also the easiest of the various communication channels to repurpose into audios, blog posts and social media content.
The good news is that thought leadership doesn’t take as much time to build as you might think. If you can commit a few hours a year, there are agencies that can film you and create a year's worth of content from just a couple of days' work. They can also build your website and most importantly help you define the exact legacy messages you want to share. By investing just a few hours a year, you can impact people around the world.
As the great artist Pablo Picasso once said: “The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.” Now is the time to get clear on your biggest gifts and start giving them away to create a legacy that grows your business and makes a positive impact on the world for generations to come.
It’s time for you to open up and become the thought leader you are destined to be.