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Popularity Contest

No one succeeds all on their own. Be a stand-up business person and gain popularity with those who can help.

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In today's fast-paced world, entrepreneurs can no longer create success alone. We need to inspire others to help us gather the right resources and establish the necessary contacts to achieve our goals. Since people like to work with those they respect and trust, a top priority for an entrepreneur is to develop a positive business reputation.

As the owner of a business, you must not only drive sales and motivate employees, but also serve as your company's spokesperson. Nothing helps solidify long-term relationships--and your competitive position--like a sterling reputation.

To accelerate the process of becoming a stand-up businessperson with a reputation that attracts business as well as referrals:

1. Use passion as your foundation. Not many people in the world dare to explore their passion, let alone create a living from it. People respect and admire those who are willing to pursue their dreams. Let your passion be the basis for your business and for your conversations. It motivates others to help you succeed. People will quickly recognize your trustworthiness because you have demonstrated that you will excel at doing what you love.

2. Stick to the truth. Be truthful, and deliver on your promises--this is key to developing and maintaining a great reputation. Your conviction will attract customers and business associates because it affirms their trust in your ability to take action.

Clearly tell others what you are going to deliver to them, then do it. Nothing is more time-consuming or detrimental to your reputation than trying to hide the truth. Consistently state the facts--then, if a problem should arise, people will find assurance in your openness and confidence in your ability to resolve any issue.

3. Listen more often than you speak. Listening is a rare quality that everyone appreciates. Silence shows respect for other people's ideas and recommendations, and it will be extended back to you. You will be amazed by the new strategies and contacts you discover.

Your reputation can be damaged when you speak out of turn or in haste. More often than not, people perceive that those who talk too much actually have the least to say.

4. Speak with authority. By basing your decisions on your passion, you begin to speak from your own true voice. When you share information or ideas, learn to excite people with your words. Speak clearly and with conviction; it demonstrates that you believe in yourself and in your business. In turn, others will believe in you, too.

5. Acknowledge your abilities through praising others. People respect accomplishments--make the results of your hard work visible to others. Don't boast. Simply inform your constituencies of how your product or service helped one of your customers achieve success. Providing unique strategies and ideas helps promote business and will differentiate your business from your competition.

Maintain an excellent reputation by taking care of yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically. Such care builds your self-confidence and subliminally tells others that you will also treat them well. Respect is not about changing your lifestyle--it's about having the confidence to live according to your own rules.

Speaker and consultant Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is the author of Kick Start Your Dream Business.