Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Become a Thought Leader in 4 Simple Steps

Before we jump into this week’s article, don’t forget that Charter Membership pricing (half off!) for the accelerate! Business Growth Membership Program for Women Entrepreneurs ends Thursday, February 27th at midnight!  

The members are loving the training modules, productivity tools, private Facebook group, and consulting calls, so if it’s been on your radar, I don’t want you to miss out.  For more info click here and I look forward to seeing you inside the accelerate! Member Portal along with the others very soon!  

How to Become a Thought Leader in 4 Simple Steps
By Julie Gordon White

At the recent annual retreat for my Women Presidents’ Organization chapter, I had the privilege of participating in an intimate workshop with nationally renowned champion of women entrepreneurs, Denise Brosseau. The workshop was based on her new book, “Ready to Be a Thought Leader? How to Increase Your Influence, Impact and Success”.  The forward is by Guy Kawasaki, so you know the book is excellent if Guy is willing to put his name on the cover.

In Denise’s workshop and in the book, she shares 7 excellent steps to accelerate your success by becoming a thought leader. Denise expertly explains the ideas behind each step with examples and exercises, so I highly encourage you to spend a weekend soaking it in.

Thinking about my own experience in becoming a thought leader as a champion for women entrepreneurs as well, there are 4 strategies that have helped me succeed as an influencer, so I'm sharing what has worked for me in hopes that it will support your thought leadership strategy as well.

1} Take a Stand
When I first started selling businesses, and before I began selling multimillion dollar companies, I was the queen of... flower shops! Really! My first year and a half as a business broker was literally spent selling 25 florists. When I started my companies, I established two firms -  BlueKey Business Brokerage M&A for the larger deals I knew I would do in the future, and Flowershop Brokers.  By taking a stand for florists and claiming the niche in the name of my company, I very quickly became the go-to broker to sell a florist in Northern California. And now as the founder of The WELL for Women Entrepreneurs, I am proudly taking a stand for women business owners.  I believe that when you are bold enough to not just state your position, but actually live your position, you get very clear about who can benefit most from your expertise, and potential customers can make a faster and easier decisions about working with your company as well.  When you decide to truly "own" your space, be prepared that you may initially feel limited, but in fact, the outcome is actually the exact opposite. Demonstrating to the world who you are and what you believe in has a magical way of attracting the exact clients, customers and partners that are perfectly aligned with your philosophy or expertise. And when all are in alignment, business becomes easier, more fun and more profitable.

2} Grow an Online and Offline Tribe
I can’t emphasize enough about the importance of building a tribe online and offline. Creating your online tribe through social and digital media, is the platform for your thought leadership. When you “connect, like and comment”, focus on supporting those in your tribe. On LinkedIn, connect with others who are in alignment with your stance through their business or group membership.  On Facebook, like and comment on pages that relate to your tribe. On twitter, follow and retweet posts from other thought leaders in your tribe. Similar strategies can be used for Google+, Pinterest and Instagram if that’s where your tribe hangs out. Also don't forget to post status updates with links to articles that would not only be of interest to your tribe, but would also establish you as credible source of important information. To grow a large platform, it takes a village, so when you support others in your tribe, they will eventually support you back. And even though it’s easier to reach out digitally, don’t forget the value of a good old fashioned face-to-face.  Nothing moves a relationship forward faster than meeting for coffee or at an association gathering of like-minded people. Online is faster, but offline is lasting, so spend time on both to build a tribe of your ideal peeps.

3} Write About It
Since you’re reading this now, you know I am walking my talk! Even in a 140 character world, we all still love information that creates shortcuts to things that matter to us.  So once you’ve declared your position, write about it on your own blog, and guest post on others.  If you are really committed to creating a legacy, write a book about it. Not only was my book, “EXIT! 12 Steps to Sell Your Business for the Price You Deserve” one of the best credibility boosters for my niche and helped generate tens of thousands in fees,  it is also a lasting legacy for my children and their children because they will always know that mom (and eventually grandma) had something to say in a bigger than usual way, which is pretty, darn, cool.

4} Talk About It
Once you establish your stance or expertise and you begin writing about it and then start gaining momentum with your platform, one of the most powerful things you can do as a thought leader is to speak about it... everywhere! You can book yourself at association meetings, retreats, teleseminars, webinars and now, Google hangouts. You can speak live or recorded as a video. The bottom line is be seen by your platform in person from a stage (and I use the term “stage” loosely), both off and online as often as possible.

The opportunities are endless with technology, so be creative, get out there and walk your talk so you can spread your message, inspire others, and become a thought leader to accelerate the growth of your business!

So let me ask you, what do you believe in? Who’s in your tribe?

I would love to hear what gets you up in the morning, so comment below and declare your stance!

Until next time, Be Profitable & Be WELL!

XO, jgw.

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