Thought Leadership: From Lifestyle Business to Growth
Guest Post from Evan Harris:
When growing a business, entrepreneurs often linger for far too long in the ‘lifestyle business’ stage where growth is flat and operations are convoluted. What happens when you begin to see serious potential, but you lack the direction and know-how to get there?
If you have been running a lifestyle business, you are your business. The weight of the business falls on your shoulders, as well as every task along the way. While there are benefits to a lifestyle business that can feel liberating compared to working for someone else, the business is limited to what you are able to do on your own.
When you are ready to grow and want to see long term growth, you need a plan. It can seem overwhelming at first and there are many strategies to point you in the right direction.
Today we want to focus on one avenue that is not only beneficial for your company, but improves your overall status in your industry: Thought Leadership
Grow Thought Leadership in Your Space
Thought leader, rock star, guru… the terminology has changed over the years, but the concept remains the same. A great way to grow your business is to show the world that you are an expert in your field. Modern technology has made it easier than ever to share what you know with anyone who is willing to listen.
There are several ways to accomplish this and we have outlined a few great steps.
First, start a company blog. Write about your industry and write often. Don’t be afraid to give away some proprietary information for free; by doing this you earn trust from your industry. Make sure to shy away from overly promotional blog posts as your aim should be to provide value to your readers.
Second, contribute to local and national associations. Almost every industry has a solid foundation of professional associations that are always looking for volunteers to create content for their website and highlight professionals in their industry. Don’t feel like you have to stay confined to your industry; there are hundreds of business focused groups that would love an extra hand.
Next, reach out to universities and other job seeking networks and offer to speak at one of their engagements. Giving talks about business at events and expos generates free press and improves your position as an industry leader.
Finally, improve that online presence and hire a digital expert if needed. It is not enough to post an article and leave it sitting on a website. Work to engage your customers through social profiles and newsletters. You can even build a prospect list and reach out to others in your industry and ask them to share your work. Make sure to respond to the comments on anything you publish!
In addition to the standard business practices, growing your thought leadership in your industry will help guide your company in the right direction. Above all, remember that this is your business; take recommendations and implement new strategies, but never lose focus on your end goals.
Author Bio: Evan Harris is the co-founder and co-owner of SD Equity Partners and is an expert in entrepreneurship, business growth, and real estate. Evan has managed SD Equity Partners for the last seven years and has seen periods of extensive growth first hand.