Marketing yourself or your company requires building an online platform. “Expert” and “Trusted Authority” are words you want associated with you and your company. One of the places where you can gain most traction is on LinkedIn.
By now you know that I, Baylan Megino, joined the Top 10% of LinkedIn’s Most Viewed Profiles in 2012. It wasn’t as intense as you would think.
Through trial and error, I built a system that helps me build my community and keep in front of them. I’ve broken down my system (which I only tap in to for 5-20 minutes each time) into 10 Keys.
You have to do the obvious: Show up, say what you do, and let them know how to contact you. Once established, efforts turn to continuing to nurture the relationship.
Have you taken advantage of the personal targetting that is possible ONLY in LinkedIn? Is it obvious to the reader how YOU can be reached?
A surprising number of people don’t have their LinkedIn presence set up properly. So check your profile for completeness: picture, summary, experience, education, certifications and awards, volunteer work, etc. Fill it all out. List your Website. And make sure it’s easy to Contact you.
After all, isn’t that the point?
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My marketing mind has been on overdrive lately helping small business owners create new avenues of exposure for clients. It’s time consuming, and I love it. For most business owners, marketing is the next to last thing they want to do – right before Sales. “Baylan, what am I doing wrong?” they ask me. “Help me!”
It’s pretty easy to find out what isn’t working. Just look at your message, listen to your customer feedback, see what areas of your business are not generating the money you want. Check where the money might be silently slipping away. Ask yourself, “What is wrong with my business?” in order to identify the main problem areas.
The better question is
“What am I doing right?”
This question places your mind into a creative mode. You will find more of what is going well, and therefore can identify what can be expanded or duplicated.
Ask yourself, “If I could only do one thing to get more of THAT, what would I do?” Think of several things you could do. Choose one, and only one. Then commit to doing it consistently, like planting seeds for sunflowers to grow. Pick the seed, choose and prepare the location, plant the seed, space the seeds consistently to make the row, water and feed regularly, and watch closely. Some efforts will die quickly. Don’t worry about them. Keep tending to the others seeds that you’ve already sown.
Just move on to find what works well.
Some efforts will grow exactly what you want, time and time again. A very few will spin off a hybrid that can take you in a new direction. Decide if it’s where you want to go, now or later.
Most importantly, make a decision each day to be open to serving more people, and to be willing to share the gift of what you do in ways that work for all involved.
Keep planting those seeds. Once you have consistent results, you can expand to other methods and areas. Until then, get your foundation strong by doing what you do best. You’ll be happier that you did.
Succeeding in business requires a clear vision and a broad understanding of your market. Navigating the daily waters requires a high level of attention to the details.
Clarity on your values and passions was the focus of Part 1 of this series. Once you are clear in your mind about your values and passions, and what you want to experience in life, it’s time to move more clearly to make them happen. Strive to align your personal values with your organization and with what you do in your daily life and in your business.
However, before we go any further there is one all-important question to ask yourself: WHY are you in business? The answer must be compelling enough to get you out of bed on a cold wintry morning when you know the day will be filled with difficult discussions and decisions. It must give you enough incentive to put your lifestyle and livelihood on the line each and every day because you believe your efforts will improve both.
Your core reason for being in business is very personal and unique. For example, one woman told me that one Christmas she was so broke that she couldn’t afford even the simplest Christmas gifts for her children when they longed for the latest electronic toys. She vowed then and there that she would never be in that financial position again. So dig deep and identify your Why.
Once you know your Why, move on to define your goals. These shape your thoughts at each decision point. Become laser-like in defining your path by asking yourself, “Will this bring me closer to my goal, or further from it?”
Look at your company vision and your company mission statement. Do these reflect who you are and what you value? If they don’t, it’s time to revisit and redefine them. And once updated, make sure everyone in your company, all your suppliers, and all your customers understand what they are.
After all, isn’t that the whole purpose of being in business? Ideally, when everyone knows what you are trying to do, what you offer, you want that they will say, “Yeah – I want more of that!” Or else say, “You know, I’m not really interested in that, but I know somebody who is.”
So let’s get back to your vision and mission statement. Do they reflect who you are and what you value? Take everything that you believe in and get really clear – “What do you want to experience as a result of being in this business?”
Is your business set up to support you in having these experiences? Will you experience what you value and are passionate about?
In looking at your business, identify everything you love doing in it. Do absolutely everything that you love, and if you can, delegate the rest. Delegating as much as you can will free you to do what you love and those things that you are great at doing.
I want to say something here about small business owners. We often feel we can’t afford or we can’t trust other people to handle certain parts of the business. We are asking our customers to trust that we know what we’re doing, and to give us their time, and possibly their money, to do what we do best. Why shouldn’t we turn around and do that for other people who also are doing what THEY do best? So if you’re not good at accounting, find an accountant or a bookkeeper who is, and come to some kind of agreement. This simple step will take such a load off your shoulders, and in the process you will be supporting someone else in shining in their business, while you can go out there and shine in what you are meant to do.
So take responsibility for your business. You decide what will be and how it will be. You decide who will be involved and who will not. You decide where you will take your company, and where you will not. You decide if and when things will happen.
You are in control.
There is a caveat, though. Strive to create harmony and balance in your life overall. Strain in any part of your life will affect all other parts.
Look at your time and energy. Be realistic. How much time and energy do you have? Look at your energy – How old are you? Be realistic about what you can do comfortably, without jeopardizing your health. In business, you want to be able to do the marathon, while knowing that periodically you have to do the sprints.
I talk to a lot of people between 45 and 55 – we all want to do as much as we did when we were 25. But that was a long time ago. Let’s face that we can’t accomplish as much as we were able to back then. Let’s just be realistic about what we can do now and then do it.
Knowing what we are capable of simply helps us make different decisions. Making the right decision based in being realistic about what you are capable of accomplishing will allow you actually to accomplish more.
Also look at your Time availability. Are you in a relationship? Do you have a family? Do you have community obligations or spiritual community obligations? Be aware of what’s important to you, because as a business owner you may be tempted to give these things up. Instead, Choose to have in your life those things that are important. Make sure you allot the time to do whatever is important to you.
That’s the most important thing to do. Just decide. Decide what else will get your time.
So take responsibility for your business by knowing what you value, deciding on what you want to experience, and making decisions that support you in reaching those experiences. Finally, remember that You Are in Control.
Next Post: “How to Have a Thriving Business in Any Economy – Part 3: More about Goals
“We are in a changing economy.” The truth is that the economy is always changing — sometimes up, sometimes down.
When you’ve been in business long enough, you’ll recognize the cycles and be able to be proactive in positioning yourself in front of the next curve.
No matter what is happening, however, there are pillars for your business that, when clearly defined and acted upon, will ensure you are able to thrive through any economy.
The most important part of your business is You.
Your business is an extension of you, so take a real long look to get clear. You are the center around which your entire business revolves.
What’s your belief system? What’s important to you? What do you value? What are those things that are non-negotiable in your life?
What motivates you? What is really, really important for you to experience personally, in your world, with the people who are around you, with the people you love, with the people you work with. Your self-motivation will help you get through those tough times, and will validate your actions when business is going smoothly.
Look at what you value, and then find ways to find those values in the things you LOVE to do.
Those are your passions — those things that you love to experience, those things that you’d do no matter whether you get paid or not. Compensation doesn’t matter because you lose track of time and you’d do it anyway.
As you make decisions each day, look at every possible experience presented to you. When you’re looking at those experiences, try to figure out “What will I experience in this thing?” Is it going to bring me closer to the feeling that I want to have? Is it going to bring me closer to my goals? Is it going to bring me closer to what I am really passionate about doing and being?
If it does bring you closer, will you do it?
Will you NOT do it? It’s really important to know what you Won’t do, because throughout life you’re sifting and sorting. You’re trying to figure out, “What do I want to do?” “What DON’T I want to do?” “Whatever it is that I do want to do, I want to do MORE of that.”
I Want to have a Choice and I want to Choose.
Sometimes it will put you outside your comfort zone. Just know that when you’re outside your comfort zone, that’s when you have your most growth points. This is when the challenges come up.
So make sure that as you push that envelope, as you’re acting outside your comfort zone, that these actions are really going to get you closer to the experience you want.