You've done it! You've taken the leap, gotten your foot in the door, puffed out your chest and have declared yourself an independent. Rest assured the decision you made was the right one, as you join the ranks of 30 million others who have made the same decision as you. By 2020, it's predicted that 45 million people will leave behind the traditional workforce, and you are one of them. But now an even bigger question remains: How can you separate yourself from those other 45 million?
It's great to be part of a movement, but in order for your business to succeed, you will have to separate yourself from the pack. This can take place by dedicating yourself to the continued growth and development of your independent endeavor. The greatest barrier to success is one's level of content with where they currently are.
Here are three keys to finding continued success in your business plan:
A good business is one that is consistently in the eye or on the mind of their audience. Without exposure, you cannot expect your clients or prospects to be encouraged to take action - they may not fully understand your services or understand the steps needed to use/engage it. This issue can be resolved by creating a strong marketing and advertising strategy. Most people hear advertising and immediately think of big-budget commercials and celebrity endorsements, but in reality, advertising comes in many different forms. Advertising is a powerful tool that all independents are encouraged to use.
These strategies may be employed in blog posts, banner ads, social media campaigns, or printed collateral. The goal is ultimately to get your name out into the public arena and through strong public relations have it associated with quality, integrity and results, which brings us to our next key
As an independent, your business is built on several cornerstones, but the most important is credibility. Without this principle, your brand and reputation are essentially hollow. To build a business and continue its growth, you need a foundation - and that foundation cannot exist without the trust and dependability that your clients or customers feel toward you.
The following tips can help you boost your credibility:
Be Online. It's important to have a credible online presence since it's the platform for most communication, information and exchange today. You should always consider that a prospect, peer or lead may at any time be referred to you and use your website, LinkedIn, or other profiles as a point of reference. If the information they find is inappropriate, untrue, or even uninteresting, they may not take the next step and get it touch with you.
Grow a Network. As mentioned earlier, the independent workforce is in the tens of millions and growing nearly every day. That means there is a whole population of people who work like you, many others who may share your field and even more who need or rely on their services and expertise. It is vital to your business that you begin to create and foster relationships with those that you cross paths with professionally.
Stay Sharp. Stay current on industry knowledge, trends, and standards. Things change in every industry, and by being aware of those changes, you reinforce your expertise. Be aware of current and changing publications, network with peers and attend events or conferences.
Be a Thought Leader. Build credibility and authority by becoming a thought leader. Develop white papers or case studies. Contribute articles or posts to industry publications or blogs. Become a recognizable voice of expertise whenever possible.
Stay Focused. Many independent consultants can contribute to their success by becoming an expert in a single field or topic. Their level of knowledge, skill or insight increases their value. The higher your value, the higher the demand is for your services, so don't be afraid to dedicate yourself to a precise subject or area of knowledge or expertise.
Visibility and credibility are pointless if you are not able to take something away from them, which brings us to relationships. Sure, our goal as businessmen and women is to garner profit, but deep down we all strive to deliver a good, service or insight that is of a high standard or quality. Profit may be the end goal for many in going independent, but the reality is that that cannot happen in a small business without first building relationships.
As discussed before, networking is a crucial way to form and maintain relationships. Whether this networking is done online via professional and social sites or in-person at functions, conferences and meetings, the goal is always to form a connection. As your network grows, its exposure and visibility will as well. This expands your prospect and lead pool and fosters the further development of your business.
By growing a network of relationships with fellow industry leaders or activists who are seen as trustworthy, knowledgeable and dedicated, your own credibility will begin to rise as well.
And, when you're ready to go independent, give us a call! We can get you up and running overnight.
Keeping your skill set, knowledge base and expertise level on the cutting edge may be more important than you realize. Here are five ways to stay on top.
News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is our November 21, 2016 edition.