The papers say times are going to continue to be tough for a while and I’ve already noticed many business owners retrenching and retreating, pulling back, cutting back and holding back. Ironically, though, a downturn is the perfect time to strategise new ways of increasing profitability. Especially if you have client-free time on your hands – sorry to say it, but it’s true!
Ivan Misner, bestselling author and founder of BNI says there are three stages people need to go through when building a business: Visibility, Credibility and Profitability. Every business person needs to go through every stage in order; however, you can accelerate the process by focusing on visibility and credibility at the same time.
The most important step is to increase your visibility. If no one knows about you, then it doesn’t matter how good you are. If you want or need to rise above the competition, you need to be visible. And the best way to achieve higher visibility is by writing, publishing and speaking, as much as you can and on your core topic.
Not sure what to write about? All you need to do is look at your business objectives and pick one that relates to your market. Then pick one topic where you feel confident, passionate and opinionated. It really is as simple as that, but many people never sit down to think about this at all.
Collaborating with other authors can, in some cases, speed things up and produce better results. Hertfordshire business owners Don Hales and Derek Williams put together the very impressive Wow! That’s What I Call Service in less time than authors of shorter books. Don and Derek are both experts in their industry, with slightly different experiences and networks. They complemented, challenged and encouraged each other all the way through the process, resulting in a book which is consistently at the top of the Amazon list for customer service.
Although business books are still seen as the ultimate benchmark of credibility, other media can also help to build visibility. A good blog, for example, can establish profile quickly and well-placed articles can achieve excellent reach, with readers of both of these tools enjoying your wisdom free of charge in most cases.
Note that I have said “a good blog”. If you are blogging to complement your other business activities, the content needs to be consistent with your offline message and you have to check it thoroughly for tone, accuracy and errors. Just because it is quick to write doesn’t mean it isn’t as important as any other piece of writing that represents you and your thoughts. Remember, your blog and all of your writing and speaking reflects you and your brand!
Whatever you choose to do, get started now. This is not the time to retrench and retreat. If your workload has slowed, it’s the perfect time to sit down and plan a writing strategy that will get you noticed. Then, when the market improves, you will have increased credibility and profitability.