You cannot be shy and be in business. If you are going to build a business that someone will ultimately pay a large sum of money for, you cannot afford for your business to blend with the wallpaper. You have to put your business out there and make sure it is seen. You have to focus on your reputation. If you focus on the following two strategies from this moment onwards you will build your company’s reputation and grow its perceived value.
1. Be an expert
You know your business better than anyone and I’ll bet you know all there is to know about your industry too, right? When you talk to your clients/customers, you reassure them about the money they spend with you by giving them the confidence that they are buying the best. If you are a health professional, your clients think you are the best in your field – otherwise they wouldn’t come to you. If you are a retailer, your customers believe you have the best product on offer otherwise they wouldn’t buy from you. So if people think you are the best, why not prove them right? Become an expert and start telling the world what you know. Start writing articles and send them off to all the publications in your industry. Set up a blog and start blogging about your industry. Turn some of your ideas into a flyer, get it printed and distribute it to your customers. Or make it an ‘e’ version and email it to them, or promote it via your website or blog and get people to ask for it (thereby building an email database too). In terms of the subject matter, just write about what you know. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. Lists work really well, especially if you number them… eg. A chiropractor could write “The 9 things people don’t realise about their spine”. A fashion retailer could write “5 ways to wear boots this winter” or “11 tips to looking slimmer in dresses this summer” You get the idea – it’s about adding value to people and having them see you as the expert in your field.
If you are confident at public speaking you can also put yourself forward as a speaker in your area of expertise and let business networking groups know that you are available to give talks. You don’t need to charge for your time necessarily, just be aware you are building your reputation as an expert.
2. Win awards
I’ve always been a big fan of entering awards. I was runner up for Business Woman of the Year three times when I owned my advertising agency. Even though I didn’t win, I got masses of media coverage by being a runner up. And when we won Agency of the Year, our reputation really took off. The same year we entered our work for national effectiveness awards and ran off with a swagger of gold and silver gongs for our clients. It was that year that the multi-national agency group came knocking on my door… and yes, they paid a premium for my business. What put us on their radar was the media coverage that came with winning those awards.
Business magazines are always looking for good stories and everyone loves a winner. When our pet care company won Supreme Business Woman of the Year for our region we found ourselves on the front page of the business section in the daily newspaper, as well as on national TV. Not only did our sales see a marked spike from this coverage, we are also building our reputation as a company so prospective franchisees will pay a premium too.
There is no doubt about it, awards are impressive and when a buyer is looking for a business to buy, a business that has won numerous awards in its industry must be a good one, right?
From the desk of liber8yourbusiness. Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies. Based in Wellington New Zealand.