You’ve dreamed of starting a business since you were young. Heck, you set up lemonade stands in your front yard during the summer, and snow cone stands in the winter. You charged admission to the art show you and the other neighborhood kids set up in the backyard, and your bake sale cupcakes were $0.05 higher than everyone else’s.
It’s no wonder you now have your own brick and mortar store where real adults come to exchange real money for the real services you offer. Pat yourself on the back, you’ve come a long way.
What you didn’t see coming was the amount of responsibility you’d have to the other people who are helping you with this whole endeavor. Somehow you have been dubbed “the leader” and you’re not sure when it happened. So what gives? How often do you really have to be an upstanding citizen now that you’re a business owner?
All. The. Time. (sorry)
For your employees
This one is pretty obvious. When you hire people to work for you, you need to make sure they want to continue working for you. Hiring is tough work. It takes time and energy and resources away from normal day-to-day operations to find good people. And then you have to train them so you can trust them to be alone with YOUR business.
Creating a work environment where people feel free to express new, fresh ideas is tough. Creating an environment where employees want to contribute and make the business better is even tougher – but not impossible. Lead by example. Treat others how you want to be treated. Easier said than done?
In this video, Simon Sinek says, “When you get the environment right, (everyone) has the capacity to do remarkable things.” Isn’t that the kind of company you want to work for? Isn’t that the kind of company you want to create for your employees?
For your community
As a business owner in your community, you automatically have a voice that so many others don’t have. How you use that voice dictates how you are perceived by those closest to you.
Everyone becomes your neighbor. Everyone seems to know a little more about you, your kids, your views on politics and religion, and how you treat other people.
It becomes much harder to separate work and life when your customers are the people in your community. Do you:
- want to improve your community, or just do your job and go home at the end of the day?
- have something to contribute or teach others around you?
- complain about how things are run, or do you step up and make your voice heard with the intention of making positive changes for everyone (not just yourself?)
Do you need to do volunteer or mentor local kids or sit in on community government meetings to be successful? Of course not. But if you do you must be aware of how you are viewed by the community around you.
Your current and prospective customers
Did you know it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one? The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. Not to mention, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, compared to new customers!
The numbers don’t lie. Once you have a customer you need to do everything you can to hang on to them. But how do you do that?
Position yourself as a leader!
89% of companies see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention.
What kind of experience are you providing? Are you someone your customers will look to for advice, guidance, or additional products later on down the road? IF you are, that’s great! If not, what can you do to become that resource, that leader for them?
- Email a newsletter with industry tips
- Create an FAQ section on your website
- Send a hand-written thank you note after every sale
- Send a survey asking what questions customers have about your products, then answer them!
There are a hundred little things you can do. Pick something that fits your business and your customers and showcase the best side of yourself. Remember, treat people how you want to be treated. It seems simple but that attitude goes a long way in the world of business.
For your industry
One of the easiest ways to position yourself as a leader in the industry is as a thought leader. While the term “thought leadership” seems to have died down a bit in recent years, the concept is still alive and well – take what everyone else is doing, and push it a step further. Question why things are done a certain way, think outside your industry box and develop content that makes your prospects think and wonder.
Putting yourself on the front lines as an industry leader, as someone who pays attention to the customer questions and trends makes not only your customers take notice, but also your competitors. And that’s a really good thing.
What’s the best way to do this? Why, through content marketing of course! What is content marketing, you ask? According to content marketing institute,
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
There are a variety of ways you can do this.
- Blog articles
- Case studies
- Customer testimonials
Leadership is not an easy role to take on, d is definitely not for everyone. Lucky for you, there are many different ways you can lead. There are many different styles of leaders to fill the many different personality types in the world. And lucky for you, there isn’t one right way to lead.
Focus on your skill set and what makes you comfortable. When you are honest with yourself you’ll be the best leader possible.
Not sure what kind of leader you are? Check out this comprehensive article on Leadership styles.
This article was the topic of conversation for our closed Facebook Group, The Wellness Warriors.
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