Why Be Your Industry Influencer? Business Growth Leveraging Your Personal Brand

Marketing is like sex. Everyone thinks they’re good at it.– Steve Tobak

We are in a golden age of solopreneurs: independent, innovative experts who are turning the traditional working model on its head. No longer content with working under layers of organisational management, workers around the globe are increasingly making the decision to take full control of their careers. To carve their own niche and capitalise on their skills. To join the solo revolution.

And you are one of them. A revolutionary!

Creating your own brand has never been easier. With the explosion of social media, solopreneurs have immediate access to billions of people around the world. You can speak directly to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Likewise, the number of services and products consumers have instant access to is infinite. Neither business nor buyer is bound by location anymore.

It is an incredibly liberating age. But it’s also one that some entrepreneurs and businesses find overwhelming.

We’re Living in a Digital-First World

In his book Ctrl Alt Delete, Mitch Joel discusses the term “digital first”. He reveals the five key movements that organisations must embrace to future-proof themselves – or go out of business. One of these shifts is the fact that now, the first place your brand and business are validated is online. Essentially, the internet and social media have the power to make or break your chances of success.

Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of how to cultivate a successful business by leveraging digital media. Born in the Soviet Union in 1975, Vaynerchuk immigrated to the United States in 1978. From humble beginnings, his father went on to own a liquor store in New Jersey. In the early days of the digital-first world, Vaynerchuk could see the burning potential of his father’s business. After graduating from college, Vaynerchuk transformed the liquor shop into a retail wine store, which he named the Wine Library. In 2006, he started a daily video blog, Wine Library TV. This hugely popular webcast turned him into an internet celebrity. It attracted 90,000 viewers a day and led to a flurry of TV and speaking engagements. In just six years, Vaynerchuk grew the family business from $1 million a year to a whopping $50 million a year.

Not too bad for a small family business, right?

So, as you can see, traditional marketing has been blown out of the water. We’re no longer restricted to cold calling and setting up meeting after meeting to generate leads and sales. Digital marketing has opened an array of cost-effective avenues for self-promotion and lead generation. Sales are now about leveraging your social networks, engaging with people online and educating.

This is, essentially, the social sales model: (see link below)

Today, the businesses and entrepreneurs that make the most impact on their audiences are role models. They’re trusted advisers who create tribes – powerful online communities that help their brands grow. They educate and provide solutions. They’ve jumped on board the social sales train and embrace the connection economy whole-heartedly. Because if you don’t, you get left behind.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. We must build on this massive sales reform and look to the future. We must become industry ambassadors. We must become thought leaders who engage meaningfully with our followers, share generously of our expertise and regard our audiences not just as leads or dollar signs, but as lifetime partnerships.

Why Stand Out from the Crowd

Solopreneurs are the way of the future. They account for 61% of Australian businesses[1]. And with the advent of freelance sites such as Upwork, 99designs, Freelancer and Airtasker, an increasing number of Australians are freelancing. According to freelance marketplace Elance-oDesk, 30% of the Australian workforce – or 3.7 million people – undertake some sort of freelance work[2].

Digital marketing presents an enormous opportunity for solopreneurs. According to Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, the average person spends two hours a day on the internet. Furthermore, IBM’s Global CEO Study found that CEOs believe social media utilisation for customer engagement will increase by 256% over five years. This means social media will become the second-most popular way to engage customers after face-to-face communication.

Social media has created a level playing field. It’s cheap and readily available. You don’t need large amounts of money to build a business. You don’t even need an existing client base – you can start one from scratch online. The internet has given everyone the potential to create a successful solo business.

But there’s a downside to this equal opportunity. Despite the accessibility of social media, one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs continue to face is finding leads and retaining clients.

The digital marketplace means you’re competing against everyone else with a business like yours. You can’t simply create a LinkedIn or Facebook account and expect clients to come to you. How will they know you’re there? What makes you stand out? When everyone else is pushing their own unique selling point, what will make people choose you?

In a world where customers have immediate access to information on every kind of business around the world, it’s hard to cut through the noise. To gain that competitive edge, you must create a connection.

Being a solopreneur is not enough. You must bond with your audience by offering more than your products and services alone. You need to educate, lead and gain trust. You need to make a real difference to the lives of your clients.

Position, Position, Position

Positioning is fundamental to creating trust and having influence. It’s more than just creating an image. It’s about owning your space in your industry. It’s about flexing your expertise, starting conversations, changing the game, creating engaging content and enlightening others. It’s about being the go-to expert for peers and clients needing guidance.

And it’s what leads to sales.

When you have a rock-solid positioning, your return on investment is second to none. Digital media and technology company Burst Media’s 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report found that on average, marketers who implemented an Influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media.[3] The primary tools used in Influencer marketing were:

  • Blog posts
  • Social syndication and branded content distribution
  • Influencers and influential content

7 Ways to Increase Your Likeability

I recently had a university graduate going for an interview with a large bank and the interview was over Skype. Even though he was in my office, we did the practice on Skype and I was in the next room to see what the experience would be like for the panel chair.

My experience of him in person was different to that of him on Skype. He came across as warmer and friendlier in person but that part of his personality was lost quickly online. So we had to really amplify those character traits to show that he was likable.

We know that in a recruitment context, a candidate can be extended the offer more than 50% of the time if the recruiter likes the person. According to the Wall Street Journal, a study of 133 managers by the University of Massachusetts found that if an auditor is likable and gives a well-organised argument, managers will tend to comply with his suggestions, even if they disagree and the auditor lacks supporting evidence.

So can likeability be taught? I believe it can. I spent over 15 years teaching rapport building and connection in the retail industry. Every time I went into a situation where sales needed to be lifted, I focussed less on the dollars and more on the staff and how they connected with people. As a result, in one store the turnover doubled in 12 months.

So the 7 steps I reckon make the biggest difference to your “in-person” likeability are:

    1. Read people: Watch all the non-verbal cues and body language. Look for micro expressions and their eye contact. I was in a hurry to catch a flight to a conference last week and my shoe broke on my way to the check-in counter. I ran to one of the stores in the airport frantically looking for a new pair of shoes to replace them. I was quickly scanning the shoe section, trying on styles and looking for something that would fit me to get me to the conference. My flight was boarding in five minutes! The sales assistant casually came up and asked me if I was happy browsing. Now, maybe they had other things on their mind but clearly, I wasn’t there because I had nothing to do. This was serious shoe shopping! They didn’t read my body language and pace to realise that I was in desperate need of help to solve my issue. I had to say “no, I’m not just browsing, I need help!”. If you can read people you can anticipate their needs which leads to asking the right question. A better question to ask would be “You look like you’re in a hurry trying to find something, let me help you.”

 

    1. Asking questions: Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Each person is their own favourite subject and everything you say they will relate their own experience to it and tell you what that means for them. The way to shortcut this process is to just go straight to asking questions about how they are, their weekend, how their last meeting went, how their project is going, how their kids are, is the dog back from the vet? The likelihood of someone taking too much interest in them that day is quite low so it’s easy to connect by helping them feel as important and as special as they are. Ideally, a conversation flows 30 seconds to one person and 30 seconds to other. Keep an eye on how long you’re speaking for and if it’s too long or too short to connect.

 

    1. Knowing what the person might be thinking: This shows empathy and that you understand the person’s world. The more you can connect with what they’re not saying, the more you’ll remove the barrier between them and you. They will like you because you understand their pain or challenge.

 

    1. Give compliments: People are absorbed in their world of daily problems of dealing with kids, colleagues, issues and things that need to be fixed. They’re often in overwhelm and stress. A simple compliment like mentioning their hair, an item of clothing or if they have nice shoes, saying they have really nice shoes. It’s important to be sincere and show that you noticed. Don’t say they look nice if they look terrible, that’s just being inauthentic. People love compliments. It was Maya Angelou who said, “people will forget what you said but they will remember how you made them feel”.

 

    1. Appropriate touch: This one you really need to be able to read people well. I’m a natural toucher and by that I mean I often hug my clients, when I work with them and that’s my style, but I know when I need to keep my distance. If you can read people well, a gentle touch on their sleeve can make them connect quickly with you. For example, when I coach people and they have wins I will always shake their hand. It changes the energy and the personalisation of the experience amplifies.

 

    1. Friendliness: Smile. I know this seems so simple. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live? Regardless of what country you live in or language you speak a smile cuts through everything and is contagious. If you wrote down how many times you smile in a day how many would there be?

 

  1. Eye Contact: Direct eye contact builds trust quickly. By looking down or away makes the person feel like you’re not interested in what they have to say. When they speak look them in the eye. By maintaining eye contact when you speak will help keep them engaged and more likely to hear what you said.

Considerations When Choosing an Automatic Powder Filling and Capping Machine

The purchase of an Automatic Powder Filling and Capping Machine for your business setup needs to be well planned and executed. This is because it has the potential of affecting business operations in the future. To ensure that you get it right, you have to thoroughly examine your operational, productivity and financial issues before making the purchase. In addition to that, you will also have to do an assessment of your future requirements which is more or less where you want your business to be in the next few years.

The automatic powder filling and capping machine is an essential part of many businesses of powder packaging industry. Purchase this equipment and install it in your plant, it is a smart investment for labor and productivity. However, there are several factors that you need to consider to ensure that you purchase the right equipment for your plant.

1: Configuration
One of the aspects that need your consideration is the configuration of the equipment. It is important to have this in mind especially if you are planning to change your production rate in the future. You might need high stringent reject rates and adequate speed that will meet your new demands. The capper modular for the capping machine needs to be able to adapt to your predicted future needs.

2: Inline or Monobloc
You will also need to make a choice between inline and monobloc when buying the automatic powder filling and capping machine. These are the two options that are available depending on how you want to complete your setup. The monobloc will occupy less space but its parts are more expensive as opposed to the inline equipment which occupies more space.

3: Caps
You will need to look at the range of caps and containers that the machine can use. There are different requirements from different clients because of the nature of operations that they conduct. This means that, you can either go for a single cap dedicated machine, or one that offers a wide range of packaging options. And, you will also need to consider the caps size, and the supported output speed.

4: Evaluate
The automatic powder filling and capping machine will have specific container and cap tolerances. This is an important consideration that you cannot afford to overlook together with the container quality. You can test and evaluate to ensure that the machine will produce as quoted. When the process is automated there is less tolerance issues with the caps or containers.

5: Durability
Order an Automatic Powder Filling and Capping Machine needs to be looked into the economic aspect. You need to see the performance in comparison with its initial price. You can compare their cost for different speeds. Choose the best for you.

When looking into these factors, check them against your current and future needs. You should also put the cost of operation throughout its lifespan into consideration. The parts will wear with time and will require replacement at some point. The parts need to be affordable together with the consumables that will be required for operation. You can purchase the right equipment for your plant after you can assure all these in mind.

Tips:

  1. You can send the containers and caps to the machines manufacturer before order. The machines manufacturer factory has some sample machines in stock, you can ask them to give you a test for your samples.
  2. Let the manufacturer shoot a complete video for you, before pay the balance or before deliver. Because in the manufacturer factory, the minor changes can be accept.