The rise of fast-growth entrepreneurial start-ups is inspiring Australian small businesses to seek innovative ways to grow, says the co-founder of Australian-based accelerator for small businesses. An increasing number of progressive small businesses – working with the best assets they have for growth – are now promoting key talented people as part of their growth strategy, putting ‘faceless’ businesses at a disadvantage.
As the co-founder of an international leading business accelerator that has helped more than 2000 entrepreneurial small businesses, I have now seen hundreds of small businesses successfully grow people in their teams to become industry influencers, to the business’s advantage.
Rather than sending people to attend conferences, they send people to speak at them. Rather than subscribing to expert reports, these people author them. Rather than putting out press releases for the brand, they issue press releases about individuals. Rather than logos, they look to promote faces. The net result is a culture of high-performance and bottom line growth.
Such ‘key people of influence’ are able to pitch ideas successfully and build the reputation of their companies. They become thought leaders and innovators, whose presence enhances an entire organisation. They attract other top performers, they cultivate a higher standard, and they are able to cut through a noisy market.
Why your business needs key people of influence
The benefit for small businesses is that many influential people prefer to become the ‘face of the brand’ in smaller and more entrepreneurial environments.
Additionally, giant faceless companies are not generally liked or trusted to the same degree as their personality-lead counterparts. Glen says, “Consumers prefer to know who’s leading a company, who’s developing key ideas, and who’s making things happen day to day. This increases brand trust and consumer are less critical of mistakes when they occur.”
Anyone with strong core skills in their profession, valuable insights, and an attitude that uplifts others are the ingredients these key people need. Especially look for people who can create a cascading effect into their departments. For instance, an engineer who speaks at a local conference is able to evangelise their company brand, recruit new talent and even generate new business. A manager out networking for partnerships is bringing opportunities to their whole team. An accountant who sensibly comments on a blog is able to be a great advocate for their company.
How to develop key people of influence in your business
For those companies that want to develop these hyper-resourceful influencers, five core skills are needed. Prominent individuals utilise these five skills to achieve greater influence and recognition in their field:
Key people of influence clearly communicate the business message in a way that engages target audiences: with power and clarity.
2. Published content
In a global marketplace powered by digital platforms, published content is key to attracting valuable opportunities. Each piece works alongside Google’s search algorithms to find an engaged audience. Key people of influence have the ability to author books, articles, reports and white-papers. These create authority, and spread their message faster. In a study of 40 leaders Dent Global has worked with who wrote books, 100% claimed they gained significantly more credibility in their field as a result.
3. Product development
In changing times a business’s products and services must develop and improve quickly or risk being outdated. The business’s influencers can become brand ambassadors to can help differentiate the offering by sharing insights, transform the products and services from bland to remarkable by communicating the innovation behind them.
Every important meeting your leaders have will be preceded by a Google search. Your brand and the reputation of your people is highly linked to what Google displays on its first results page. An absence of reaffirming information risks your leaders being devalued or overlooked. Conversely, a page of impressive links will result in additional trust and opportunity.
Creating an online presence results from strategic use of social media, traditional media, awards and appearances. With a well-crafted profile you’ll find that inbound opportunities start to show up regularly for your leaders and they’ll get more success with the opportunities they go after. In a noisy world, the ability to get cut-through in the market is a valuable asset.
The essence of partnerships is to create a multiplier effect, to enable both parties to broaden their resources and reach. Other company brands, products and distribution channels can offer strategic advantages for businesses. Spotting these opportunities requires a new lens that few people in organisations are trained for. Executing a strategic partnership opportunity requires an influential leader in a business who can bring the deal together and ensure a positive outcome for all parties. Through training and development people learn to spot partnerships and alliances that maximise the potential of every relationship.
Glen Carlson co-founded leading small business accelerator, Dent Global in 2010. With offices in the UK, USA, and Singapore, Dent specialises in accelerator programs and events, which are facilitated through their partnerships with well-known local entrepreneurs and leaders who deliver mentoring services. Dent has helped more than 2000 companies grow and achieve their goals through their accelerator programs Threshold, Key Person of influence, Campaign Driven Enterprise and 24 Assets.