A friend of mine told me once how her small business grew expediently when she started speaking in front of a group of people, to the point where they would follow her as she was leaving the event to ask questions and get appointments from her. What did she do differently? She showcased her expertise by speaking about a subject she knew well (hormonal health and treatment) to the right audience. Now you might be thinking I just own a small business like a Janitorial, Landscape or Construction company how would this apply to me? It’s the same concept. Let’s say you own a Janitorial business, you know you need to distinguish yourself from the other businesses in the same industry so you could get into the clean environmental products then you can give a talk or write an article about how office owners can make their offices healthier and why certain products are toxic to the health of their employees so they would see it’s to their benefit to hire your company over another.
One thing keeps people from being an expert in their field, is that they think they need a fancy degree or nobody is going to want to hear what they say. In the entrepreneurship world, you don’t need 30 years of experience or a certificate to give a talk or write a book, you just need to learn a particular subject and teach it to someone else. Here are five steps on how you can become an expert:
- Learn-Teach-Learn: is a motto I learned during my days working at Intuit, the idea is to learn a skill, teach it to someone then get feedback to refine your message. First, you start by learning something, this could be a skill you learned at work, the experience you gained doing something or a webinar you attended then turn around and teach it to someone else and get feedback so you can improve your message. For example, if you are a small construction company who’s had success in either networking or partnering with other businesses, what advice would you give to a fellow business owner? What things should they not do? Or if you own a painting company, record a video using YouTube on the best paint to use for the exterior of your house. Get feedback as to what worked? what did they like about it? and what could you do to improve it?.
- Public Speaking: Lisa Sasevich a motivational speaker and the queen of conversions as she is known for, says public speaking is a skill that you can learn, and master with practice. In her post Why Every New Entrepreneur Should Start Speaking she says: “one reason you want to do public speaking is to propel growth because one of the quickest and best ways to grow your business quickly is to speak to as many potential customers as possible. By speaking you can turn audience members into customers and into referrals for other speaking engagements where you can turn more audience members into more customers and more referrals”. But if you are like me who is a natural introvert and don’t care for public speaking then the best cure for this is to signup for a speech class or group, a great resource is Toastmasters where you can join a local chapter as a member with an affordable price and practice public speaking in a safe environment on a regular basis where everyone feels the same way as you do. Only with regular practice will you overcome your fear of public speaking.
- Write Content: this can be an article for your own blog, guest post or an industry magazine. In his book Content Inc., Joe Pulizzi talks about the story of Marcus Sheridan a CEO of a pool and spa business. Marcus became the leader in information about fiberglass pools for people who are interested in buying pools. The story started in late 2009, the business was in trouble because homeowners were not eager to buy fiberglass pools during the Great Recession and Marcus’s company was thinking they might have to shut down but they turned the business around in 2 years where they sold more fiberglass pools, than any other fiberglass installer in the country and increased sales to more than $5 million. How did Marcus achieve such success? Marcus wrote down every question a customer asked him and answered it on his blog, he shared his knowledge using the content. From social media, shares to search engine results the business sales grew to the point Marcus was being called upon by companies all over the world to install pools.
- Be featured: being featured as a guest on a show or publication is a great way to establish yourself as an expert. Podcasts have gained a lot of popularity the past several years, where many podcasts interview subject matter experts on the show. Other options are your local newspapers and radio shows to get your name out. HARO (help a reporter out) is another great resource to check out, it’s a website where journalist or writers are looking for experts to get a quote from on a particular story they are writing about. If you want to be featured in a national or even local magazine or newspaper publication you first need to create a list of writers you want to reach out to, get familiar with their work, and send a message via twitter or other means to thank them for their work and give them feedback. After establishing a relationship that’s when you can pitch to them your idea or product and be featured.
- Help others: One of the rewarding things about learning a skill and gaining experience is to share it with others and to help people grow and be successful. One way to achieve this is to volunteer as a mentor by asking your local Chamber of Commerce or association if they have any opportunities for mentorship. Another way is to ask if you can add value when meeting someone new when I go to network events and meet someone new I’ll ask them, how can I help you? I notice immediately how the person’s eyes lit up and relax. By being a value to others you will not just help them but you will grow personally too. Mentoring also helps you gain leadership skills where you will push yourself to gain the mentee’s respect and improve your skills. I know from my personal experience mentors have had a huge impact on me personally and professionally so if a mentor had an impact on your life try to return that favor back to the universe.
Author: Raya Khashab
Raya is the CEO and co-founder of ezClocker. She is passionate about customers and building products that change the way people run their business. She is also a big supporter of the startup community and helping people achieve their dreams.