Grow your Influence by Becoming a Thought Leader

In this video we describe one of the MOST impactful ways to grow your small business...becoming a thought leader.

But what is a thought leader? It's more than just being an expert. In fact, there are lots of experts out there, but few step into the realm of innovative thought leader. When you establish yourself as a thought leader, people naturally want to connect with you and do business with you.

Pro Tip

Anyone can be an expert with the right training, schooling and experience – but FEW take the risk to be a thought leader.

Thought Leaders change people’s perception of reality by showing them a NEW way – not just an improved way on an old recycled solution.

(Read the Full Transcript Here)

For most small businesses, the single most impactful thing that you can do to grow your business is to become a well-known valued authority in your industry. See, the better known that you are, the more people will want to connect with you, do business with you, and refer you to customers. But how do you do that?

Hi, I'm Melissa with and today we're going to talk about what it means and what it takes to become a thought leader in your industry, so let's get started.

Let me tell you just a little story about a truck that got stuck in a tunnel, wedged under the bridge because it was too tall, half in and half out. And the driver and the cops and everyone else there couldn't figure out a solution to free the truck that wouldn't cause even more damage. They tried hooking it up and pulling it out. They called the experts, the firemen, and some engineers to see if they could drive some wedges between the roof and the tunnel. Well, the firemen actually wanted to use cutters just to saw off the top of the truck. The engineers said that the bridge could collapse if the wedges affected the integrity of the structure of the bridge. And then a little girl came along with her dad, kind of with a nonchalant tone, she kind of walked up to these experts and she just simply suggested,

"Why don't you let the air out of the tires?"

See, it's that other option, the new perspective. Sometimes simply thinking a bit outside the box that solve the problem more efficiently and with less damage to the truck or the bridge. In this situation, that little girl was the innovative thought leader and all the firemen and the experts followed her lead.

The same needs to be true for you and your business. You need to be the thought leader that others want to follow. So, what does it take to be a thought leader? Well, first, you have to realize that people are creatures of habit and most don't like change. You know that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," or "Well, we've always done it that way." But see, once people accept that something is a certain way, they often stop looking for a better way.

 Artist Louise Nevelson actually said, "What we call reality is an agreement that people have arrived at to make life more livable." So, to change the world, to change your industry, to be an innovator, you must change people's perception of reality.

Next, you must ask yourself, "What do you want to be known for?", "How do you want to make your mark?" See, there are an infinite number of ways to make an impact and be a thought leader in your industry. But you've got to be willing to be brave, open up and share yourself and your ideas with others. You have to be willing to be shot down because you believe so strongly that you have a new way to help others. Don't be a commodity. You have to stand out. You may even need to fight for what you believe. No one is born great and many have more impressive credentials than you, they may even have more expertise than you. However, understand this, anyone can be an expert with the right training, schooling, and experience. But for you, take the risk to be a thought leader.

See, wisdom received through mentoring, school, and research is wonderful and produces many experts, but what if you ask different questions? What if you question the assumptions that others agree on? Thought leaders can create change. They shape the dialogue. Thought leaders are not consumed with advancing themselves but rather advancing the ideas.

It's more about solving a problem and making a difference and providing value, than it is about selling a book, or a program, or receiving accolades and applause. It's about changing people's perception of reality and showing them a new way, not just an improved way or an old recycled solution. 

To be seen as a well-known valued authority and thought leader, your new vision needs to be inconsistent with the current reality but still viable in their minds. You must use creative language and compelling ideas to describe an ideal future that is still in alignment with common sense and possibilities that they can understand. Fill the gap between what is available and what people need. Challenge the norm, just like that little girl did to solve the problem with the truck and the bridge. Then show the simple steps of change that need to occur for this bold idea to be realized.

See, I call this the it-used-to-be realities. It used to be if you wanted to buy a computer, you went to Best Buy or Apple, but then Dell came along and only had the option of direct sale to the end user. Well, that changed the game. It used to be if you wanted to watch a movie at home, you went to Blockbuster. Well, then Netflix started delivering movies to your mailbox and you simply sent them back when you were done.

You see, there's always another option, a new and innovative way to do something, deliver something. It might be good, it might not. But thought leaders and innovators, they question what others have accepted. They kind of shift the paradigm and look at things from all angles and then search for alternatives, new ways, new strategies. Then they think through it, they do research and even try out the new strategies to see if they're superior to the norm. And if they are, they implement and then shout it out to the world.

Now, next week, we're gonna give you some practical strategies that you can start implementing right away in order to set yourself up as an innovative, valued authority and thought leader in your industry. I'll link it to the cards once it's posted. It all boils down to this, being the valued authority and thought leader is the best strategy to getting others to want to connect to you and want to work with you.

Now, if you're new here, be sure to subscribe so you don't miss out on any of our content to help you grow your business. And also, stay connected to all of our content and events by joining our Facebook group, Rodger and Melissa. Now, there's a link in the descriptions below. And as always, take care of you, and take care of your business.