How Will We Know Who You Are?

19 May 2010, by A. Cedilla

A vital aspect of making your business succeed is making sure your target audience knows who you are, what you can do for them, and how to find you.

Enough has been written about advertising, marketing and SEO practices to give us hours of reading time, so this is just a short article on what happens behind the scenes of “getting known”.

Building, creating or having an excellent product, or providing a service that the market needs, wants and would pay for is of course par for the course, as is having a talent (and the discipline to master it) that is in high demand.

Think about the teams that gave us YouTube, or came up with Google Apps. And then think about the people and infrastructure that made it possible for the world to know about these services.

It’s not just product and talent, it’s letting people know of that product or talent. You have something to sell, you’ve got to know how to sell it. And how you set up your approach to making yourself known matters.

Establish relationships, not just “connections”.
Nobody goes it alone, even if all the support you get is excellent, friendly service from your local photocopier-slash-business center or coffee-house-slash-second-office, and emotional support from your friends and family.

Acknowledge and value the help you get along the way, and make sure you pass it on. The people you meet may not be able to help you out in a business capacity, but the relationships you create can impact your life in ways you’d never expect. The small courtesies you would think no one notices anymore, the extra effort to help someone out or keep in touch, these things matter.

Build your reputation on being trustworthy.
In times past duels were fought on points of honor. Your word and reputation was considered a vital part of your character and to impugn either was to invite a meeting at dawn. People could carry entire business agreements with a handshake, and seal deals with their word alone.

When your word and rep is that vital, you would to what you can to keep them spotless, because you’ve proven that you’re worthy of trust, get it?

When you set it up to dominate the consciousness of your market, whether by becoming a blogging authority on a particular subject (think of Study Hack’s Cal Newport or The Simple Dollar’s Trent Hamm, just to name two) or leveraging social media and using collaborative efforts to push your products, people talk, and people listen. What are they saying about you?

(Side note: While now it seems we play fast and loose with our reputations by arguing that, “Hey, it’s my life, they should mind their own business., it is other people’s business if “your business” is bad for their business.

How many politicians have we seen fall from grace as their reputations were tarnished in the past few months alone? In today’s connected age, “word of mouth” is as fast as tweeting, IM and personal reporting, especially with camera-phones. So those spring-break photos you posted on Facebook,–yes, those pictures — not a good idea for a prospective applicant looking to occupy a professional position. )

Ask. Ask. Ask.
You never know until you ask. You psyche yourself out by saying, “Aww, he/she/they’d never ____.”

How will you know if you don’t ask?

Don’t think of it as a failure on your part that you have to ask for help, oh no. It’s just practical. You need help, look for it and ask. There’s no need to add the drama or sabotage yourself with fears of nebulous what-if’s. ASK.

Look at it from another point of view: when you ask, you’re giving the other person the opportunity to give something of himself as well. Good times all around.

Bonus link: How To Fame, by Richard Laermer, at ChangeThis.com, explains how “getting famous” can be used to your advantage.

When you’re working to let people find you, let people know who you are. That way, wherever you go, the people who trust you can follow, and tell other people you can be trusted too.

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