When you’re running a business, there are a lot of concerns that will cross your mind in the day. Managing costs, government regulations, attracting new customers and employees are common examples of the many things business owners think about. One thought that entrepreneurs may not think about often primarily concerns ways they could be thought leaders in their business. What are thought leaders and why are they important?

Thought leaders are opinion leaders who possess extensive knowledge and experience in their field of expertise. They inspire people with innovative ideas that can lead to positive outcomes and repeat that success over and over again. Famous examples of these kinds of leaders include Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, and Simon Sinek. Being a thought leader, however, takes time, high levels of commitment and a willingness to challenge the status quo. With that in mind, what is the value of being a thought leader worth to abusiness owner?

What do thought leaders do?
A thoughtful leader is people who think progressively about the future of their industries aiming to push it upward. They’re the ones who get their voices heard in their industry when it comes to new ideas. Thought leaders are the people who get for exposure for challenging old methods/ideas and coming up with ingenious ways to market a product/service. On top of this thought leaders are open to idea and thought exchanges helping them earn the respect of colleagues. They can be thought of as PR’s getting your company names out there letting the public know about you and what your business is about.

Should you be one?
There’s no harm in thinking about whether or not you’d want to be a thought leader but if you really want to know if you could or not you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons together. That means seeing what opportunities you’re missing out in not being one and the commitments you’ll have to make to be one. Thought leaders usually bring a new level of accomplishment and achievements that bring visibility to people like customers, clients and partners. The spotlight would also be on you so you must be prepared to be the target of scrutiny which is one reason why you must ask yourself do you really want to be one and if not who will. To be successful you have to get out there and have face to face interactions with customers and buyers and develop the necessary social skills to promote what you’re offering.

How can blogging help you?
Blogging is one way thought leadership can help you get the publicity your company needs. It is used in many small businesses and blogging a couple times a month can attract people’s attention as reported by HubSpot a marketing and sales platform a company that blogs 16 or more times a month will receive more then 3 times more traffic then those who rarely do or don’t at all. Keeping your content relevant and engaging keeps people interested and all that traffic can create leads. Blogging though takes a little time to master because it coming up with ideas do not come easily given my recent experience as a social media marketer for a small business which is why you could always hire writers or SEOs if you have the money for it but if not you can learn. One helpful tip if you’re relying on someone else to write the content is to think about a question or subject and record yourself talking about it so your writers can know what to put on the web since they don’t have the experience you have. If not blogging you can find other content to post like videos, quotes, and questions you can ask people online to keep your company’s online presence from being boring.

Customer input.
Your customers are your target audience and so you should hear what they have to say. By being attentive to their concerns and listing them down you are showing that you value their inputs. Start by answering any questions in order of whats more important to address then work your way through down. Paying attention to your customers can improve your business’s customer relationship skills and provide a competitive edge over other businesses that may offer the same services/products.

Keep in mind that you do not have to be a thought leader for your business to be successful but it can help a lot. If you’d like to find out how it can benefit your company you could try it for awhile, see what you’ve learned and what good came out of it. Thought leadership can get you some extra attention and the experiences could help you find ways to improve your companies image. It may not be for everyone but it can go a long way to helping you improve yourself and your business in many ways which is always a worthwhile investment.