When you’re running a business a number of things cross your mind through the day such as worrying about how much you’re willing to spend on much needed renovations, what can you do to attract more customers to your business and where you’re going to find trusted dependable employees who don’t slack off every now and then. But maybe one of the things that you probably don’t think of is being a thought leader. Thought leaders are opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise who inspire people with innovative ideas and know how to repeat their success. Because of all the other things you’re worrying about and time constraints it’s understandable at you may not think about how you can inspire your employees when you’re wearing different hats in your business but is thinking about it worth the time?

What’s a thought leader?
      A thoughtful leader are 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 the 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 name 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 receives 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 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.


This article was sourced and rewritten from  http://www.business.com/marketing/brian-sutter-small-business-thought-leaders/