It goes without saying as we become more interconnected via digital and social media, the rules of engagement for business has somewhat changed.
I remember catching up with friends meant you went out for coffee; not chatting on a WhatsApp group. A ‘fun night out’ meant going for bowling or fishing with friends; not playing a networked game on the internet on the PS4.
Business too has changed. We meet new business contacts on Linkedin, we research and shop online. We check out review sites such as Yelp or Tripadvisor instead of asking our friends where to eat or stay.
It doesn’t stop there, the guy who saw your business idea can set up a competing website within a few hours.
Business has changed. It’s time to change how you do business.
So what’s this ‘new currency’ that I’m talking about? And why is it important to your business?
I would argue that this new currency is ‘authority’.
Authority is the credibility, trust and expertise that’s assigned to you or your business.
Authority means that you are an expert in your industry, in your area of expertise.
Authority means that you have the qualifications, experience and have demonstrated your knowledge in the field that you have chosen.
Authority gives you the credibility and trust that people seek when they have a challenge or problem in your particular area. You are the ‘go-to’ expert or specialist that can help them to fix their problem.
Why is Authority Important?
Having authority has never been so important in business. Here’s several reasons why:
- We are in a click economy
In this click economy, information and your competitors are highly accessible – via a touch of their mobile phone. You need to have authority to stand out and be taken notice of.
Fancy websites and sales talk alone don’t cut it anymore. You need to be seen as the gal or guy who really knows her/his stuff. People need to feel confident that you or your business have the ability to solve their problem, before they spend more time on your site or contact you.
- Noise overload
Everyone is competing for your prospect, apart from websites, your prospects are constantly bombarded by ads on billboards, radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, and even in the urinal.
So what’s going to make you stand out from John Doe down the road? Will you be trying to compete on price or provide more value? Or will you choose to compete on something more sustainable like being an authority figure in your niche market?
It’s no secret that specialists get paid a ton more than GPs. Simply because they have the authority and qualifications. Be a specialist, do that by building your authority.
- Low trust economy
Generally speaking, consumers nowadays are more sceptical than before. This is due to many over-hyped promises and under-delivery on the part of many businesses. Most consumers will not trust anything advertisers say until they have done their own research to satisfy themselves.
Without authority, you are working to push things uphill. If they don’t know you from a bar of chocolate, then you are going to have a tough time convincing them that you are the best choice.
You need to develop trust in this environment. Why should people trust you? Authority is a powerful way to build trust and overcome this challenge.
Step one. Choose your focus. Don’t try to be the jack of all trades. Be specialised and be known for something specific.
Step two. Spend time and effort building your authority. I suggest that the best channels are the following a) Write a book, b) Public Speaking and c) Build a following online. A combination of all 3 is best.
Step three. Be consistent. One blog post every few months is not going to cut it. A Facebook page update once a week is not enough. You need to be frequent and consistent in your efforts to build your authority.
Start building your authority today. As you build it your prospects will gravitate towards you and in the longer term, you will stand out and build a sustainable competitive advantage over the competition.
Thanks for reading. Look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments below.