An article in Entrepreneur Magazine caught our attention and brought up some good points to remember as you go about trying to market your way to the top of your business community: Many entrepreneurs still believe that a great idea will carry their startup to success. However, it takes more than selling your idea. To investors your idea is worth nothing alone and selling yourself is more important than selling your idea. Your entrepreneurial success is similar to that within the corporate world where it is vital how your managers and co-workers perceive you and your work. Except now your “managers” are investors, vendors, business partners and team members. Here are some tips for promoting yourself to entrepreneur success from the book “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success” by Dan Schawbel and a few add-ons from veteran startup mentor, Martin Zwilling.
1. An “idea” is just the beginning: Develop your ability to promote yourself by using your business idea to jump start relationships with investors, customers, and business partners. Learning from these experiences will determine your ultimate success.
2. Pursue skills you don’t have right now: Evaluate which skills are most important for your business and try to pursue the ones you don’t currently posses or need improvement. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, soft, interpersonal skills are becoming more important than hard, technical skills. As an entrepreneur it is also important to have leadership and coaching skills, which you can learn from mentors and networking with peers.
3. Polish your reputation, as it's your best asset: Although it is great for people to see what you have done, it is better what people think that you can do now. What matters more is how much people trust you, who you know, who knows you, and the aura you give off to people around you.
4. Your personal life is now public: Your personal life can impact your business success in a big way when it comes to the internet and social media. Take the time to manage your image rather than ignore it. For example monitor how you behave, your online presence (or lack of it), and whom you associate with. These simple things can either help build your brand or tear it down.
5. Build a positive presence in new media: There are many benefits to having a positive presence on new media. Some of which are building your reputation, connecting you with people who have similar interests, and find educational opportunities that will put you in touch with people who can help your startup.
6. Play nice with people of all ages: Due to economic need and increasing life spans, people are remaining in the workplace longer. Because of this you need to be able to work well with all ages. Gain an understanding of how each generation communicates and the views they offer to the marketplace.
7. The one with the most connections wins: With today’s economy becoming more social than informational, it is less about what you know and more about whether you can work with other people to solve problems. So it is important to become connected and stay connected.
8. Just one person can change your life: Promoting yourself in the right way can make all the difference in connecting you to the key person that will help support your business. All you need is that one investor, distributor, or customer that puts you ahead of your competitors.
9. Hours are out, accomplishments are in: The success and growth of your business is about more results, and less about more work. So stop thinking about how many hours you work and aim for more milestones and tractions. Begin to measure your results, promote them, and help others realize your value.
10. Your startup is in your hands: People will help you when you begin to help yourself. So take accountability of your business success. Begin to learn and grow so that you have something to promote and soon you will be benefitting from others.