Influence Equals Relationships

The Influence Project

The Influence Project

Imagine opening a major business publication – Fast Compay – and encountering a photo with 30,000 business professionals and realizing that you KNOW ONE OF THEM!  Check out the 2nd row – 1st person on the left – that’s my friend Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers.

Actually, I didn’t see it in the magazine, I went to the monthly Akron Blogging Community coffee and one of the members Chris Brown had a copy and everyone was peppering Ivana with questions.  How did this happen? How excited are you? What did you do to get so high on the list? Ivana is #21 out of 30,000 people who participated in a recent influence study conducted by Fast Company magazine.

“I don’t know. I saw the contest and I signed up and maybe wrote a blog post or tweeted a couple times, but I have no idea how I scored so high in influence,” our modest Ivana said.

However when the discussion went a little deeper it turns out that Ivana lives and breathes building relationships and community with others, providing value, seeking to connect people with others.  Gee, sounds like influence to me.

“It’s all about making it easy for people to help spread the news about your business and doing the same for them,” she said.

Ahh, making it easy and doing for others. Sounds like the perfect formula for building customer relationships and creating a reputation for being the go-to person in her industry.

So think about your network. Are you viewed as a person of influence?

CONGRATULATIONS IVANA for leading the way!

Here is a short documentary on what it means to be an influencer. Great quote – once you get to a certain point in your career you need to indentify others in the younger generation and mentor them to help them grow!  Love it.

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Kindle: The Backward Approach to Customers

So I’m going through my stack of articles that I rip out of magazines and save for the “some day” that I’m going to do something with them and came across this article about the top 50 Innovative businesses of 2009 that appeared in the March 2009 issue of Fast Company.

Amazon comes in at #9 with a tagline piece of advice “what’s dangerous is not to evolve.”

The article is about the incredible sales of the Kindle.  Of course, almost a year later, the Kindle isn’t new news but there was a statement in the article that was important enough for me to circle it and save:

“There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills.  Kindle is an example of working backward.”

It is rare that a company begins its life or expands its offerings by first asking the customer what they want or need.  If we start with the customer first – how would that change what we offer or how our business evolves?

I talk with many entrepreneurs who ask “how many years did it take you before you refined your niche market.”    Or other veterans of business who say “my business today isn’t anything like what I thought it would be when I started.”

If we started with the customer first…would we get to our ideal business sooner? Do you have a customer focused business?

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