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Increasing your Credibility in 30 days: How to Brag without Bragging

Increasing your Credibility in 30 days: How to Brag without Bragging
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The meek have not inherited the earth and it appears they won’t anytime soon. The people who get ahead are the ones who know how to brag without coming across the wrong way. There is no one right way to do this but having enhanced credibility paves the way to becoming a successful braggart rather than a boor.

At its simplest, building credibility in the public realm involves creating credible content and spreading it around. The process of building a public profile is not an extremely difficult one but it does take a sustained, considered effort. Taking several well paced and relatively small steps over a 30 day period can yield handsome dividends.

1. Print out or ‘screen capture’ the first three pages of Google hits.
The internet and its search engines have become so ubiquitous that a reputation is becoming defined by what the first 3 pages of Yahoo! or Google search hits turns up. Forget about personal and professional references for making a first impression because the internet search gets done before that. Work on improving the hit list.

2. Review your scrapbook.
This involves going through the various past accomplishments, brochures, awards, correspondence, etc. and any sources of what could be considered public or quasi-public content and creating a pool to draw from for building the foundation.

3. Write an article that captures the essence of what you are doing that makes you great.
An easy type of article to write is one that incorporates a ten point list, targeting the key area or areas. Circulate the article or drafts while soliciting feedback from select friends, clients and partners.

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4. Submit one article to a general online publication.
Why an online publication? Simply, to become friendly to the internet search engines. Online publications are easier to get articles into, faster to get published, stick around a long time, are easily searched and provide valuable direct links to the company – all while improving the Google three page search hits profile.

5. Submit one article to a trade specific publication.
This is remarkably easy to do by simply reshaping the original article with relatively little effort and getting it into an online or print media format where there is no competition with paid writers. Many associations actively seek interesting contributions from their members, and also from non-members.

6. Submit one article to an offline publication.
Generally, this involves a need to call the editor and pitch the piece by way of sending a summary or sending a previous online one as a sample.

7. Find third party research and material that supports your views.
There is nothing wrong with promoting or citing other people’s materials where they reinforce your main message. In fact the opposite is usually true. A great way to enhance credibility is through association with others who are already perceived as credible with the audience you are trying to reach.

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8. Add any credible logos to your website or documents.
Logos from client companies, trade associations, major media that provided coverage, not-for-profit organizations and any other relevant ones should be included to enhance your public profile.

9. Post your profile on various social networking sites.
Many of these websites and networking systems have very high placements with google and other search engines. Include company and professional profiles, limiting jargon, in such a way that a wide audience can understand the information which should be well written and appear professional.

10. Get listed in media and professional directories.
Media people have a constant need to call on experts in various areas to get a quote they can use for whatever they are working on. You should become known as a person to go to for expertise in an area.

11. Send testimonials to credible people who will post it on their website.
These testimonials must be consistent with the core article and key messaging. They should go to people who would be good to associate with to add value and credibility.

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12. Nominate companies or people for awards.
Receiving an award or public acknowledgment is a great way to enhance credibility for the recipient. It also reflects well on whoever makes the nomination.
Nominating a company or individual for an award does not mean they should be automatically expecting to win. Fortunately, most know the difference between being nominated and winning so won’t start ordering champagne ahead of time.
Be prepared to show up at the event if your nominee wins!

13. Position yourself as an expert in your area.
Which area is not as important as being able to hold oneself out as a credible expert. To do so involves preparing a focused bio and creating an expert statement with some supporting materials. Media people habitually seek quotes from experts on whatever subject they are reporting on.

14. Ask for testimonials from credible people and companies.
Testimonial quotes must be consistent with the core article to reinforce the main message. To gain maximum impact, however, it is important to become involved with the best wherever possible. Incorporate written, audio or video testimonials and quotes into website, brochure, audio and video content.

15. Create framed thank you letters and send them to opinion leaders or admired companies.
Fan mail is usually appreciated by whomever receives it. Even when they are very busy while at the top of their game, they will often have time to read and respond to it. Companies often prominently place such letters in their front offices and hallways where they can remain for several years. What they rarely receive is a fan letter than comes in a frame and is ready for public display. You can call on these people later to ask them for favors.

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16. Post comments on trade-specific websites.
Much like in the case of testimonials, quality counts more than quantity. A couple key comments on a couple good sites will again boost search engine results. Use a real name to avoid it being one of the myriad anonymous bits that fill cyberspace.

A well-executed process for a person or small business intent on increasing credibility through an enhanced public profile will yield a sound profile in days rather than months or years. Initially, the process focuses on setting the foundation. Once a good foundation has been set, then it becomes time to engage the media. At the end of the process, one will have the respect that has been earned and not come across as boorish while bragging.

Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa are co-founders of Atomica Creative Group , a specialized strategic product marketing firm. Through leading edge insight and research, sound strategic planning and effective project management, Atomica helps companies achieve greater success in bringing new products to market and in improving their existing businesses. They have co-authored Overcoming Inventoritis now available.

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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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