If I asked you to think of some of the world’s most influential businesses, I’d expect your mind would be quick to produce names such as Amazon, Apple, Coca Cola…And while these companies are quite revered across the globe for their scale and innovation, many business owners often feel they too need to achieve this same level of success and wealth in order to be considered influential, writes best-selling author and influencer Sam Cawthorn.
Having trained CEOs and global executives from a range of organisations over the past decade through The Speakers Institute, I have come to learn the secrets to building a truly influential business, irrespective of the scale. So, whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner or the CEO of a multi-national conglomerate, if you want to take your company to the next level and establish genuine influence for the long term, here are my three key learnings and how you can apply them.
Your Integrity Needs to Come Before Your Brand
We all know the importance of a visual or personal brand. While a brand can help you stand out from the crowd and gain recognition, if this is all your business has, you won’t get very far. A brand can look fantastic on the outside with all the markers of success, such as great visuals/marketing, celebrity ambassadors, a big social following…but if you don’t back it up internally with integrity, authenticity and vulnerability, your brand will eventually lose all value. Your brand is important and it’s what might get you in the door – but it won’t launch you into the stratosphere. If you want your business to grow and establish influence, the key is building a business that has both a strong brand, but also the values to back it up.
If you’re unsure about whether the two align for your business, start by asking yourself:
- Does my brand truly reflect my own values?
- Does my brand show what I stand for and believe in?
- Am I proud of the person reflected in my brand?
Don’t Mistake The ‘Mission’ For the ‘Vision’
Vision is your business’ ultimate goal and dream. The mission on the other hand, is the daily tasks you do to work towards that ultimate goal. A mistake many business owners make, is they often forget to communicate the vision and so many employees easily get stuck in the 9-5 grind of the ‘mission’ without truly ever understanding the end goal. If you want to build a highly influential business, you need to constantly communicate the ‘why’ through a vision statement which is available for everyone to see and understand. Once people understand your vision, from here you can work on the micro tasks that will get you your business where you want it to go. Yes, it will take a lot of patience, self-discipline, and determination to get there, but if you want to achieve big things for your company, never mistake the mission for the vision.
Choose to be Significant, Not Successful
I’m pretty sure most business owners and entrepreneurs go into their ventures with success on their minds, and they would be crazy not to. However, while success if important, as 2020 has taught us, so many successful things can crash overnight. Significance on the other hand, can last a lifetime and even beyond that. Take for example, Australian toilet-paper brand ‘Who Gives A Crap.’ Founded in 2012, three mates from Melbourne discovered that over 2.4 billion people across the world didn’t have access to proper hygiene and toilets. And so, after an initial crowd-funding campaign to get started, the company expanded and soon become a multi-billion-dollar company – with a core value at the centre of ensuring proper sanitation and toilets could be provided to these communities. To date, Who Gives A Crap has donated $8.3 million to people in need.
While most toilet paper companies no doubt saw huge success across 2020 due to the COVID-19 stockpiling and shopper panic, Who Gives A Crap has used their success for good, placing their values at the core of their strategy and leaving a positive legacy that will remain for decades. If your business has made a positive impact on people’s lives, you will always be significant to them. When you align your aims and purpose to achieve significant, inevitably, success will follow.
Sam Cawthorn’s latest book, “People Follow People: The 12 characteristics of an influencer leader” is published by Wiley and is now available in bookstores across the country or through Cawthorn’s website
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