“I am a Consultant.” This declaration is probably heard more these days than the question “What is your name?” More than at any other time in history, this economy has compelled educated highly skilled professionals to seek to earn a living by attempting to ply their trade as consultants. So how does the “standout” consultant rise above the masses of tenderfoot claimants who are just temporarily between jobs? Or, even if you are one of the freshly minted masses, how do you stand on the shoulders of giants to pick the fruitful opportunities that the old guys have been neglecting.
There are “Six Keys to Success” that are essential to building any winning success plan. These attributes are integral to building your brand as a consultant as well. These concepts have been adapted to meet the complex demands of modern day enterprise building.
- Information: Become known as a trustworthy subject matter expert in your field.
- Image: Go out into the world every day and look, sound and act the way you wish to be perceived.
- Initiative: Always act on the basis of sound planning and good research, which leads to the pursuit of effective strategy.
- Confidence: Through dedicating your self to winning small victories, you will be emboldened with the confidence that you've done your best; this will be the basis of the momentum that propels you to success.
- Capital: The greatest source of future revenue and profits for your business will be determined by the purchasing and cost decisions you make today.
- Contacts: You must assemble a winning team. You alone will never possess all of the skills and abilities required for perfection, nor will you ever be able to earn every certification or degree needed to answer every question.
Every successful entrepreneur needs to gain a general mastery of the “Keys to Success”. However, there are four specific tactical applications of these concepts that you can use to help carve out a niche for your consulting brand. You can immediately incorporate these four strategies into your practice in order to gain a leg up on the “competition”.
2) Building Your Brand by Effectively Using Social Media
In the brave new world of "social networking" websites, it can be difficult to resist the urge to mix business with pleasure. We often hear of anecdotal references to people (especially young people in the early stages of building a career) having negative outcomes because of decision makers "Googling" their FaceBook pages and reading their random Twitter "Tweets".
Potential bosses and co-workers are allowed to bear witness to them engaging in various youthful acts of indiscriminate activities that can hinder their career and professional mobility. Although tailoring the privacy settings of your account should suffice to prevent these intrusions into your online realm, the more purely social sites are not really the proper setting to build your professional brand in the first place. Unless of course you are a burgeoning club promoter, top bikini model or outrageous stand-up comic.
When it comes to career and professional branding and positioning, LinkedIn is a more relevant social networking tool. It can be most adequately utilized to establish a well conceived, powerful and consistent personal branding strategy on the World Wide Web. LinkedIn allows you to be proactive with your branding strategy, rather than hoping that the right people see your posts on the other social sites and that after reading the information they somehow "get" your message.
Of course with any successful branding strategy, you must take the time to conceive and execute a plan that addresses your desired outcome. This strategy should achieve the dual goals of positioning you as an expert and networking with the people who you want to make aware of your expertise. There are essentially 3 Keys to Creating a Successful Branding Strategy on LinkedIn:
1) Create a Powerful Profile page.
2) Strategically Build and Regularly Interact with Your Network of Contacts
3) Join the Right Groups.
The keys to personal branding that you will need as you start to use LinkedIn are the same skills you will need as you pursue any personal branding strategy. As you build your profile on LinkedIn, remember that you are attempting to position yourself as a trustworthy subject matter expert in your field. Then as you pursue the task of building your contacts, keep in mind that you must assemble a winning team in order to achieve long-term career and professional success.
In summary: You and you alone are responsible for controlling the quality of your brand. The image you present and the information you transfer to the public are signs of your dedication to quality and the soundness of your ideas. There are many vital aspects that contribute to successfully building a powerful brand for your consulting practice. Whether you are a long time practicing consultant or a novice to the field, utilizing these helpful brand building tactics, as well as a general application of the Six Keys to Success should definitely help you stand out from the crowd in this economic environment.
Vince Rogers is the Principal Change Agent at Vince Rogers & Associates www.vincerogers.biz
Vince Rogers & Associates works with businesses, non-profits and high achieving individuals to formulate winning “Success Plans”.
The foundation for each success plan is tailored around optimizing the management and mastery of the “Six Keys to Success”: Confidence; Capital; Contacts; Initiative; Information and Image.
His books "The Very Best of Disguised Limits" book are available to buy or download free @ www.lulu.com
The complete article Building Your Brand as a Consultant by Utilizing the “Keys to Success” Is featured as the †Cutting Edge Topic in the 2013 Pfeiffer Annual: Consulting