Thought leaders are people with a lot of knowledge and are considered experts in their fields. They have trusted sources, with inspiring views and fresh ideas. They know how to make things happen, how to repeat their successes and mentor others to do the same. Over time, they build up a loyal group of followers who help them expand their ideas wherever they choose to go. Essentially they are leaders who can see trends before others, offer advice and ideas, and inspire and persuade. Thought Leaders are seen as reliable sources of information, not just by their customers and clients, but also by their friends and colleagues. 

The benefits of being a Thought Leader in small business

Small business owners may not think about industry leadership because they are just worried about making it through the next quarter. But actually, it serves business owners to be thinking this way. Thought Leadership is needed for innovation because new ideas have to be shared, researched, and, most importantly, sold.  Selling an idea doesn't mean giving someone thought in exchange for money. Instead, it means highlighting the features and benefits of the idea in place of what is currently in the market. 

Steps to becoming a Thought Leader

It takes time to become a Thought Leader. Many start by doing research and talking to customers or clients. Then, they figure out what they think and share it with reputable industry resources. So, begin with finding out what your customers want to know about your business: Make a list of all the questions that people in your target market might have about your products or services. Answer these questions and be sure to add personal stories, knowledge, and insights. Next share your insights on many different platforms: like YouTube video, social media, industry publications or consistent blog posts. Be generous with the content of other leaders. People look to thought leaders for information, but they don't have to be the source of that information. Give credit where credit is due when you share the content you enjoy the most. Above all, make sure you deliver value and give the market what it wants in a way that helps people. 

Can anyone be a Thought Leader?

Thought leaders can be of any age, gender, or race, and they can come from any background or community. But it takes real time and years of accumulating knowledge to be considered a true Thought Leader. But with enough commitment and patience, you can still become a Thought Leader in your niche industry.  

Is being a Thought Leader risky? 

When you are thinking differently and in the spotlight, there will always be risk. You may even find yourself on the receiving end of others’ envy or criticism.  Along with the external arrows, the journey from leader to Thought Leader is also an internal dialogue that often requires some soul searching and the willingness to put yourself on the line, and take risks in the name of progress.

The bottom line

Thought Leaders are considered experts in their fields and forerunners in business. With hard work and perseverance, you may well find yourself on the road to becoming one. Being a Thought Leader is innately good for business as it will ensure you are always reading, researching and challenging both yourself and your industry at large. So to fund your next personal and business growth initiative, contact Merchant Capital for funding within 48 hours.

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