Share Your Expertise to Grow Your Business
As a sole proprietor, part of doing business in the days before COVID involved collaborating with other entrepreneurs and business owners. Sometimes this was paid collaboration and other times it was sharing my expertise as a public relations professional to help others. However, as we all needed to pivot our businesses during COVID, I found the requests to share my expertise have grown substantially since the pandemic began.
In any given week I’m brainstorming public relations or marketing ideas with a business owner, providing a webinar for an organization or creating a virtual team with other consultants to work on a project for a client. While the time I spend is a mixed of billable and unbillable hours, what is consistent is the more I share my expertise, without a predetermined outcome, the greater return I receive.
I have found, since COVID, there is a greater need for entrepreneurs to share their expertise and to look for new forms of collaboration.
We’ve gone from business as usual to business in unusual times.
Find ways to share
Recognizing the expertise that you hold is valuable while needing to honour your time, I encourage you to look at ways you can help others without exhausting yourself.
As a sole proprietor and working mom, with only so many hours in a day, I’ve redesigned my website www.howtocommunications.com to be of service to others. Each month I write blogs on topics that I feel will help business professionals. The inspiration comes from questions raised in workshops or presentations I give or through my client work.
I’ve also created e-books on topics I’m often being asked about (social media, presentation skills, career growth and more). These are compilations of blog posts I’ve written over the years.
Neither of these endeavours are driven by the need to generate an income, but rather to help other entrepreneurs and professionals develop or fine tune their communications and leaderships skills. And the best part – I can be of service without being drained.
As for the reward I’ve gained by sharing my expertise – I’ve developed some amazing personal and professional relationships. By focusing on ways to pay it forward versus looking at what’s in it for me, these have become authentic and meaningful relationships.
Trust me – people can see through disingenuous offers to help.
Through my new relationships, I’ve also grown as an entrepreneur and professional. I’ve been able to understand government programs by asking a new bookkeeper friend, found the best way to refinance my mortgage and traded services with other professionals, saving us both time and money.
New path forward
I truly believe collaborations with others and sharing your expertise (without looking for personal gain) is critical to continuing to navigate and pivot as we make our way through this new reality.
It’s time to throw out the old business model of holding your cards close to your chest. We need to share our collective experience and lessons learned. After all, the success of your business is dependent on the success of other businesses in your community and industry.
How you choose to share and collaborate needs to be unique to your organization and the service you provide to others. It can be as informal as a quick brainstorming call or sharing tips on your social media channel to formally mentoring other entrepreneurs.
By seeking out opportunities to been seen as a resource, you will also gain the respect that helps you be memorable and stand out from the crowd.
As for me, I will continue to listen to the questions being asked and lend my expertise to help other business owners and professionals share their voice and be heard. I do this knowing the successes I’ve had in my career has been the result of others reaching out to help me.