One of my daughter’s friends has recently begun an online business. It runs events for small to medium businesses and organises conferences. The young man behind this venture came to me for some tips on attracting attention to his new website. A few days later I was having a chat to the granddaughter of a close friend. This sweet five year old only started school this year, but she sadly told me she has few friends in the playground and with big earnest eyes asked me how to make the other kids notice her. It dawned on me that the new entrepreneur and the five-year-old were asking the same question: how do I stand out in this crowded world?
Okay, in my life I have had no trouble standing out – sometimes for the right reason and sometimes for the wrong, but I have been able to draw the spotlight to me. First tip, be disciplined. To build up a business or even be noticed socially you need to be fit and full of beans. That takes some discipline. Even this little five-year-old, should get into the habit of going to bed on time, having her school bag packed, and having her clothes ready. Being organised will help you to feel more confident in the playground. I gave her mum the same advice. This little one is not unhappy at school she just wants to be a success. She is a determined five-year-old!
The young entrepreneur also needs some discipline. His website needs to look good and he needs to be constantly posting new and interesting content.
Don’t be afraid to be creative
I am not suggesting that you be outrageous, but you need to be different to stand out. The owner of the event/conference website needs to illustrate how his events will differ from his competitors. He needs to be creative and clever, and come up with new ideas.
The five-year-old could also try to stand out in the playground. If she wants to wear a giant polka dot bow in her hair every day then she should go for it, provided it does not breach the school’s dress code. Pretty soon anyone who meets her will say, ‘You’re the girl with the big polka dot bow.” No one will forget her.
Do not be afraid to share your story and your life. I told the entrepreneur to write a testimony for his website explaining why he began the business and what he wants to achieve. Make the story personal and real. That will help win over potential clients. The five-year-old should also be encouraged to introduce herself and share a few basic facts about herself – who she lives with, what she likes to do, what her favourite food is, etc.
Create a network of friends
The entrepreneur needs to create an online community. He needs to reach out to people on Facebook and LinkedIn, and he needs lots of subscribers to his website. He should get email addresses for everyone in his social and professional circles and connect with them. Invite them to join his Facebook page and link to them on LinkedIn. Also get pages on Instagram and Pinterest and it helps to have a YouTube channel. From these people he can connect to others online and start growing his business.
The new school kid should also be aiming for a community of friends and not just one besty. It is okay to be friends with one group in the classroom, another in the playground and another on the bus. It is never a good idea to put all our eggs into one relationship-basket, because that puts a lot of pressure on one person. Better is to cultivate a community of supporters.
There is nothing that turns people off a business or a person like inconsistency. In business, people want solid, reliable service. In a friend, people want someone who is even tempered and fair. Sure, we have good days and bad days, but to be a good friend, you need to be even-tempered and reliable – not moody and irrational.
Learn from your mistakes
Be prepared to listen to others and find out what you did wrong. If you have a business website, have a section where people can post comments. Moderate the site, so not everyone can see the comments automatically, but post up praise and learn from the negative feedback.
As a friend, whether you are five or 50, listen to the people who love you. From time to time they will let you know what your faults are, and also where your strengths lie. Be an honourable friend. Be on time, don’t stand people up, don’t dump them at the last minute for a better offer. Stand out by being reputable and noble in a fickle world.
Whether you go into business or the playground, you need to believe you are going to make it otherwise you will crash and burn. I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else? That means you need to manage your emotions well. You need to deal with your fears and anxieties and not inflict them on anyone else. You need to be emotionally efficient and independent.
Understand what makes you tick
Do you know who you are? Do you know what you want in life? What do you want to achieve? I asked the five-year-old this and she told me she wanted to be happy and make other people happy, which was a delightful and inspiring answer. My friend with the website also wants to deliver a quality service that will make his clients happy.
Aim to be your best every single day and let other people know what you stand for. Most importantly don’t ever sell out or compromise yourself or your values.
Don’t start selling a shonky product so you have a bigger profit margin, or hanging out with the mean kids in the school yard because they have the numbers and you don’t want them to pick on you.
I like what Yoko Ono said, “You change the world by being yourself.”
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ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.