Influence is a critical piece for small business owners. The sooner they can get some traction with the public and start building some visibility, the better your chance at building a successful business. Building influence and reach is tough despite all of the tools that are available. The best way to influence others and expand your reach starts with one simple piece.
The piece that I am referring to is to have personal clarity, or a better way of putting it is to know what you stand for. When it comes to gaining clarity, unfortunately it's not a matter of a light switch being turned on and us no longer being in the dark. Gaining clarity is more like a slow decent out of a dark cave. Every step gets you closer to being in the light.
To get yourself on the right path towards that clarity light, we must have daily discipline and practice that allows us to discover more about ourselves and get a better understanding of what we stand for. In the book Siddhartha, it recounts the story of Siddhartha Gotama's own quest for enlightenment. His quest for enlightenment took 6 years of immersing himself into the practice of self discovery before he was known as Buddha, The Enlightened One. The harsh reality for a lot of small business owners is that there is not a lot of time for you to be able to take a sabbatical in order to do this self discovery. We have to become little Buddhas on the fly doing it while worrying about taking care of our families and paying bills.
This doesn't mean that discovery is impossible, it just means that we have to be more intentional with our behaviors. The good news is that a little bit of understanding of what you stand for will put you ahead of most people who just live their lives hoping that this knowledge will fall into their lap one day. Once you have attained greater knowledge of what you stand for, you will be more influential in the conversations you have with others.
You will gain this influence for two reasons. The first reason is obviously because you will be able to more confidently articulate what it is that you are looking to do in the world and what you stand for. Because of the scarcity of confidence in our lives, people tend to be really impressed by the presence of a confident individual. They will remember you because of it. The second reason has to do with your own self esteem. When you have more knowledge of who you are, you stop worrying so much about who you are not. This translates to confidence as well and also allows you to have meaningful conversations with people without having to prove yourself to them with your words. Better connections with people equals a more profound impact on those people you connect with.
If you want to expand your reach and be more influential then start by knowing and understand what it is that you stand for. Don't stand for many things, stand for just one and relentlessly pursue it. This is the first and best step to making your mark on the world and creating your position of influence for the masses.