After defining your positioning and brand strategy, developing the skills to become the go-to guy (or gal) in your chosen niche should be your next priority.
You can achieve go-to guy status by getting familiar with topics and disciplines outside your field of expertise that are somehow related to what you do.
A Sports Analogy
Like a sports star who always gets the ball when it’s time to make that crucial play, a go-to guy in business is someone who co-workers and customers can always turn to for the best advice on how to solve their problems.
Fortunately, becoming a go-to guy in business is much easier than in competitive sports. You don’t need super natural skills, just focus, discipline and an open mind.
Let’s suppose you are a Realtor and you have chosen your brand strategy and your niche: To become the foremost expert in luxury condos in South Beach.
If you want to become the go-to guy in that niche, you also need to get familiar with the mortgage market, the tax law, the city’s road construction plans, the major retailers’ expansion plans in the area, etc.
If you do so, you will have an edge over other Realtors who think their job is just to show houses.
By the same token, a web designer who is familiar with search engine optimization, usability and web copywriting techniques will be miles ahead of web designers who just know how to make a web page look pretty.
You can also be a better marketing person if you spend some time in sales working directly with customers and if you understand how areas like forecasting and logistics play a vital role in any successful product launch.
This greater knowledge will become your competitive advantage and a large barrier to entry against those who may want to take a stab at your niche.
Becoming the Go-to-Person in Business
Here are five tips to get you started:
Erase the words “it’s not my job” from your vocabulary
Go to great lengths to understand what other people do and how can they help you achieve your goals. Treat every opportunity to learn something new as a chance to become a better professional.
Get organized and develop a system to easily store and retrieve useful information
Use tools like Evernote to bookmark important blog posts and resources, and tag them with descriptive names so that you can retrieve them easily in the future.
Set up web alerts for your topics of interest
You can use a system like Google Alerts to have articles and blog posts that match your chosen keywords delivered directly to your email inbox on a daily basis.
Start a blog
Like a buddy that helps you stay motivated for that early morning jog, a blog is a great way to force you to be up to date with the issues that affect your business.
The feedback you receive from readers will also help you understand those issues better and to analyze them from different perspectives. A blog is also one of the best ways to build your reputation as an expert.
Build a network of trusted, reliable contacts
Take time and effort to build a contact list of people that you like and trust, who you can turn to when you don’t have all the answers. Use tools like LinkedIn to keep track of your contacts, and sites like Twitter to interact with them frequently and for many different purposes.