What do Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have in common?
Besides having game changing ideas that turned them into billionaires, they both were masters of their game. They not only had great ideas, they made us taste them, consume them and crave for them. They took a spark and turned it into a wildfire; an important lesson for every startup.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were not only entrepreneurs, they were thought leaders. They were able to inspire and educate a generation through their insights and innovation and their flags keep flying high. Thought leadership is about proving to the world that you are worth your salt.
In this day and age of startup pop-up, it has become imperative to sell your idea, share your best practices, skill-sets etc. Why, you ask? For four reasons, we answer: to let customers know why it’s important or different; why do they need it; what makes you the boss in your field; and why people need to stop, notice and listen to you.
Let’s study why every startup should employ thought leadership as an early marketing strategy:
1. Selling the idea
Thought leadership helps entrepreneurs articulate their ideas for the world, both outside and inside. It’s about selling the idea, engaging in the conversation and involving as many people as possible. Educate your audience about your idea and shape their perception about it.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”—Lucius Annaeus Seneca
2. Creating a sense of pride among the employees
Remember that scene from the Jerry Maguire movie when Tom Cruise decides to leave his company and start on his own? He asks if anyone is willing to join him, to which Renee Zellweger agrees. She leaves her job and trusts a man’s dream. That is what we are talking about – people who believe in you, have a crystal clear vision of your idea and are willing to go an extra mile for you.
3. Room for improvisation
Once you have had the conversation started, you can benefit from the feedback of the readers and the users, which gives you an opportunity to rectify your mistakes, change your strategies accordingly and better your product early on (without costing you a dime!).
Mark Zuckerberg, before launching Facebook, built a similar interface in his college. That gave him a fair idea about how his idea would be received in the future and what necessary changes he needs to make. Not to mention the loyal fan base he already had amassed during the time.
4. Establish your credibility
When you share your ideas and voice experiences that resonate with people, it establishes your credibility as an entrepreneur. It also helps you gain respect in your audience and peers. People will not only look up to you for your insights, they will believe in your idea as well.
Infosys, Tata Group, Larsen & Toubro, Google India are some of the most reputable thought leaders in India and are synonymous with trust, sincerity and innovation.
5. Get the media buzzing
Your reputation as a credible entrepreneur, innovator and thinker can also bring you the much desired media exposure. Take Apple for example. Their product launches are legendary: the iPad sold 300,000+ WiFi-only units on launch day. Within three days, the iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million units.
The iPhone 3G sold over a million units on its launch weekend. The media fuels the fire to build a buying frenzy.
6. Business development opportunities
You won’t have investors at your doorstep until you offer value exchange. Make people want to partner with you, work for you and invest their money in you.
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”—Steve Jobs