April 30, 2013

Create a Platform for Success in 4 Steps

African American businessman giving a speech on podiumThey say everyone has some form of entrepreneurship in them. Okay, maybe I say that, but it’s not without good reason. You see, I believe everyone has that “entrepreneurial spark” inside (whether big or small) because everyone has the power to create an idea. After all, every product, service and company that provides them started with an idea.

Yet, going from idea to manifestationwhether that be a product, service, or a company that provides them—is a process; one that requires a “platform” to be successful.

Our world is fast-paced, ever changing, and crowded. A lot of people find it difficult for their voicesideas, opinions, expressions—to be heard above a constantly changing market and steep competition. Nowadays, everyone who is anyone can start a business, design a product, offer a service—how can ensure your ideas stand out from the crowd? By creating a platform.

A platform is a place, means, or opportunity for public expression of opinion. In your case, “opinion” can be replaced with whatever idea you desire to offer the world. Perhaps, like me, you have a message you’d like to spread through writing, or maybe you desire to create a startup focusing on recruiting. Whatever your career goals, establishing a platform first will help you achieve them; and below are four ways to do just that:

1. Create an Audience

So you want to become a motivational speaker, but you have a small problemno one knows who you are! This means your first step is getting your name out there (there being whatever industry you’re looking to enter). Start a blog where you offer daily inspirational tidbits. Look up local recreation centers, youth programs and nonprofits and inquire about speaking to a group of people on a given subject. Start a group on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to facilitate weekly discussions. However you can garner an audience and a following, do it. This simply helps you become more recognizable in the industry; and benefits your future business, product or service once it’s finally established because people will already be familiar with you and (hopefully) desire your services.

2. Design a Website

Once you begin to create a buzz about your ideas, you’ll need a place where consumers can get more information. Why not create a website? Even if it’s just an online portfolio representing your credentials, this will still help. While it’s not a good idea to run out and buy a domain name for a product or business you don’t have fully established yet, it never hurts to have your own site representing you. On the website you can talk about your products, services and/or future business. You can also include a link to your blog for cross promotion and ways for people to contact you.

3. Maintain an Online Presence

This step is especially important because having an online presence is everything nowadays. Use social media to promote yourself and your ideas. You can link your blog to your social network profiles so that each time you create a new post your networks will automatically update with it. You can gain followers on Twitter, add Facebook friends, and make connections on LinkedIn with people in the industry you’re looking to enter. Social media can also promote your website and actual product, service and/or business once it’s established.

4. Believe in Yourself

I know this one sounds cliché, but hear me out. In pursuing my author-endeavors, I came across a piece of advice (specifically for getting a novel published): Instead of the book, believe in your talent. This goes for anything we desire to accomplish. Instead of how creative, innovative, and unique your product is, believe in the talent that created it. The road from idea to manifestation can be long and full of obstacles, yet if you believe in your abilities and talents, you’ll be able to persevere through adversity. Even if your pursuits fail, if you believe in your own abilities instead of the product itself, you’ll be willing to do what they sayif at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end.

Read more in Entrepreneurship

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
Google+ Profile