By Robert Spiegel | Tribune Columnist | October 24, 2005
When my first book on home business was published, I did a number of radio phone interviews on the subject. The interviews were simple. The talk-show host would quiz me on the subject – live – and I would respond with my home business wisdom. I provided the questions in advance, so I knew all the answers.
At the time I was promoting that first book. I was working from home as a writer and raising small children. The radio shows were all over the country, so the interviews came at all times of day. During many of those interviews, my kids were at home. To keep them quiet while I was live on the radio, I used well-tested discipline techniques: bribes of sweets and television.
But when the new puppy walks in front of the television and one kid pushes the puppy away and the puppy lands on top of the kid’s sister and starts licking her face, a cycle of chaos begins. Soon there’s a houseful of yelling, laughing, barking and shoving, then more yelling. One of the standard questions I sent to the talk show hosts was, “How do you run a business while taking care of kids.”
I was trying to answer the question when my house exploded with kid noise. The host laughed and said, “Sounds like you’re facing that issue right now!” The comedy was perfect and we had a good laugh over the radio waves. From then on, I coaxed my kids to misbehave during radio interviews.
The with kids screaming in the background, it was obvious I was boot-deep in the problem of running a company while raising small kids. Thus it demonstrated my familiarity with the subject of raising kids while running a home business, even if it also demonstrated my inability to completely conquer the problem.
One of the best ways to market your business is to show that you’re an expert on the service or product your business sells. In my case, showing that I was an expert on home business – through actual practice – gave authority to my book. Whatever business you’re building – an accounting practice, a photography service – your ability to demonstrate you’re an expert will help convince customers and clients that you’re an expert. There are a number of specific ways you can show your expertise. The best venues for presenting your knowledge are those places where your best prospects are most likely to seek information. For an accountant seeking local clients, a chamber of commerce presentation to new business owners might be the best venue. For Web designers, writing a blog that appears online could be the best place to reach potential clients.
Here are some ways you can demonstrate your expertise:
Speaking at conferences and public forums.
Conferences, seminars, workshops and meetings are a good place to present yourself as an expert. It helps a great deal if your speaking skills are strong. You can develop those skills at little cost through Toastmasters International. Toastmasters groups get together in virtually every community at breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings.
Publish a blog.
I write a blog – short for Web log – on environmental compliance in the electronics industry as a way to promote a Web site that I edit on the subject. The blog lets me present my subject knowledge in an informal, in-the-know manner. You can propose a blog at a Web site on your subject or publish a blog yourself at one of the many blog sites on the Internet. Try Blogger.com.
Writing articles and books.
One of the best ways to show your expertise is to write about your subject. Those who write about a subject are considered experts. Some business owners self-publish books on their subject matter to show they’re experts, but your expertise carries more credibility if you publish through a legitimate newspaper, magazine or book publisher.
If you can convince a legitimate publisher that you’re an expert on your subject and have something worthwhile to say, your prospects will gain respect for your expertise.
About the author:
Robert Spiegel is the Albuquerque author of “The Shoestring Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Best Home-Based Businesses” (St. Martin’s Press). For questions or comments, e-mail him at [email protected]