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Value Creation Blog

Really, You Need A Platform – Creating Value

Posted by Josh Patrick

platform resized 600Or, the better question might be what is your platform?  A platform is how other people see you and how other potential customers find you.  Anyone who is in business has a platform.  If you don’t, then your customers have no idea how to find you or who you are.  Even if you don’t have a website and don’t advertise you have a platform.  Your platform is just not very visible.

If you’re like most business owners I know, having a bigger platform is something you strive for.  Most business owners even if they don’t know it want a larger platform.  If your platform increases you can gain more customers.  Just think about it in this way; a bigger platform equals more customers.

So, if this platform thing is so important how come I haven’t heard about it before?

You probably have, just not using this term.  You’ve heard that you need to have a website, you need to get referrals, you need to have a good reputation, and you need to be active in social media.  These are all parts of what makes a platform.  Having a platform moves you from thinking about these issues as separate items to one that is integrated in everything you do in your company.

In my own case I’m trying to build a platform that gets the attention of very successful business owners.  I want to be known as one of the thought leaders about issues that are important for middle market business owners.  For my platform to be successful I need to have a strategy for people to find me from all over the country. 

I hope you don’t care about my platform goals.  I hope you’re starting to think about what you might want for your own platform.  If you’ve read my posts and buy my arguments about the importance of small niches your platform goals will likely be smaller. 

If you’re a nicheaholic, what do you want for your platform?

If you’re marketing to a small niche you can be the person that everyone in your niche knows. To become this person you need to think about building your reputation for having unique solutions.  When you think about a potential market you want it to be big enough that you can build a reasonable business but small enough that you can have a high market share in that niche.

You want to spend time finding out who the thought leaders are in your niche.  You’ll likely find that it’s easy to spend some time with these people.  If they meet you and like you they likely will help you build your platform.  They’ll talk about you with their friends and give you opportunities to talk with others about what makes your company special.

You’ll want to think about what activities you want to pursue in building your platform.  Do you want to start a blog, become active in social networking, become a referral magnet, or speak at and become an integral part of the trade association that serves your niche? 

The important thing for you to think about in this activity is to realize you have a limited amount of resources for building your platform.  Look at the activities that will provide the biggest bang for the amount of effort you can afford in time and effort.  For me, it’s my blog at the New York Times.  For you it will be something completely different.

First, you will want to think about what your platform is.  Second, look at the low hanging fruit you have.  Finally, start.  You can’t build a platform by just thinking about it.  You have to take action.

We’ve put together a quiz that will allow you to find out where you are in becoming a nicheaholic.  This quiz will take you five minutes and just might help you think about what it takes to build a company that understands and dominates it’s niche.  To take our quiz, click on the button below.


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Topics: for business owners, value creation, Focus, niche business, niche management

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