Forbes Contributor Jeff Shuford: Stop Being Humble And Tell The World How Great You Are
Imagine launching a new product that has the potential to disrupt an entire industry and failing to tell anyone of influence about your idea or concept. After neglecting to show people the importance of your innovation, your company never gains decent traction. The media has never heard of your business, and the investors you need to fund your project are too busy searching for the next big innovation that's gaining massive traction.
This scenario happens daily, and PR professionals are left rebuilding the pieces of a broken (or non-existent) media strategy far too late. The instruction to remain humble causes entrepreneurs to lose out on valuable opportunities to promote their company. Revising your perspective on self-promotion will allow you to elaborate on your expertise and your accomplishments with a non-competitive approach.
Some people will accuse the confident of being arrogant and suggest that you should remain humble. The issue with staying humble is that promotion of your product is an essential element to becoming successful. The lawyers with the most influence (and, usually, who generate more revenue) regularly seek out opportunities to appear in media and remind their potential clients that their firm has the winningest record. When your favorite car manufacturer wins an award, they are not shy about telling the world about it, or that their product is far superior to their competitor's. Why should we as entrepreneurs shy away from announcing our accomplishments?
What Happens When You Position Your Product As The Greatest Of All Time
After we developed a new mobile application to help veterans transition after military service, my veteran-owned tech company pitched global publications about our product. We promoted our app as the greatest resource for veterans looking for lifesaving resources in their time of need. We timed out our pitch to coincide with our appearance at SXSW and were greeted by handfuls of outlets seeking press coverage of our product. Veterans across the country were able to connect with us, and our downloads increased substantially. Without promoting our app as the greatest resource for our target market, we would not have earned that traction.
Change Your Perspective (And Sting Like A Bee)
I challenge you to view yourself as a PR machine, continually (and creatively) reminding people why you and your brand are top notch. The issue with humbly suggesting your work is "nothing special" is that people will constantly underestimate you and your abilities. Or, you can set expectations high. Muhammad Ali, for instance, constantly told the boxing world that he was the greatest boxer of all time. As he started winning more fights, the boxing world began to agree that he was the greatest. Ali promoted himself in order to build momentum; as he defeated opponents, his fights were attended by more spectators, and he gained more fans. When more fans attended his boxing events, he made more money.
Ali's self-promotional strategy was brilliant. You can use it too: Start by telling yourself every morning that your expertise and passion is needed and your product is the greatest of all time. Then tell the rest of the world.
Position Yourself As An Industry Leader
As entrepreneurs, we are leaders of our organizations and future leaders of our industry. When we fail to promote our businesses and our products, we take the back seat and become followers instead of leaders. Leaders call attention to issues and help raise awareness regarding important initiatives. Industry leaders stay relevant and are always looking for opportunities to influence and build momentum for their brands. Being a leader is more necessary — and more accessible — now than ever, with the widespread usage of social media and the over-consumption of information.
In closing, Ali is famously quoted stating, "At home I am a nice guy: but I don't want the world to know. Humble people, I've found, don't get very far." Stop being humble and tell the world how great you are. If you fail to craft the perfect story, try again until you nail it. Our most important job as entrepreneurs is to be head marketer for the brand called you. So go out there and pitch, promote and position your brand for success like your life depended on it — in the long run, you will be glad you did.