What Defines An Expert Business?

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Sam Tetrault

Content & Copywriter - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Sam Tetrault

Content & Copywriter - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
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No matter your industry, you want to be seen as an expert business. An expert business is a professional brand with influence that often acts as a thought leader in the space. With people of all backgrounds seeking out expert content more than ever before, brands and professionals alike need to position themselves as an expert business. 

However, this is easier said than done. There’s no quick-fix when it comes to becoming an expert. An expert is someone with authoritative knowledge in an area, but how does that translate into real-world practice? Though you might find endless so-called “experts” online, how many of them have the skills to back it up?

In the past, the only way to determine if someone was an expert was by visiting their office, looking through their physical degrees, and finding physical identifiers of expertise. Today, the landscape is different. Anyone can create any type of impression online, but true expertise shines through. Whether you’re trying to get paid to speak or act as a professional consultant to top brands, an expert business stands out. 

If you want to be an expert business, it often comes down to your strategy and reputation. In fact, nearly half of US adults have searched online for someone before deciding to do business with them. In this guide, we’ll share what specifically defines an expert business. More importantly, we’ll identify the ways you can start an expert business in your chosen field. 

What is an expert business? 

To begin, what is an expert business anyway? The word “expert” is highly subjective. It’s difficult to define what separates an amateur from an expert. In reality, it isn’t always related to your education or experience—though those things are important too. In many cases, being an expert business is dependent on how you monetize your knowledge. 

For example, you might choose to build your career by leveraging your expertise. This could move you up the corporate ladder. Alternatively, you can business an entire business around your expertise, positioning yourself as a consultant, speaker, or go-to thought leader. There is no one-size-fits-all that connects expert businesses. It’s important to define the path you want to take. 

There are a few factors most expert businesses share. These can be used to tie down the definition. When you’ve achieved these things, you’re an expert business. An expert business has all of the following:

  • Proven track record: First, expert businesses have a proven track record of success. They’ve consistently achieved successful results in their professional work. 
  • Testimonials: It’s not enough for a business to claim it’s an expert. Top businesses also have testimonials and feedback recommending their expertise. With the average consumer reading 10 online reviews before making a purchase, testimonials make a difference. 
  • Referrals: Social proof is a powerful indicator of expert business. If a business is referred by another trusted professional, this is a sign they’re truly an expert. In fact, 82% of Americans seek recommendations before making a purchase. 
  • Recognized credentials: Expertise doesn’t appear out of thin air. Credentials take different forms, like formal education, certifications, career experience, and so on. When these are recognized by the industry as a whole, they create thought leaders. 
  • Versed in failure: Lastly, experts aren’t perfect. An expert business is one that’s well-versed in falued, thus they know how to avoid it in the future. Better yet, they advise others on how to avoid failure in their own careers. 

Expert businesses are more likely to land referrals, secure new clients/customers, and boost their revenue potential. This goes beyond social media shares and LinkedIn accolades. It’s real-world trust that pays off in a big way. 

How do you start an expert business?

With that in mind, how do you actually start an expert business? If you’re just getting started, you want to lay a strong foundation to build your own expertise. As explained above, this isn’t something that happens overnight. It often takes years of hard work to become an expert business professional. To begin, use these steps below. 

Define who you serve and why. 

The first step to starting an expert business is to define your audience. Without a target audience, you can hardly develop your expertise. If you’re trying to please and appeal to everyone, you’ll never effectively market to your customers. Instead, you need to specialize in your specific audience. 

When you focus your efforts on a small group of clients, you have the ability to better understand their needs. You’ll know this group inside and out, making it easier to serve them effectively. Once you know who you serve, create your why. How can you help your specific audience, and why are you the best person for the job?

Define the outcomes you want to achieve in working with clients. 

Next, define the outcomes you want when working with your audience. When you have authority, you need to know how to use it. In most cases, you’re trying to make the lives of your clients easier. You have to become an advocate for their success. If you don’t know where you’re going, it will be hard to communicate with your clients effectively. 

By defining your specific goals, you can create a strategy that works for you. This might mean creating targeted articles for your blog, adopting a social media strategy, or sending targeted email messages. When you know the results you’re hoping to achieve, it’s easier to communicate your value. From there, track your results to use in your marketing later on. When you track your success, you’re able to leverage this within your social proof for future customers. 

Highlight your experience and credibility.

Expert businesses also know how to highlight their own experience. There are a lot of different ways to do this. It’s all about letting your experience shine through. This comes in many different forms, some of which are better for different audiences. Some common options include:

  • Share your education and past experience
  • Create a case study
  • Write articles for professional publications
  • Collaborate with other experts
  • Write a book
  • Present to other leaders in your space
  • Use testimonials to build social proof

By highlighting your past experience, you show your audience your value rather than tell them. It’s much easier to believe someone when you can see real-world proof of their credibility. Especially in the age of cyber gurus and so-called “entrepreneurs,” you need to make sure you’re putting your money where your mouth is. 

Build a network within your focus industry(ies).

Lastly, it’s time to build a network within your industry. Your expert business can’t exist within a bubble. You need a strong network to build your authority. This can come about in many ways. One of the simplest methods is to be active on social media, collaborating with those in your community. Don’t underestimate the power of being present and showing up.

From there, you can branch into other areas. You might interact with top experts in your industry online, attend in-person events, or start speaking publicly. Soon, you’ll have a wide net of industry pros who know, like, and trust you. This is how you start an expert business. With 80% of professionals finding networking essential to their career success, you can’t do this alone. 

How do you build an expert business?

Finally, once you have a strong foundation for your expert business, it’s time to take it to the next level. Again, this takes time and patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your expert business. A few targeted steps help you create a strong business that’s trustworthy (and profitable). 

Invest in your sales education (even if you hate selling).

One of the first steps is to invest in sales education. While it’s common to hate selling, even as an expert business, it’s not optional. This doesn’t have to be hardcore sales. However, every business owner needs to know how to write strong emails, use persuasive sals language, and promote calls to action. Even if you’re turned off by selling, it’s the only way to grow your business. 

While you can eventually outsource the majority of your selling, every expert business professional needs to be versed in the basics. For example, consider your elevator pitch. If you were to stumble upon a high-level thought leader in an elevator, how would you sell your expertise? This is where confidence and strong selling skills come in handy. The right sales education gives you the skills and confidence to approach every interaction with selling in mind. 

Balance self promotion with value.

Next, strike the right balance between self promotion and value. Nobody wants to feel aggressively sold to when interacting with someone. It doesn’t feel authentic, and it leaves your clients feeling like they just interacted with a sleazy car salesman. Instead, learn how to sell yourself while still providing quality value. This should feel natural. 

This all goes back to the “service before sales” mentality. If you keep the focus on building strong relationships, the money comes naturally. More importantly, you’ll make more per customer or client in the long run. The statistics don’t lie. In fact, 86% of people say authenticity is the most important factor when deciding which brands to like and support. If you’re not likable,  you’re not an expert business. It’s important to treat people as individuals, not sales numbers on a page. 

Create consistent, free content for your audience.

Along those lines, you can provide value by creating consistent, free content for your audience. One of the most effective ways to show your value as an expert business is to give things away for free. While this might sound counterproductive, it’s a way to build trust and drive engagement. In short, free content gives your audience a sample of what to expect when they work with you. It’s another way to try before you buy. 

Whether you’re selling a product or service, people want to feel confident before they part with their money. With high-quality content, they know they’re getting something valuable and worthwhile. Free content comes in many forms, like blog posts, downloadable guides, training material, and discovery calls. Above all, free content positions you as the expert authority in your industry.

Diversify your sources of revenue. 

Last but not least, diversify your sources of revenue. Thanks to the digital age, now is the time to make sure your eggs aren’t all in one basket. When you focus on multiple areas, you’re ready for anything the future might bring. Expert businesses often leverage their skills to assist their audience in a variety of ways, including:

  • Ebooks or physical books
  • Online courses
  • Workbooks
  • Executive coaching
  • Group consulting
  • Workshops
  • Paid speaking
  • Affiliate marketing

While it’s great to build a strong platform for yourself, you can never get too comfortable. For example, during the COVID pandemic, many business leaders turned to new mediums to help others while earning revenue. In many cases, this meant turning to virtual events, speaking, and consulting to guide other leaders through the necessary changes. When you diversify your sources of income, you expand your audience. 

Leverage Your Expert Business

Whether you’re trying to land paid speaking gigs or generate greater income, it’s important to know what it means to be an expert business. Though these business professionals come in all shapes and sizes, they’re connected by their commitment to providing value for their audience. 

You don’t need any fancy education or experience to start an expert business. However, you need to be dedicated to your niche and serving others. Take these steps above seriously if you wish to build an expert business from the ground up. There has never been a better time to consider the importance of your authority within your industry. How will you make an impact?

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