One of the best ways to market your small business is to position yourself as an expert or authority in your industry. It helps establish your credibility and visibility, thus increasing public confidence in your product offerings. For example, it’s an “understood” that if you write a book about widgets, in the eyes of the consumer, your widgets must be better than your competitors because they have some insight into you and respect your clout.
For a small business owner starting out there are opportunities to showcase your expertise through blogging, article marketing and posting on forums. These give you recognition but there is a company in San Francisco that pays consulting fees for your knowledge.
Maven Research, Inc. has built a unique online platform that networks industry professionals with clients seeking information on particular topics. You don’t have to be a corporate executive to participate in the program. The company philosophy is inclusive, meaning that what an individual knows, perceives or has experienced has value. It’s clients looks for a broad spectrum of perspective to help them make business decisions that reflect the reality of the market.
The network of people that sign up to participate “is comprised of professionals ranging from entry-level employees to senior executives to retirees. Doctors, attorneys, store clerks, engineers, tobacco farmers, accountants, sole proprietors, appliance repairmen – all play important roles in the economy.”
The clients of Maven have access to the entire database of experts, and using intuitive search tools they can quickly find the people that have the answers they are seeking. The company gives examples of the topics the clients are researching:
“You might be an engineering manager who needs advice on which component to select for a critical function in your new product. Or an attorney seeking an expert witness for an upcoming lawsuit. Or an investor trying to learn more about a new medical treatment. Or a marketing manager who needs to survey potential customers about their experience with competitive products.”
As you can see, the chances are high that something you know will be of value to another business owner. There is no upfront fee to set up an account with the research firm. You are required to provide a profile of your skills, languages and products and services you use. The more information you provide, the more opportunities you have to be requested to consult on a subject. You set your own consultation rate. On occasion you may be invited to participate in market surveys by the client.
One of the greatest advantages of doing telephone a consultation with a client is developing a business relationship. Maven gives you its blessing to continue working with the client outside the structure of the platform it provides. As a small business owner, it is another strategy for getting your business known and having introductions to potential clients for your services.
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