Want To Be A Small Business Celebrity?

A small business celebrity is not the one who craves media coverage and recognition.  That's a small business wannabe, and the social Web is a medium that makes their endeavor easily attainable. Traditional mediums such as television and magazines have conditioned us to believe that visibility makes you a celebrity.  It may for a while, but as most media celebrities know, its a slippery slope.


True business celebrities are recognized leaders.  They have earned a place in their profession for being relevant sources of useful information.  This is why they are sought out for their honest opinions on best practices and business trends.  What do you think about that definition?

Now, I'm imagining that what you were thinking since reading the headline above has changed, and that you have moved closer to a yes response, than a no.  I'm also hopeful that this not only warms you up to the idea of using social media more, but additionally gives you some thoughts on how to use it better. 

Content Always Matters

In small business circles, one of the most talked about topics involving social media lately is why more small businesses are not taking advantage of it.  One of the reasons for this is that this space is highly populated with people who, regardless of their age, are buying into the illusion that being cool, popular, and tech savvy are key ingredients for success.

The truth is content always matters.  Over the last few days I have been bouncing between The Tonight Show and David Letterman, mostly just to find something worth watching.  What I have realized is that interesting content on this social Web wins hands-down over movie stars that don't have much to say, or are incapable of effectively communicating without a script.  

If you are business leader, your script is your years of experience, and the practices that you followed to become successful. One of those best practices undoubtedly involved hard work. If you also happen to be cool and popular, better yet!

Sustainable Success Makes You Relevant

In any profession, including film, athletics, and business, we most admire those who have consistently succeeded.  This gives others something to shoot for – a model to emulate. Most of the time the formula involves simple practices that include staying in the game when others are giving up, and focusing on what you know (and do) best.

Not too long ago I was watching Bill Murray on Letterman. He did a routine on the street, diving into a large tub of water, and then walked inside soaking wet and had a conversation with David Letterman. Murray is still relevant because that is what he has always done – the unexpected.  He is famous for his ability to ad-lib any situation and change it up – to produce an unexpected surprise.

What's yours?  

What personal quality will make you relevant over the duration of your career?

Honesty is Most Enduring Quality 

Last night Michael Douglas was on Letterman for the same reason as every other movie star – to promote his upcoming film, Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps.  There was the usual banter about the family, what a pleasure it was making the film and working with such talented young actors, how director Oliver Stone gets the best out of the cast, etc. 

Yet, it was when Douglas opened up about his bout with throat cancer that literally stole the show. How he handled himself in those moments with honesty and conviction for a positive outcome had me, Letterman, and band leader Paul Schaffer just going …wow!

I realize now that if you are someone that has spent your entire life associated with the film business, you know that medium reveals everything about you.  The social networks are no different. You have to be honest to be relevant, because as Murray suggests in the recent GQ article (link above), we all know what's going to happen next – even before it happens.

So, Murray changes the expected to create humor.

As small businesses, we should be creating authentic honesty, a quality that is not always expected. 

It's a good script for all of us to follow, whether you are engaging an audience, or just making the most of your efforts with social media.

Has this been helpful?   Then please click away on the Facebook Like button below, or otherwise share it with your community.

Until tomorrow,   Jeff

 Photo Credit: Vamant

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  1. We are creatures of diverse interests, and I know that I sipped into one problem in my social connections, that is to fall into a trap of not staying on point. It is easy to loose focus when you feel that you are being engaging, and you are not showing your connections that you are the thought leader in a particular field.

    It is alright for a small business to go off topic once in a while, but we need to know and then stay on our message.

  2. I like what you said about consistency. Whenever I start to doubt my relevance, I have to fall back on my fundamentals of what made me a successful businessperson to begin with, and share those principles and that experience with my sphere of influence.

    As for social media, I think the more we try to be something or someone we are not, the more irrelevant we become. I see too many businesses scrambling for a ‘web strategy’ that is not based in their own fundamentals or their own identity, and their followers dwindle and their relevance gradually or rapidly disappears.

  3. Frank – Agree. Better to trend this way or that than to shift abruptly – unless of course you are doing it for a reason.

    Good insight. I’ll keep that in mind.


  4. Sean – I have definitely been there in my career. I spent a lot of time in my landscape business trying to get more commercial work. When we went back to being purely residential is when we found our way again.

    The problem was I was listening to everyone else instead of trusting my gut.


  5. Well said Jeff. The “gut” is the best business partner I have. 🙂