One of the first things that they taught me at Blogging School was how to flog my blog erm, I mean, how to promote readership. There are many ways to get people to your site, but the not-so-secret way to get them to stay, and willingly come back, is to provide them value. There has to be a compelling reason for them to take time out of their incredibly busy day to spend five or ten minutes reading whatever you wrote.
Whether it’s a comedic post, tips on how-to be a better whatever, or a discussion about a mutual love of Pez dispensers, providing content that lets the reader justify why they bothered going to your site is critical.
So how does this apply in the office world? Well, if you’re part of the company blog, it should be directly applicable. If not, here are a few ways to start thinking about how you can provide value to those around you:
Provide Value for Your Client
Regardless of your role in your business, if you have clients you can always provide more value. This doesn’t mean putting in extra hours for them, or finding new ways to bill them. It’s simply looking at opportunities that might be useful to your client. Do you have clients that might mutually benefit from meeting each other? Have you noticed any events that you could notify your client about, give constructive feedback (negative or positive), or seen any business opportunities in the local paper? If you can show your clients that you are thinking of them—even when they aren’t directly paying for it—they’ll probably think of you first when they do need you.
Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality. — Peter F. Drucker, American Management Guru
Provide Value for Your Business
You don’t need to be the owner or manager to look for ways to improve your business. You’re the one doing all the work, so it only makes sense that you would be the right one to know what is effective, and what isn’t. Is there a process or procedure that isn’t working right now, but everyone is doing it because “that’s the way we were trained”? You can help introduce the business to better methods.
Find Ways to Make More Money
Keep your eyes open for new customers. You don’t need to be in the sales department to identify potential customers. Some people are a bit nervous about this, for fear of coming across as a smarmy salesman. Don’t think of it as a sales pitch; think of it as identifying a need for a customer, and filling that need. You can hand the customer over to your sales team to complete the paperwork, but if you take the time to show potential customers that everyone in the company is interested in talking about your product, it’s a win-win-win situation.
Find Ways to Save Money
How many ways are there to save money in your business? Are you printing reports that no one is ever going to look at, but if they did, they’d use the online version? What about simple things, like heating and lighting? If this business was your own home, what are some of the ways that you could think of to help reduce costs without impacting productivity?
Don’t Be Afraid
Fear is a hard obstacle to overcome, but don’t let it stop you from finding new ways to provide value. The days of status quo are gone, and the best way for you to ensure that your company is successful, so you are promoted instead of being laid off, is to create value. The beauty of it is, providing you present it in a positive manner, everyone benefits.
Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged. – Thomas Edison
Don’t Be Offended
OK, some of the ideas above are a bit grandiose, and it would be great if you were in a situation where everyone did exactly what you said needed to be done. Changing processes in a company requires lots of patience and research verifying that the changes will help much more than they hurt. But each time your ideas work out, the next ones will be a little more readily embraced.
I hope I’ve been able to provide a bit of value for you today.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. — Warren Buffett, American Investment Entrepreneur
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