Describe your business – how to be the one that stands out
One of the key benefits of belonging to AIIP – or any professional association – is having a listing in the membership directory: a post from Mary Ellen Bates
Independent info pros often need to bring colleagues in for a large project or subcontract out a job that exceeds their ability or timeframe, and there is no better way to find a good partner than through the AIIP Business Directory.
Many new business owners get tongue-tied when it comes to describing their business and, as a result, they miss a great opportunity to expand their business through subcontracting and referrals.
If you are having trouble thinking of how to describe your business to others, consider the following approaches.
- First, think about what you want to accomplish in your directory listing. This isn’t a laundry list of all the things you do; it’s a concise description of the things you want people to remember the most. What sets you apart from everyone else? What kind of work do you love to do?
- Think like a search engine optimizer. What words would people who you want as clients or referrals use to find you? (Don’t know? Time for some reality-check interviews!) Keep it short enough to keep people’s interest; even just 200 words will do fine. Remember the common reaction to too much verbiage – TL;DR (too long; didn’t read).
- Ask yourself what problems you solve for your clients. Why do your clients use you and not someone else? Why do your clients love you? Talk about outcome, not what you do; what changes for your client after your work is done?
And finally, keep in mind that a directory listing is just the beginning. You need a web site that fills in the details about your background and expertise, your focus on your clients’ outcome, your professionalism and personality. You will want to engage with the membership through volunteering and participating in local events, virtual meetings and, of course, joining us at the annual conference.
In addition to providing customized business analysis to support smart decisions, Mary Ellen shares her expertise as a speaker, consultant, and business coach for both new and long-time info-entrepreneurs. She is the author of two books on entrepreneurship as well as author or co-author of five other books and innumerable articles about the information industry. Before launching Bates Information Services in 1991, she managed specialized libraries for over a decade.
Mary Ellen has served AIIP as President (1996-97 and 2004-5) and has contributed to numerous committees and strategic teams. Most recently she has been active with AIIP’s Webinar Team. She was recognized with AIIP’s President’s Award in 2014 and the first Sue Rugge Award in 2000.