Tips for growing your mining business

There comes a time in the life of every business when you, as the owner, faces a crossroads. This is when it either has to transition from a startup to business or continue plodding along slowly. If you want to maximise the growth potential of your business, or even if you feel like it has reached a plateau and needs an influx of energy. Whatever your own personal situation, here are some tips for growing your business.

Time your growth

The reality is that growth is positive. But the problem is that many businesses do grow faster than they can handle. Processes can become quickly tangled and communication often falters when a business grows too fast. As a business owner, these are not things that should concern you. But these will concern you when they go wrong. So while you want to be able to hit the ground running and enjoy your growth quickly, you need to take some time to analyse if your business is adjusting well to the growth.

Have extra money available

Called an emergency fund, having some extra money stashed for a rainy day will allow you to be prepared should the worst happen. Having a cash reserve can also be useful if an opportunity for growth comes your way. If you didn’t have the cash available, you’d have to say no to the opportunity. And you wouldn’t want to do that just because you don’t have some money available to take advantage of the situation.

Weigh up growth and profits

There’ll come a time when you have to make a decision between the two. It’s obvious that you want both for your business but often you need to make a choice between the two. At some point you may have to choose profit instead of growth, like when your business is growing faster than you can handle. At other points you may want to choose growth first and enjoy the profits at a later stage.

Understand that there’s more than one way to go

There are many ways your business can grow. Growth could mean employing more people and moving into a bigger commercial space. It could mean offering a new range of products or services. Another option is to open a new store or even pivot into an entirely new direction. But remember that not every type of growth is suitable for your business or industry. You’ll need to think carefully about what growth really means for you and your business.

Invest wisely in your business

Never make the mistake of thinking that growth is as simple as throwing money at your business. Yes, sometimes that is a way to grow your business. But you need to make sure you have a plan before you rush out and apply for finance or hire new people. You’ll need to do some market research, craft your business plan and hone your strategy.

For instance, consider whether you’d like to grow your mining business. There are so many options available to secure mining equipment financing which makes it far easier than it may seem. There are many companies which provide business owners with financing and leasing options to acquire equipment without sacrificing working capital reserves.

The first step in acquiring financing for mining equipment is deciding if you plan to purchase or rent equipment. There are benefits to both options, you’ll just need to weigh up your company’s needs. The benefits of buying equipment is that your business will have a tangible asset. In addition there’s likely only a minimal down payment, extended payment terms and delayed payment options. The downside to owning equipment is, of course, that you’ll be responsible for maintaining the equipment.

According to Mining Global, miners should be cautious before splurging on new equipment.

“To save on costs, the best tip to financing equipment is purchase new. New equipment offers lower maintenance costs and usually warranties that protect against largest unexpected repairs. This gives miners the benefit of less downtime for repairs and reduced maintenance costs. It also makes it easier to attract top quality employees that are looking to work with the best equipment on the market.”

Remember, there’s no rush to grow. The tortoise really did have it right. Slow and steady is generally the best way to go.

Tips for novice car collectors

Perhaps you’re looking to capture your misspent youth, just can’t get enough of cars or are thinking of long-term investment. Whatever your motive, collecting cars can be a fun and worthwhile pastime. And even, according to the Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), a good investment. It’s no wonder than new enthusiasts are starting to look at beginning their collection. We take a look at some intuitive tips for these first-time collectors.

  1. Decide where you’re going to keep your collection

The last thing you want is to have to take a long drive out to the middle of nowhere just to take your car collection out for a spin. While most home garages are only big enough for a few cars at most, there are plenty of facilities available to store your prized vehicles. But be sure that the facility is close, large enough for your envisioned collection, and secure – the last thing you want is to go through the effort of buying and restore a vehicle, only to have it stolen out of storage.

  1. Get creative to make space in your garage/storage facility

Consider the space available to you. What can be done to make use of it as effectively as possible? Many car collectors use hydraulic lifts and shelving systems to store multiple vehicles on top of one another. Or maybe, you could extend the height of the roof to fit an extra one or two cars into the space. Your options are plenty.

  1. Choose a theme to your collection

Much like savvy antique and furniture buyers, smart car collectors focus on specific styles, periods or individual brands to shape their collections. Perhaps you’re a fan of a particular brand of vehicle, style or even specific model. Then that’s what you’re going to want to build a collection around. Of course, having a theme doesn’t mean that your collection is cast in stone. You’re obviously able to be flexible and many collectors tend to make one or two exceptions with their choice of buys. We’ve all got a weakness.

  1. Pay attention to what other collectors are doing

Half of the fun of this hobby is meeting people with similar interests. There’s bound to be one or two other car collecting enthusiasts in the country who collect in the same vein as you. Not only is it a good social strategy, but clubs, associations and shows are all ways in which you can glean technical advice or find leads to discover rarer or discontinued parts.

  1. Be sensitive to your skill set

This is an often overlooked consideration and will have an effect on the theme of your collection. Did you spend your youth with your head under the bonnet of your dad’s old jalopy? Do you know what a carburetor is or how to rebuild it? Or are you simply after the ‘throaty’ noise of an old restored engine? Your understanding and working knowledge of cars is going to affect what you buy and how aggressively you go after potential buys.

  1. Keep an eye out for memorabilia

Many collectors will build their collections around specific visionaries and will spend a lot of time exploring obscure brands or vehicle engineers. During this process is easy to accumulate a library of catalogues, books, online content and even bits and bobs of physical memorabilia from the brands. These, alongside things collected at car shows or rallies, can be showcased in your storage garage to complement your car collection.All these things will add to the overall feel of the collection and make it more valuable.

  1. Do your research

There is an absolute plethora of information available to you as a collector – even on the most obscure car models. There are websites, libraries, auto shows, online forums and clubs that collectors can join, that can all be sourced for information. Before you pull out your wallet and buy that long-lost car spend some time reading, looking, and talking to other collectors. This will all go a long way in helping you make the right decisions for your collection and your investment.

  1. Build up a network of like-minded collectors

Sure, you can’t go to every auction or see every car in person. But it helps if you have a few friends whose opinions and taste carry weight. Granted building a network takes time and effort, but it’s ultimately going to save you if you’re going to be collecting for any length of time. It’ll also open up new buying opportunities and research channels.

  1. Decide on how much work you want to be doing

This goes back to your involvement in and knowledge of cars. Depending on your interests, maintenance, repair and restoration can either be a necessary chore or a source of pleasure and relaxation. Understanding where you fall in the spectrum can help inform you of what cars to look out for. For example, if you’re not a huge fan of doing nitty-gritty maintenance work, then a well-restored car is more-likely going to be what you’re after.

While what you decide to collect is personal preference, there’s a certain joy in honing your collection skills. Perhaps you’re looking at buying a used BMW for sale, or would prefer to take a more classic approach. Whichever direction you go, heeding these few tips will go a long way in building a large and valuable collection.

How South Africans can make smart purchases in 2017

The end of the year is fast approaching. Everyday, you’ve had to make some financial transaction and you might be wondering just how wise each one was. They can’t all be winners and not all of us are rich. But you need to use 2017 as a way to rethink your purchasing decisions, especially as the market becomes more turbulent. With the radical changes that have occurred this year, such as Brexit and the nomination of Donald Trump, people are holding on to their wallets and bank accounts. Cyberhacks have targeted major corporations and single tweets have resulted in dramatic stock drops. How then should the average person think about their finances in the new year?

Start budgeting

The most important step in any decision involving finances starts with a budget. As My Money Coach notes: “Budgeting is simply balancing your expenses with your income. If they don’t balance and you spend more than you make, you will have a problem. Many people don’t realize that they spend more than they earn and slowly sink deeper into debt every year.”

Budgeting lets you see where your money is coming from and where it has to go. This allows you to know how much you can spend without sinking more into negative figures, avoiding debts and defaulting. In their summary of why budgeting is important, The Balance points out that you can save money in the long run, make the best financial decisions in terms of where your money is going and reduces anxiety – by having a firm handle on your money, you don’t have to worry about suddenly being without cash. You’ll know, for example, how much you can spend each day. This lets you save for more important items you might need, without wasting it on unnecessary daily luxury items.

As The Balance points out: “budgeting can actually save you money, and allow you to have more to spend by helping you to make the most of your money. Your budgeting style can determine how successful you are at budgeting.”

Focus on saving

Once you have a budget, you know precisely where and how you can save. Saving money means you can put it into a savings account. Considering how volatile the market is, a savings account is one of the most secure places your money can go. Putting money into a savings accounts allows compound interest to work on it – all you have to do is not touch it for an extended period of time. This can net you wealth by virtue of compound interest’s “magic”.

This is where you earn interest on your initial amount, then, in the next financial turnover, you obtain interest on that interest. This keeps increasing how much you have in the savings account. Unlike investments, you are not taking a chance on sudden shifts and changes to particular stocks.

Smart purchases

While obviously everyone needs to make purchases throughout the year, that doesn’t mean you need to make bad decisions. For example, if you’re looking for houses in Cape Town, you don’t need to look at the most expensive, high tech properties. Similarly, if you’re looking for cars in Jo’burg, don’t look at brand new vehicles – rather look for used cars in Gauteng. Used cars are cheaper, come with the same features as most newer cars and are often looked after by their owners.

Similarly, rather wait for sales and discounts if you have to make purchases of expensive items. Inevitably, everything from televisions to smartphones manage to drop in price.

You should also consider purchasing stocks, if you’ve not already done so. As US News points out: “Going into 2017, technology is seeping into almost every aspect of everyday life. From retail to travel and transportation, hardly anything is purely analog nowadays. From an investor’s perspective, that’s quite an opportunity. As you enter a new year and perhaps look to rebalance your portfolio, the technology sector still boast plenty of opportunity.”

While stocks are of course less secure than savings, you should still consider using this, as this is perhaps the best way to create wealth. 2017 can be a fresh start and a way to begin being better with your finances than ever before.

Personal finance tips for 2017

The world of business is moving faster than ever with incredible events occurring on scales no one could predict. Business owners have more than enough to deal with, being able to manage the success of their companies, the lives of their employees and the future of what will remain. Tech companies, in particular, cannot go stagnant, when titans of the industries are marching forward. Apple is producing new phones, focusing in Apple Watches; Tesla is bringing out new models and designs all the time for their electric cars. If the bigger companies are doing this, you as a business owner need to rethink your strategies, too. But sometimes it’s not enough to focus only on business. You need to think personal, first. As you enter 2017, let’s consider some ways you can make the best personal finance decisions.

Savings

The most important thing you can do with your money is retain it. The easiest way to begin doing that is with savings account. Of course, this might be difficult if you’re running your own business. Expenses seem never ending and profits might only allow you to live from hand-to-mouth, month to month. How then can you save?

Taking this into account, Money Crashers note:

“[You] need to create [a budget that includes room for saving], even if you can only save a tiny amount from each paycheck. Use financial software or just a pencil and paper to list all your income, all your fixed expenses (such as your rent or mortgage and car payment), and your fluctuating expenses (such as groceries and discretionary spending). You may need to track your spending for a few weeks to find places to cut spending so you can build your savings.”

Savings accounts work because you leave them alone. Compound interest is key here, which is known as “interest on interest”. This is where an interest on your initial savings amounts itself gets interest the following financial period. In this way, you can build up more money than what you already had by simply leaving it alone. Investopedia notes the positives of compound interest working on your money.

“The magic of compounding can work to your advantage when it comes to your investments, and can be a potent factor in wealth creation.  Exponential growth from compounding interest is also important in mitigating wealth-eroding factors, like rises in the cost of living, inflation and reduction of purchasing power.”

But in order to have money that you can save, you need a budget.  

Budgeting

Any decisions about your personal finance begin with information, obtained primarily through working out a budget. As My Money Coach notes:

“Creating this spending plan allows you to determine in advance whether you will have enough money to do the things you need to do or would like to do. What is budgeting? It is an important planning and forecasting process to help you manage your money by balancing your expenses with your income. If you don’t have enough money to do everything you would like to do, then you can use this planning process to prioritize your spending and focus your money on the things that are most important to you.”

Planning is everything. This means you are able to put money where you’d like it to go, ideally into places that can help build wealth. Budgeting is about acquiring information. But once you have that information, you still need to do the best you can.

Create proper goals

There’s no use saying you’re going to save a million rand by the end of year, when that is simply not possible. You know having savings is important, you’ve worked out you’ll make a specific amount thanks to your budget, but you can’t have unrealistic goals. Lowering your expectations, but trying to do the best you can, should be your motto. This means not hoping to make a million rand from, say, investing in stock – instead, focus on security and growth. As noted, a savings account is highly beneficial and easy to start. Simply leave your money alone.

To get active with any money you have, you can focus on investment but rather focus on secure stocks. For example, unit trusts or government retail bonds are safer than focusing on public companies, which have no guarantees of growth. Yes, corporations might mean enormous amounts but those are rare occasions and you’re not likely to be an early investor in the next Facebook. Play it safe in these turbulent times, especially as a business person. It’s not just your future that is under threat, after all, but your employees too.

One easy way to help you, once you have proper goals in place, is to focus on automation tools. As Forbes notes in their list of personal finance secrets from experts: “No matter what, automating will definitely help you stay on track with your savings goals. It truly is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save on a continual basis. However, you do need a way to keep track of what’s automated so you’re still in control.”

By taking these steps, you can make good decisions with your money. What matters is doing the best you can in these turbulent times. Though it will be hard, it is still necessary.

How to make the most effective finance decisions

As businesses enter the new year, it’s time to rethink strategies that have helped before and whether they will in future. It’s not unusual to rethink business strategies, of course, but considering how fast the world works these days, it needs to happen more often – and yet more effectively – than ever before. You can no longer afford to slow down or rest on any past victories, since even the biggest, most successful companies have proved vulnerable to everything from bad publicity to hacks (which itself brings negative publicity and a drop in stock value). Reflecting on 2016 will help you think about what the most effective finance decisions are.

Fact finding

The most obvious starting point for any business decision is acquiring relevant information. As DeCode, a leading information tech firm, notes:

“[Information] allows a business to make informed decisions by presenting data in a way that can be interpreted by management. In this context, customer information would be useful in providing metrics surrounding client/customer engagement to determine better ways to engage or work with your clients.”

Information is merely the facts of the matter – data points that are put into contexts that help establish a narrative of what your business looks like. This isn’t meant to be a stage of judgement, since information gathering is simply about opening your eyes to the current situation your business is in. It’s only after putting this information into relevant contexts that it begins to actually tell a story about where you’re doing well or badly.

In an extensive survey, McKinsey asked a number of questions to businesses about how they make decisions. In terms of making a good, financially sound decision, the researchers concluded:

“Decisions made at companies without any strategic planning process are twice as likely to have generated extremely poor results as extremely good ones—more than a fifth of them generated revenue 75 percent or more below expectations. This may indicate an overall lack of rigor at these companies.”

Planning is everything. Once you’ve acquired the necessary data you can then make the best decisions, since you’ll be operating with facts not fantasy.

Options

One of the most important second steps to take after acquiring data is to look at your options. This is particularly important when it comes to finance. For example, if you’ve concluded what matters is acquiring the latest, best equipment, it might be time to upgrade. You could find that your machinery is not keeping up with demand or your competition. What are your options?

This is where you need to look wide and not ignore any avenues. It could mean you reconsider your direction as a business. It could mean looking at machinery asset finance, which allows you to acquire machines or equipment sooner. This can be factored into your sheets and finances, letting you pay back what you owe, while finding ways to benefit the business. The point being that in business, especially in 2017, there’s no avenue you can afford to overlook or dismiss. But, all your decisions must rest on data, not desperation or fantasy.

The digital world

Everything changed with the internet and it will continue to affect every aspect of business. Just look at what happened when President-Elect of the United States sent a single Tweet.

“The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” Trump said.

As the Independent reports:

“Following the tweet on Monday morning, shares of the aerospace company plunged by more than 4 per cent in early trade. Based on the number of shares outstanding, the tweet has shaved just over $3.5bn from Lockheed’s market value.”

Naturally, the point isn’t that it’s a Tweet as it is the fact the message comes from Trump. However, the point remains that such a simple message being broadcast would never have had such an effect if the internet didn’t exist to make it so public so quickly.

Businesses today can lose credibility thanks to anyone – seniors or juniors – in companies making awful mistakes or acting irresponsibly on social media. But, instead of looking at the internet as a way to harm your business, look at it as a way to enhance it. 2017’s finances are going to depend heavily on how everyone reacts to the changing digital landscape. People could find themselves considering investing in future businesses which show promise, based solely on their website. You should take advantage of new marketing opportunities and ways to impress future investors, by making use of smart, young talent that knows how the internet works.

These are just some ways you can make smarter decisions that will have enormous benefit for your finances.

How to turn a small amount into a large investment

At some point, we all want to live a comfortable, retired life. In our younger days, we set out working hard to establish regular income and hopefully savings. We hope that in the end we can use what we’ve accumulated through our life to live comfortably, without worrying about obtaining an income. Indeed, many retirement options are designed to act as an income. But in order to reach that position, we have to know precisely how to save and invest. Most of us do not have a rich inheritance or will carve out a billionaire life for ourselves, due to the current economic climate. Instead, we must think about smaller investments with the goal being that they turn out big at the end of the investment period. In the same way a large house is built of smaller bricks, laid down over a long time, so we can create wealth.

Start early

The most important step in saving is starting early. Time is not money’s friend, unless we begin preparing and managing our finances early on. Starting early is beneficial since it means putting less aside than if we started later. For example, if we hoped to retire at 65 with a certain amount, starting at 28 versus starting at 38 will mean very different amounts being set aside each month.

Longer time also means more compound interest can accrue. As Investopedia defines it:

“Compound interest can be thought of as ‘interest on interest’ and will make a deposit or loan grow at a faster rate than simple interest. The rate at which compound interest accrues depends on the frequency of compounding; the higher the number of compounding periods, the greater the compound interest.”

Starting early then works to our advantage. However, there are also other considerations, especially when it comes to the volatile market we find ourselves in. Richard Barringont, CFA and primary spokesperson for MoneyRates.com noted:

“As Retirement saving may be more challenging today than it’s ever been. People are living longer than ever and thus must support themselves for an increasing number of years, yet a changing economy can quickly make the skills of older workers outmoded. Meanwhile, interest on savings accounts and other traditional income vehicles has all but disappeared. The absence of income production puts all the more pressure on savings to carry the load in retirement.”

The point being we must reflect on how much has changed. Our retirement might have to come sooner, but it might last longer. The vehicles that used to be in place are slowly being phased out, meaning retirement is almost entirely dependent on proper savings.

Other types of Investments

Of course, another way to help turn small amounts into wealth is focusing on other kinds of investments. There are a range of investments to consider, each one operating under different conditions serving different ends. A savings account is just one type, though many don’t like referring to savings as an investment. As The Balance points out:

“investing money is the process of using your money, or capital, to buy an asset that you think has a good probability of generating a safe and acceptable rate of return over time, making you wealthier even if it means suffering volatility, perhaps even for years.  True investments are backed by some sort of margin of safety, often in the form of assets or owner earnings.”

Even within different investments options, we should consider other parameters like tax free investments. First, it’s important to consider what an investment is. The key difference between an investment and savings is the possibility of significantly higher rate of return. As Hands on Banking notes:

“Your investments may appreciate (go up in value) over time. This increases your net worth, which is the value of your assets (what you own) minus your liabilities (what you owe). If you sell for higher price than you invested initially, you make a profit.”

It’s worth broadening our choices, whether looking at tax free investments in India or real estate in our home town. Each serves different ends. It’s important that we decide what we want to do with our money and where it will be going. Obviously, retirement is the common option for many. As CNN Money notes, investments tend to be ideal for long term investing. “Stocks’ return potential gives them the best chance to beat inflation over long periods. That’s why they’re an essential part of a good retirement portfolio.”

Tax can catch us, of course, which is why it’s important to look at tax free investment options and figure out how to reduce liabilities.

When is it necessary to upgrade your business security?

Securing your business is one of the most important steps anyone can take. You work hard to obtain necessary data, stock, product and so on and you don’t want to lose it through criminal activity. While this shouldn’t be about blaming yourself for any theft that could occur, that shouldn’t negate wanting to reduce the chances of security breaches occurring. You lock your doors, close windows, install anti-viruses and so on everyday. Protecting your business must be viewed in a similar fashion, except the stakes are higher since you have clients’ interests to contend with, too. Of course, having security is one thing. The question is when do you upgrade?

Why you need security

To even think about why you need to upgrade security, you should consider the purpose of security in the first place. Locked doors and windows are not sufficient when thinking about the breadth and depth of security. In the modern workplace, you must also think digitally.

Indeed, data breaches have been in the headlines when big companies couldn’t prevent them. This has resulted in enormous amounts of private, sensitive information being leaked: everything from personal details to compromising photos of celebrities.

As CIO.com pointed out already in 2014:

“Despite years of headline stories about security leaks and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and repeated admonishments from security professionals that businesses (and individuals) needed to do a better job protecting sensitive data, many businesses are still unprepared or not properly protected from a variety of security threats.”

They refer to a 2014 report, “which surveyed 476 IT professionals about security weaknesses, a majority of businesses had no or only a partial system in place for controlling and tracking sensitive data.”

So how much has changed? Unfortunately not much. This year saw major breaches from Yahoo, for example. There was even a widespread DDoS attack in October that took out large parts of American companies’ internet. As the Guardian notes: “if those reports are true, that would make the 21 October attack roughly twice as powerful as any similar attack on record.”

Of course the internet isn’t the only way to become a victim of security breaches. Taking all this into account, you can see that the answer to “When is it necessary to upgrade business security?” is right now.

Upgrades to consider

Mobile devices are increasingly everywhere, with everyone using phones and laptops, especially in the business world. The problem with mobile devices is that this means higher possibilities of security breaches. Therefore, you should consider your policies in terms of what devices are allowed in to your building and who has access to your networks.

Another more tangible intervention should require more security technology. For example, a video wall controller helps keep tabs on a wider area, in a central location. This makes for a very convenient responsive form of security. Naturally, this also means you should install cameras and other relevant devices. Cameras can also record any suspicious activity occurring in your office. As Digital Guardian notes:

“The risk of insider threats compared to outsider threats is an ongoing debate, though more companies are taking notice of the risks that insiders can pose to the company’s data security today than in the past. Historically, the data breaches that make the news are typically carried out by outsiders. While these breaches can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (often millions more), outsider threats are generally the threats that have been addressed with traditional security measures. It’s the threats that originate from inside that are much more difficult to prevent and detect using one-size-fits-all security measures.”

To prevent insider threats is hard work, but possible. You must ensure you have restricted access to various parts of your servers and files. While this might slow down some aspect of production, it will help increase security overall. Productivity might suffer in the short term, because you are implementing checks and balances, but it will suffer even more in the long term if you find yourself victim to security breaches.

Security is also important to customers, since they would not want to bring their business to companies that are lazy about security. Demonstrating security as central to work policy is encouraging and more likely to obtain and retain clients.

In the end, you cannot underestimate the importance of security. You do need to install updates and upgrade, where possible, given how things escalate – especially in the digital world everyone lives in. No longer can you simply lock important files up in a safe or vault. Now, it’s all online which makes it a target of smart hackers and others. Take precautions today and begin making your business as safe as it can be.

How to start and run a thought leader blog

booksIn a constantly shifting world, ideas need to be engaged with thoughtfully and critically. The internet has given rise to numerous businesses and careers, changing billions of lives. Businesses have had to find numerous unique ways of staying ahead. This is difficult when competitors are themselves able to utilise the same tools. Yet, one unique resource every business has is its staff’s expertise and their unique perspectives on the world. By using this, businesses can encourage their staff to become thought leaders in particular industries. Properly done, this can establish a business as not only a leader in product delivery but ideas, too. This will sit well with customers, who tend to prefer companies that think ahead, creatively and out the box. Of course, for businesses, it is a matter of showing – not merely telling – and ideally such creativity will manifest itself in services and products. But by being a leader in terms of ideas, a business person can establish a culture that puts them at the forefront of their industry. The question then is how does one become such an individual. The ideal way to begin is blogging.

Why blogging

Blogging is an essential way to establish yourself as a thought leader. If best-selling authors can manage being CEOs, writing books and maintaining blogs, then so can you.

For example, Seth Godin is a best-selling author of 18 books. As his site indicates, these books “have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.”

Additionally, “Seth founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by simply typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world.” If you are interested in being known, imagine being the first result from a Google search for your first name. That is what the power of being a well-known thought leader can do.

Forbes’ Jayson DeMers, an expert on internet marketing and ranking, points out what a blog can do for you.

“A blog is one of the best ways to establish yourself or your brand as an expert in your field, as it gives you a platform for sharing important industry-related information and insights. As you build up authority in your niche, this breeds trust and familiarity, keeping you top-of-mind when your prospects are ready to buy, and increasing conversion rates.”

By creating constantly new content for the business’ site, there is a higher chance of it ranking higher in search result pages.

Naming

A name is everything. That is why when you buy a domain, so many experts insist on thinking carefully about keywords, modern conventions, geography and so on. As digital marketing expert Rand Fishkin notes:

“You should really think long and hard about the domain name that you choose and, in fact, the brand name that you choose and how that’s represented through your domain name online. Domain names have a massive impact all over the web in terms of click-through rate, from search to social media results, to referring links, to type-in traffic, brandability, offline advertising. There’s a huge wealth of places that your domain name impacts your brand and your online marketing, and we can’t ignore this.”

In fact, when considering domain buying, it might be wise to think about where you want to host your blog. When choosing a domain name, it’s helpful to consider whether it fits your blog. Seth Godin, for example, doesn’t maintain his blog on his official website, but merely links to it. Though he of course did buy a domain focused on his name, he was focused on his own brand. What you need to consider is just how separate or interlinked you want to make your personal brand and your business’. Naturally, these don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but sometimes people are more famous than the companies they work for.

However, if the main reason for thought leadership is to establish the business, then rather consider sticking to your business’ official website. You can always use blogging software to enhance the experience.

Creating content

Of course, this only takes you so far. What matters is what you’re discussing and creating. Running a blog is meaningless if you aren’t focused on delivering thoughtful opinions. One way to stay ahead and up-to-date is to use social media. Using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on, not only helps you have a constant live update of new, relevant information, but also helps grow your brand.  You can respond with your own opinion and thoughts, summarised in quick Tweets or Facebook posts, which themselves can turned into blog posts.

It’s also probably helpful to improve writing and thinking skills, honing the ability to make coherent arguments. It’s easy to simply assert your opinion – but what most people find compelling is navigating your reasons for your assertions, so that they might have their own mind and beliefs challenged. You don’t become memorable for an opinion but rather how you got to that opinion. This is what people look for in any form of content and will help make you stand out from the many others all claiming similar views.

In the end what matters is being able to have control of your content, knowing where you put it, staying ahead within your industry and creating opinions people want to share. Doing this consistently will improve not only your standing with customers and audiences, but make you think clearer in general.