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Are You a Swiss Army Knife, or a Screwdriver?

You’ve got great ideas and real solutions. But how do you get them to the people who need them most? If you want your ideas to take life, then you need a platform; a container and identifier for those ideas. A platform gives visibility to your innovations – and gets the attention of people who need specific problems solved.

I’ve been on a lot of calls with thought leaders recently. They’re traveling from event to event and serving clients. That’s great, but in addition to being physically “on the go,” they’re often mentally “on the go,” too – and that means their mental agility turns from a strength to a liability.

They jump from idea to idea, shiny to shiny, without a strong focus. As a result, their core expertise becomes harder to understand. Instead of sticking to their platform, they’re all over the place. Then, when they try to share their ideas – nobody knows exactly what they’re talking about! You need a platform to structure and brand those ideas, and help your audience understand the solutions you offer.

So, what’s a platform?

It’s a memorable way to assert your ideas, so people will connect and recommend your solutions when someone needs expert help. A platform establishes your purpose, captures an audience’s attention, and identifies the specific problems your ideas solve.

If you say that your ideas solve every business problem imaginable, you’re a swiss army knife: a whole lot of tools poking out in every direction. The problem is, your clients just need a screwdriver. Are they going to remember that the swiss army knife has one in there – somewhere – and dig it out? Or are they just going to go get the one tool they need?

Creating thought leadership on a hundred different topics makes it confusing.  Nobody knows what problems you solve! Are you the expert on accountability? The expert on giving feedback? Motivation? Who knows? Platforms identify a specific niche of business expertise. Through focusing on a platform, the thought leader becomes known as an expert, and is sought out by those who require specialized, high-level business assistance. That makes you memorable – and gets you in the door.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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