Get visible in business and at work

Dr Rushana Khusainova is a Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bristol Business School. Her research interests include salesperson motivation and wellbeing, gamification and consumer psychology. In this blog she examines the importance of visibility for entrepreneurs.

Today, we are constantly bombarded with information, emails, free content, and countless promotion messages. In this busy and crowded space, how does one stand out? Being visible is a big challenge, especially for start-ups and micro entrepreneurs entering the world of business. Yet, according to many business development consultants, visibility is the key to a successful enterprise, whatever you do.

“The best content in the world won’t drive revenue if nobody sees it”

– Phil Fernandez.

Last month, I attended a visibility and personal brand event for entrepreneurs run by a business strategist Lisa Johnson. The workshop took place in London and attracted over 500 entrepreneurs from all over the country. The topic of this timely conversation was visibility.

Visibility matters because if you are not visible, your prospective customers won’t know you exist. Say, for example, you created a solution to the world’s coral reef decline by inventing a technology that significantly reduces greenhouse emissions. This is fantastic, but the problem is that you are not visible and you don’t actively show up and “sell” your solution to the manufacturing companies and environmental agencies, your solution is pointless. No one will know about it.

Being visible means you have an opportunity to stand out in the competitive marketplace. And as a result, you can make a difference, create a sense of genuine connection with your audience and develop community.

David Chen, co-founder and co-CEO of Kapsule, a London based pharmaceutical tech start up says: “As a founder, I prioritize enhancing our business visibility through strategic approaches. I focus on providing valuable insights and simplifying complex tech jargon to serve the market better. Sharing our successes and challenges in running a startup is crucial in fostering a supportive entrepreneurial community.”

Specifically, “participating in conferences, events, and podcasts allows us to connect with industry peers and learn from their experiences,” says David.

There are many layers to being visible as an entrepreneur. But you should start by defining the basics about who you want to serve.

🔥 Who is your ideal client.

🔥 Where they “hang out”.

🔥 What are their problems and pain points?

You must invest substantial amount of time working on this part. Do some market research, think about the type of clients that you enjoy working with most, observe the discussions in the business groups and networks. Get to know your client and where they spend time, which social media sites they use and what problems they are looking solutions for. You should learn to speak their language and understand their decision making journey.

Now that you know everything there is to know about your ideal client, the next layer, as I see it, is all about you and your brand. You need to decide on:

🔥 What is your story?

🔥 What do you want to be known for?

🔥 What are your key values?

🔥 What is your visibility strategy?

A simply first step is to decide on and write down your core values. Research suggests that on average we have around 8 core values. Knowing your values will help communicate with clarity what your business stands to and what contribution you are looking to make.

For example, if one of your core values is authenticity, then you won’t work with a company with shady reputation. Equally, if you value sustainability, you probably won’t partner up with a business that doesn’t care about recycling.

Finally, it’s putting it all into practice by creating a visibility strategy across the relevant channels and social media platforms. Communication has to be clear and consistent. Mark Gardner, founder and creative director of a Bristol based creative agency Original Mango Group Ltd and founder of a health app SimplyBetter, says that when it comes to brand visibility, “…we advocate the three ‘R’s’ to peculate to the top of people’s minds. Be relevant and your purpose will be clear. Resonate, and you will be understood. Be Remembered with effective, creative ideas.”

“Can one be too visible?, I ask. Absolutely not!” – says Lisa Johnson. When it comes to the business of visibility, it seems the more the merrier.

The lessons learnt from the event can easily be applied to workplace. Many people have said that in order to get promoted and to be considered for leadership roles, one must be visible. You should have a clear “story” of what you are known for. This is also called your personal brand. Jeff Bezos once said that your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. But if you are not visible, people won’t have much to say.

When I run LinkedIn for Academics workshops, one of the main stumbling points that I observe is usually this. Participants don’t want to appear self-promoting or bragging about their successes. But you can be visible in an authentic way. You can add value by sharing insights. Be authentic: share both successes and failures. Acknowledge others and promote collaboration. Finally, share the gratitude.

What is your visibility like?

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