Positioning yourself as your customers’ leader (and speaking with the voice of authority that comes with it) creates one of the biggest opportunities for business growth I can think of.

According to John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” If that quote describes you, this message is for you.

If you have clients and customers that you take good care of, you’re already leader. Now you have to work on positioning yourself as their leader. That doesn’t always come naturally.

Here are a few quick thoughts on business growth through customer leadership.

Ask Not What Your Customers Can Do for You…

Last January, Simon Sinek published a book called Leaders Eat Last. I haven’t read the book yet (shame on me), but I remember how the title instantly caught my attention when I first saw it. Those 3 words flesh out the idea that leadership is all about serving others, not about getting other people to follow your commands. (The term servant leadership is somewhat redundant for that reason.)

This is part of the burden of leadership — putting others before yourself is the right thing to do. This means:

  • offering products and services that your customers want and need, not necessarily what you think is cool right now
  • a strong commitment to quality and
  • gutsy guarantees and service after the sale

These will make you a better leader and they will ultimately make your business more profitable.

Leaders Are Architects

To a certain extent, leaders define reality for their followers.

  • They create a vision of what’s possible, painting a mental picture of all that life can be, all that it should be (at least in a given area).
  • They empower their followers to take action.
  • The give them the education and/or tools to make it happen.

Leaders Lead

Education and inspiration are important, but a leader has to go beyond that stage. He should lead by example. He does everything in his power to get his followers to do what he knows is best for them. He holds them accountable to what they’ve committed to do.

It’s one thing to teach your followers about eating healthy food. Educating them is definitely a good thing. But what do they gain if they keep eating junk? It’s a leader’s job to do everything he can to help them make the difficult decision to change.

Leaders can’t cower back. They have to keep pressing forward. Even when it’s dark. Even when they’re unsure of their own qualifications. Their followers depend on them!

Action Steps

1) Decide to adopt a leadership mindset in your industry, your office, your city. Make a commitment to pursue excellence and use whatever influence you have to help your pack move toward a better result in some area.

2) Remember — it’s not about you! Putting the best interest of your followers ahead of your own interests is the right thing to do.

Leaders may chose to eat last, but good leaders will still have plenty on their plates.

3) I’d like to point you to one of the documents that helped crystallize a lot of my thoughts on this topic. It’s an old newsletter article from Jay Abraham on what he calls the strategy of preeminence. If you’re familiar with Jay, you’re familiar with this concept. In this PDF, he covers some specific thoughts that I promise you’ll find enlightening. He’s giving it away for free at his website, no opt-in required. You can download it here.

It’s 4 pages long. Well worth taking the time to read, think about deeply and apply to your business (and life).