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Some small businesses have cut through the crowd by becoming strong influencers in their communities. More than talking the talk, these businesses have learned to walk the walk to gain their following.

Consider the subsequent points if you are looking to gain more influence in your community:

1. Assess your reputation. How do your stakeholders, or people that are affected directly or indirectly in your brand, view your company? Stakeholders can be customers, employees, co-owners, community members, etc. If all is well, feel free to proceed onto the next step. A bit tarnished? Strategize and implement a reputation management plan to repair the destruction. Depending on the damage, it may take less time that you think.

2. Gain trust within your community. People take the advice and rely on those whom they trust. Say what you mean. Do what you say. Be there for others when they need you. Treat others as you would like to be treated. The simple rules of ethics that you learned in kindergarten are the best way to develop a faithful following. Above all, do it consistently. It takes work.

Riding on the coattails of fame may give your business a temporary burst authority, but without consistency the effects will be short lived. Once the tide recedes, your company will be left with the remnants of a once profitable time that seems long ago.

Start now. Building the foundation of reliability today for an influential tomorrow. Your customers will remember and thank you profitably.