I Have the Power

I gave a brief rundown of my BizCamp Newry 2012 thoughts in my last blog. I mentioned my top talks and promised to share with you my own. It was called ‘I Have the Power: How to Expand Your Business Power-Base’. Very He-Man.

This was the blurb. “In this talk I ‘d like to introduce three sources of business power: expertise, celebrity and persuasion. I ‘ll explain ways by which entrepreneurs use them to expand their power-base to raise their business profile, influence potential clients, and increase profits. I ‘ll suggest business contexts in which each works and give advice as to how BizCampers can put them to use starting tomorrow.”

Here are the highlights.

As entrepreneurs, we can’t use the power of:

  • Violence – force/punishment is one of Alvin Toffler’s three types in Powershift, along with wealth and knowledge
  • Position – domination and submission require hierarchy, and are inflexible/non-transferable


Instead entrepreneurs can use the power of expertise, which requires us to know what we know, and prove the value of that knowledge in society. Expertise is objective and is developed by:

  1. Qualifications both academic and professional, the more formal the better
  2. Publications papers, dissertations, articles, reviews, and blogs
  3. Education explain to others how to do it, ‘out teach your competitors ‘ (Rework)
  4. Demonstrations show that you’ve done it yourself to a high degree of proficiency
  5. Tradition prove that you’ve been taught or mentored by the best, lending you ‘credibility by association’


But power is not just about what you do, it is also about who you are and how you are perceived. So my second source is the subjective power of charisma. In order to achieve this power you must become:

  1. A narcissist – You must love yourself, your business, your product/service, basic, no excuses!
  2. An entertainer – Customers want an experience as much as a thing, so satisfy them emotionally as well as economically.
  3. A product – As the medium is the message, so the entrepreneur is the product. ‘Decommoditize‘ your product (personalise it so it can ‘t be copied), so it is inextricably associated with you (Rework).
  4. A celebrity – Not only have celebrities become businesspeople, there is a growing chance that successful entrepreneurs, financially successful investors, and top level CEOs of major corporations will become celebrities. After all, they can regularly dominate the global business scene, and top the daily business headlines and coverage of financial markets.
  5. A persona – Personas are not just for David Bowie and Jim Morrison; Richard Branson and Bill Gates have carefully crafted public images that merge brand with their personal style.

Push and Pull

I gave a quick description of the two main interpersonal persuasion types: push power (logic and assertiveness) and pull power (empathy and storytelling). The point is NOT to use the one with which you feel most personally comfortable. Rather, you use the one that best fits the occasion and client.

Finally I mentioned a couple of books that might prove interesting: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green and Influence: Theory and Practice by Robert Cialdini. (Please read my Amazon review of Greene’s book and add to the discussion.)

Discussion during and after my talk was lively. I especially want to thank Maureen Black from Smart Forward, as well as Marie McStay and Mark Finlay (two BizCamp Newry speakers whose talks I’m sorry I missed) for their much appreciated audience input.

I’d be delighted to receive input from you too whoever you are. You’ll find me at Castle Greyskull. Or here.

More likely here.