By Tracie Rollins with Infusionsoft

Your small business isn’t immune to the shifting tides of technology and the need for continuous improvement. To stay competitive in your industry, you must continue to learn and apply newfound knowledge to your business and to your life.

Learning can seem like an overwhelming task on your to-do list, especially if you have to weed through a queue of self-proclaimed experts who have great ideas, but don’t necessarily have the experience to back up their proclamation. I’ve spent decades relying on subject matter experts to help me develop courses because they have accurate in-depth knowledge in one or two specific areas. A short meeting often provides great insight into the topic and at least two or three additional references for further research.

Finding the Right Subject Matter Experts

Sifting through a list of experts takes time, but not as much as you think. In the old days, finding the right source meant that you’d have to ask around the office, visit a university or open the Yellow Pages and let your fingers do the walking. Once you found experts with the right credentials, you’d have to schedule a face-to-face meeting to talk to them so that they could step you through the process and show you the ropes.

This process was extremely laborious, and while nothing beats a good recommendation, the internet has certainly changed the landscape for experts across the globe. Finding the right one is easier than ever when you follow these three tips:

  1. Be Specific—If you’re looking to improve marketing in your small business start by narrowing down your topic to something less broad. Instead of trying to earn a degree in marketing, narrow down your focus to topics like developing better copy, demand generation techniques or efficient ways of email marketing. Narrowing down your topic before you search helps you find the best person or company to answer your questions.
  2. Search—Search both inside and outside of your network. Recommendations are great, but having the same knowledge as your peer group keeps you average.  Use the internet to find companies and influencers. Then, review their website for articles, products, services, authorship, patents and blogs to see where they’re going, instead of where they’ve been. You want to learn from experts who are progressing in their field of expertise.
  3. Verify—Once you’ve found a few good candidates, take some time to review their credentials on sites like LinkedIn to determine if they have the experience to back up their claims. Use sites like Amazon to read reviews on their published works and search for customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau and Yelp.

Once you’ve identified a few good subject matter experts, subscribe to their mailing list and start engaging and learning from them. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and often times can start with free or low price point offers before upgrading to premium training and coaching. Often times, a little more knowledge helps you understand the basics and provide the right amount of information to take the next step in improving the success of your business.
If you’re looking to improve your email marketing skillset, join Infusionsoft and Amy Birk for the Ninja Marketing Challenge. This free learning series will help you build your email list, send the right message at the right time and craft amazing content that converts.

You can also meet with an expert at Greater Phoenix SCORE for free! Click here to search for the right mentor (expert)!

About the Author:

Tracie Rollins has focused her professional efforts on bridging the gap between knowledge and performance. She applies over 18 years of experience to marketing strategy, research, and development of content that educates, influences and improves the lives of others. She believes that education provides knowledge, knowledge drives actions, and actions change the world.

As the Content Strategy Manager at Infusionsoft, Tracie Rollins helps small businesses succeed by developing e-learning and authoring content for small business consumption and application.

As an entrepreneur, Tracie has appeared on KTVK’s Good Morning Arizona show, and has been featured in the Institute for Industrial Engineering magazine, Woman’s World, Arizona Republic and multiple local publications. She and her husband, Lonny help small business stand out amongst the competition with The Rollins Advantage, LLC. You can connect with Tracie online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

Key Topics

3 Keys to Ensuring that You’re Learning From the Right Expert