Rankings and lists can help you grow your business. For example, Payscale, the salary site, recently released a ranking of undergraduate colleges by 20-year ROI. I summarized four interesting findings from the Payscale College ROI report (party schools trump sober schools!) in my latest Forbes post. But fun facts aside, rankings and lists – Fortune 500, Inc 500, Best Companies For Working Parents, Most Innovative, 40 Under 40 — are an excellent way for entrepreneurs to jump start sales, using these four strategies:
Congratulate someone in your network
If you know someone who attended Harvey Mudd (ranked #1 in the Payscale report), send an email to congratulate. It’s another way to stay front of mind or to rekindle a contact that might have drifted. You can easily find your contacts associated with a school or company via LinkedIn search, as it ranks your first connections first.
Target brand names
The Fortune 500 list is categorized geography so you can find the largest company in your area. Even if your current client is typically an individual or small business, you may want to give a talk or do consulting at a larger company. Having a big brand on your client list helps your brand.
Target fast growth companies
The Inc 500 list (and up to 5000 is available online) is categorized by geography so you can identify fast-growing companies in your area. These are companies who are probably too busy with 4-digit percentage growth to develop onerous procurement hurdles. If your business offers something that can take a chore or secondary function off their plate so they can continue to focus on their core business, you may land a new, fast-growing client.
Get inspiration (and ideas for your own story)
Some lists focus on people – 40 Under 40, Forbes Most Powerful, Inc college entrepreneurs to watch. These profiles provide great inspiration, and there might be concrete ideas from others’ journeys that give you ideas for your own. (While it’s not a list, I love Fortune’s regular column where entrepreneurs share “How I Did It.”). From these profiles, you can also get ideas for how to craft your own compelling story. If you were to write your feature, which list would you want to be on? What would it say? How would the journey unfold? What can you do now that moves you in the direction you just brainstormed?
In keeping with my own advice, I have emailed a connection from Harvey Mudd. When the Inc 500 list came out, I also emailed connections there. It is a built-in but spontaneous reminder to reconnect with people. Which strategy will you adopt to take advantage of these rankings and lists?