If you were going to start a business right now, today, what one word would you print up and tack on every wall around your workspace?

  • Ask that of Coco Chanel in 1909, I’m sure she’d have said Exclusive.
  • Ask Richard Branson, and he’d probably say Fun. That’s a great one-word summary of what unites the 400-500 Virgin companies.
  • Ask Steve Jobs, he might have said Beautiful or Excellent (or maybe Expensive, Apple’s detractors might quip).
  • Ask TOMS founder and Chief Shoe Giver Blake Mycoskie, he’d probably say something like Good or Beneficial.
  • Unfortunately, there are too many companies out there seemingly founded on uninspiring words like Profitable (as if anyone would try to avoid profits! That’s your differentiator? Really?)
  • And I’m sure you can name a business leader or two you think would say their founding word is Evil. I know I can think of a few.

But please, let’s stray back to the realm of positive. For instance,

  • The Luck Company’s one word is Values. It has been their source of strength for years.
  • Dan Price’s Gravity Payments has been a subject of national acclaim and debate this year due to the word he seems to have chosen to sum up his company, Just.
  • One of my favorites, VALVe, can be summed up as Flat. To my knowledge, nobody does self-management better – or business more profitably.

So, back to you. If you had only one word to describe the business you’re going to start right now, today, what would that word be?

Too often, we seem to go for words like Same (as in, the Same as everyone else). Or – just as bad – we choose this for our founding principle: Huh? As in, “What are you talking about, ‘founding principle?’ We’re trying to ship some product here!”

That’s too bad. It’s a lost opportunity. Because your one word can turn your business from one of millions started this year globally, to one of just one: something unique and important in this world.

I’ve been thinking about my word for a very, very long time. I likely started working on it almost a decade ago, when I met Walden University co-founder Bernie Turner and he told me the secret of his own phenomenal success. Bernie told me,

“Stand for something Important. You’ll be amazed at the caliber of people you attract to your cause.”

I’ve been thinking about causes important enough, significant enough, to get behind ever since. Until finally, at the close of 2015, I know we’ve got it.

Our word is Fair.

I wasn’t going to found my next business till I turned 50 in 2017. And I certainly wasn’t going to start anything involved in marketing, which isn’t exactly my first love. Marketing often leaves me wanting to take a shower.

But something happened. As is often the case, you wake up one day with a hair across your ass, and you realize you have a cause you can’t put on a shelf for someone else to fix.

And for me, that cause is the world of Influence. As in Influencer Marketing. As in, you’ve worked years at building your personal brand online, to the point that companies find the trust you’ve built with your audience to be of value to them. Financial value.

Like TV and radio advertising. You know… if that still worked.

Like Facebook and YouTube ads. Except, more effective.

Let’s face it: we people trust people like us, especially as we spend years getting to know each other. Years of reading and sharing and commenting on blogs can do it. Of Tweet chats and Facebook groups. In the Social Age, this is much of our interpersonal connection. And it’s not shallow or weird – except perhaps to some holdout curmudgeons who intentionally refuse to get it. Are you kidding me??? It’s hard to exchange written thoughts with another for years and not get to know them very well!

So if the influence we’ve built up with each other is so valuable to brands, doesn’t it sound Fair for brands to pay for it?

And if brands are paying agencies to put them together with influencers, shouldn’t influencers themselves get most of that fee?

Fair. It’s Fair to pay the people doing the work and providing the value, don’t you think? We sure do.

The good news is, most people want to be Fair, if only a way to do so can be provided. That’s why we know our founding principle is going to serve us all so well.

The Extraordinary Influencer Network‘s one word, our founding principle, is Fair.

What’s yours?


For more on the topic of influence, read The New Face of Influence.

About Ted Coiné

Ted Coiné is CEO of The Extraordinary Network, a group that is rewriting all the rules of influencer marketing by cutting out agency middlemen to work directly with B2B and luxury brands. Proud “bleeding heart capitalists,” he and his team have built support of a great cause into every for-profit campaign they undertake.

His entire career, Ted has collected fascinating people, most notably other thought leaders who also have a large and loyal audience of large enterprise leaders. He has watched the Wild West that is influencer marketing until he realized an opportunity to fix this broken system, and give influencers the sway they need to move markets together, and to get paid what they’re deserved for this power they bring to bear.

An Inc. Top 100 Speaker and one of Business News Daily’s 15 Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow, Ranked #1 authority on the Social CEO and #3 in the Future of Work, Ted is also a serial business founder and CEO.

Ted is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership gave Ted a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.

He lives in Naples, Florida, with his wife and two daughters.

Click here to hire Ted Coiné for your next event!

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