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Leveraging Thought Leadership

Jun 19, 2022

How soon should a startup start thinking about using thought leadership? 
Startups usually focus on customer acquisition, building their brand, and traditional marketing, believing that thought leadership is something that would be nice to have down the road —but not a must-have out of the gate. Turns out, that's not the best way to forge a business.

Investing in thought leadership early can propel a brand to great heights. To explore the concept, we’ve invited Jody Padar to join us. Jody is known as "The Radical CPA," and is one of the few CPAs that has built a personal brand. She is currently the Head of Tax Strategy and Evangelism at April, a new tax program going to market through banks.

We explore how Jody built The Radical CPA brand, starting 15 years ago when accounting, as a field, was going through major changes. She felt the tools she needed were not available, so she started blogging and writing to try to understand the changes taking place. She quickly gained a following that agreed with her thinking, accepting her non-standard methods and innovative techniques. Plus, Jody shares her difficulties with criticism, and how being open-minded allowed her ideas to sharpen and grow.

Now that Jody is with April, we learn how her personal brand works to bring a deeper level of authority and expertise to April, defying all the expectations of a startup. In addition, her high profile plays well with potential investors, who trust Jody as the face of a new brand.

This is an excellent conversation that illuminates personal thought leadership brands, and the power they can have when they partner with new (or experienced!) organizations.

Three Key Takeaways:
• It is never too early to share your opinion, take a unique stance, and start creating your own thought leadership.

• Having an established thought leadership brand can allow you to justify higher fees and the ability to demand a premium when being acquired.

• Thought leadership practitioners need tough skin when it comes to critics, and it is in their benefit to be open-minded and use criticism to refine their ideas.