With nearly 50,000 new businesses starting each month (quite a startling statistic, huh?), the marketplace will only become noisier and noisier.
So how can you avoid getting lost among your competition? What can you do today to stand out?
The answer can be simply stated, but it not easy as it will take critical ‘think work’ and timely execution. The answer is: establish your brand.
You may be thinking: “What are you talking about? I’m a small business right now, just a one-person operation. I don’t need a ‘brand.’”
My dear, you couldn’t be more wrong.
While a few decades ago, ‘brands’ were primarily reserved for mega businesses (like Nike, Amazon, Apple and their ilk), today’s ultra-competitive market requires all businesses, those great and small, to have a compelling brand and effectively present their unique brand story.
Branding can be a confusing subject so let’s talk about exactly what a brand is.
Let’s first understand what a brand is NOT.
A brand is not merely your business name and logo. They are part of your brand but it goes much deeper than that.
Your brand is how your perfect client recognizes and experiences your brand, including the emotion or ‘feel’ it evokes. When your brand is established and your brand ‘voice’ and messaging are clear, speaking directly to your perfect client, raving fans become the norm as they align perfectly with your story.
Did you know that as an entrepreneur, YOU are your brand?
That’s right. Whether an individual consumer or business, buyers want to do business with a brand that aligns with their values and beliefs. So your brand (i.e., who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in and what makes you truly unique) must be clearly communicated. And all that you do must be congruent with your brand.
Warning: do not skip this critical step of getting clear about your brand! (I’ve seen so many potentially wonderful businesses struggle unnecessarily (or fail) because they didn’t take the time to think through this exercise.)
Trust me when I tell you: getting specific with your brand (the who, what why, how, etc.) is pivotal to long-term success in business. And that’s what you’re after right, sister?
I know you can do this and do it well. So grab your Branding Worksheet and schedule time in your calendar to complete it.
Once you have a thorough understanding of your brand, it’s time to create your brand story.
I’ll address this next step in a future blog post. But I’ll leave you with a teaser about what a brand story is (for you over-achievers who are ready to get a jump start).
Put simply, your brand story is the messaging you put out in the world. (This messaging is all-encompassing: from your website to social media posts, from your business cards to your ads, from your marketing pieces to how you present yourself in person.)
And a brand story is most effective – truly powerful – when you fully understand the needs, desires, frustrations, challenges, joys and dreams of your ideal client.
Until next time . . .