Ok, ok I know that sounded a little harsh but hey, I had to grab your attention and help you understand how vitally important it is to invest in your brand. Last week, I received so many questions from emerging entrepreneurs on how to build or expand their customer or client base, and the truth is, there is no one size fit all strategy to achieve that goal. Branding is an ever-evolving process that takes consistent work. By investing in your brand I don't just mean monetarily, it also requires time, education, networking, etc. to keep the machine moving. But to simplify things for the sake of this conversation, here are 5 Reasons Your Brand Sucks, and a few notes on what you can do about it...
#1 YOU LACK CLARITY Lack of clarity is the number one reason why most people are unsuccessful in business. You have so many ideas, wants and desires, but you haven’t taken the time to sit down and evaluate exactly HOW you’ll make them all come together. Or better yet, you’re not even sure if they should be together in the first place. Most entrepreneur go from wanting to start a business, to getting a logo and business cards designed – skipping all the research and strategy needed to make it a success. How can you communicate who you are and what you do to your audience if you don’t know yourself? Get clarity BEFORE you start operating in business and watch how seamless running your business will be.
#2 YOUR COMPETENCY & SKILLS ARE SUBPAR Ok, let’s be honest, most of us who are out here building a brand lack the fundamental skillset needed to manage being the visionary and executioner of our businesses. Self-awareness is the most VITAL skill to have as a Founder/CEO, because without it, you will convince yourself that you can do it all, and you simply CANNOT. When building your brand do a SWOT analysis on yourself. Evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement and threats to success. General rule of thumb: Do the things that come easiest to you, those things that you can get done QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY; and outsource everything else. Build a team around you early on, so you’re not struggling with doing so much work in you business, that you can’t work on growing/expanding.
#3 YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMER Whew chileee! This is the one hunny… So many entrepreneurs jump into the marketplace trying to sell everything to everyone. MAJOR MISTAKE! The closer you get to the core audience who needs the products and services you need, the easier it is to make the sale and gain a loyal, consistent customer base. If potential clients can only find you in a sea of thousands of other businesses then you may never get a sale. Define a very specific group who needs what you have to offer, study their habits and create unique solutions to their problems. THAT IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN BUSINESS! So what if you have to pass up on a few people, they weren’t your customer anyway – and that’s ok! Skip the pennies, and go get the dollars that are waiting for you.
#4 YOU LACK CREATIVITY & INNOVATION As the visionary you may think that you have to be the one with all the ideas, making all the decisions, and that’s simply not true. Creativity is at the cornerstone of brand differentiation and if you don’t master what that looks like for your business, you can’t compete. If you’re not good at writing engaging and creative content – hire a copywriter; if you’re not artistic – hire a designer. STORIES TELL & VISUALS SELL! Don’t skimp out on this part of your brand, because it can make you less desirable in the marketplace. People won’t know how awesome you are if you can’t effectively communicate it in a fresh, creative way.
#5 YOU DON’T HAVE THE PROPER PROFIT STRATEGY Profit and pricing strategies are about more than just slapping a price tag on your product and calling it a day. You have to have a system in place that accounts for marketplace trends, cost of goods, expenses, revenue growth projections, etc. Also, when you’re just starting out, its good to create a buildable pricing strategy that introduces people to your brand before they purchase your “big ticket” product. This is all apart of the strategy or blueprint of your business that must be in place BEFORE you make your first transaction. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up nowhere.
In closing, if you know anything about business you know that it requires flexibility and constant evolution, so even if you had a plan from the beginning, there is always room for adjustments. Don’t be so rigid that you miss out on the opportunity to hit “the sweet spot”, that place where you, your business and your customer base is in complete alignment. Thats the key to THRIVING in business!