5 Keys to Branding For Small Business Success

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Branding represents a tremendous growth opportunity for any type of small business owner, including entrepreneurs, independent professionals, and especially “thought leaders” such as speakers, coaches, trainers, and authors. So, why is branding such a confusing topic to so many?

What’s So Great About Branding?

Well, for starters, most owners think that branding is about having a logo, perhaps a tagline, a website, and anything else you can see. Branding, however, goes much deeper than this, beyond what the eye can see. When done correctly, it can place your product or service miles ahead of the competition and breathe new life into your business. Owners are always looking for an edge and the “visual stuff,” quite frankly, is not going to bring home the bacon. But, when done correctly, branding paves the way for rapid sales growth.

So, what exactly does it mean to “brand”? And does it require a lot of time, money, or energy?

Branding, in a nutshell, is about promising an undeniable experience to your customer. And, in the process of doing that, making sure your customer gets instant recognition of that promise and how your brand will benefit them.

Branding allows us, as owners, to stand out and get noticed in our marketplaces by differentiating our products or services in a distinctive way. We can say, “I’m different” and really mean it, demonstrate how we’re superior to other alternatives, and ultimately make a bold promise to the customer about what we can be counted on to deliver. Through effective use of the English language, we can attract even more customers by putting out a brand message that connects, engages, and moves people to take the actions we want them to take.

As consumers, we have thousands of choices across an array of products and services all over the globe. Our ability as owners to get noticed and preferred by the people we wish to sell to as if we were recommended by a trusted friend is our end goal.

While it seems that many owners are doing some, if not a lot, of marketing by creating websites, utilizing social media and other business-building tools at their disposal, they are also neglecting the use of branding as a sure-fire way to help get new customers, increase sales, and improve cash flow. It kinda doesn’t make sense, right?

Learn more at our free webinar!
Join Gerry for a free live webinar on June 23! “Brand Like Your Life Depends On It!”

Why Isn’t Every Owner Branding?

So, why isn’t every small business owner branding and how is that good news for you?

The answer is one of the basic reasons so many of them fizzle out and ultimately fail: lack of knowledge.

Specifically, lack of how branding works, why it’s crucial, and a general misunderstanding of the vital role it plays to not only keep your business viable but contribute to its success.

The good news is that as owners, we face sales and cash flow issues every day and branding is a critical tool in our “customer acquisition toolkit.”  Reprogramming our mind to focus on how branding can change the trajectory of our business is often all it takes to build the confidence you seek to overcome those issues. The even better news is that many owners are still not cashing in on branding (and perhaps never will) so by utilizing this tool you have a golden opportunity for mega impact than those not willing to get on the band wagon.

Making sure you avoid the pitfall of believing that branding is reserved for corporate brands with big names and giant budgets, and not underestimating the power of a powerful brand, you can still mirror similar success for yourself.

Now, I know that may sound pie-in-the-sky-ish. However, the sky’s the limit if you know how to create a strategically-based powerful brand.

Here are 5 Keys to Branding Success for Your Business

1.  Strong Brand Purpose Statement

Successful branding starts with establishing an inspiring, underlying purpose for your brand.  A well-crafted vision and mission statement that connects with your core audience on a deeper level can motivate them to purchase your brand.  Every component of your brand stems from it – a call to action for exceptional performance consumers will fall in love with.

2.  Clear Differentiation

Creating a distinctive brand that offers something distinctively beneficial to your customer will generate more sales. This allows you to be, do, and say something different so you are seen as the preferred choice. It means you can avoid being perceived as cookie-cutter, rubber-stamped, or carbon-copy in an era where consumers want unique, fresh, and original.  It also means later on you can present your brand “marketing content” in a manner that screams how you are different and better.

3.  Unrivaled Value

Great brands like Nike, Amazon, and FedEx market and sell “me-only” value. The allure of what makes your brand innovative and the ability to say to your market you offer something others can’t (i.e. they can imitate but cannot duplicate) are incredible draws.

4.  Irresistible Promise

Everything you want someone to buy is captured in your brand promise statement. Although telling consumers about the product or services you provide is great information to share, this is not what they want to buy per se. All you want to tout are mouthwatering benefits, staggering value, and outstanding, desired customer outcomes that make a heart-connection, not a head-connection, for rapid sales to occur.

5.  Compelling Message

If there is any step in your branding you don’t want to gloss over is your messaging. Is it engaging or dry and boring? Does it send a lightning bolt to the heart of your targeted buyer? Your message is how people connect with your brand so you’ll want to be as emotionally-based and value-driven as possible. With the objective to load up your messaging on any communication platforms you choose (i.e. websites, social media, videos, etc.), you’ll find attracting buyers, getting leads, and more conversions easier and a lot more fun.

Are You Utilizing the Power of Branding?

Why not?

I truly hope that you’ll consider branding so you can join the many small business owners who are getting more customers, increasing sales, improving cash flow, and growing their bottom line.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments about creating a strategically-based powerful brand. Please respond in the comments and let’s keep the conversation going.  I hope you’ll connect with me via email Gerry@dare2bdifferent.net.

Using Appreciation and Gratitude to Improve Your Results

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winiarskiWe all have goals, or at least expectations, about the results we should see in our businesses (and personal lives). When the results you want don’t come as quickly as you want them do you fuss and complain or do you pause to recognize how far you have come and feel grateful for where you are?

What Complaining Gets You

People don’t complain about what’s working—they complain about the things that are not quite right or are downright broken. The problem is that for every situation you can choose to focus on what’s working if you want to, yet many people get stuck complaining because that is where their habits take them.

If you believe that you get more of that which you focus your attention and energy, you can see that complaining about the lack of customers won’t bring more customers, just as complaining about errors at a little league baseball game won’t bring a major-league caliber performance.

Have you ever noticed when you have had a bad day that things seem to build upon each other—events that are mildly frustrating soon become a self-fulfilling prophesy of “nothing going right”!

Building your business?
Join Pete for a free live webinar on June 9! “How to Create High Performance and Bottom Line Results through Appreciation and Gratitude”

The Emotional Accelerator

Gratitude and appreciation are powerful emotions. When you allow yourself to stay focused on what is working and what is good, no matter how the events are stacking up negatively, you will begin to see an internal shift that keeps any “bad day” scenarios from taking hold.

On your birthday, do you feel grateful for the amazing gifts you receive, or do you complain like Harry Potter’s cousin Dudley that there are not enough gifts this year?  Poor Dudley provides the perfect example of what YOU look like when you complain and focus on the bad rather than the good.

Try This Experiment

For the next 24 hours, give up complaining. Replace complaining with a short pause to notice what is working (even if it’s just one small thing!). Allow yourself to appreciate what is working and genuinely feel grateful, even for a moment, that things are starting to work out in your favor.  As you do this you can then expect to see better results.

In my experience, you will soon notice your results will follow your positive attitude and positive expectations. And THAT is something that you can feel grateful about!

5 Periscope Keys to Your Business Success

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periscope for businessPeriscope and other live stream platforms like Facebook Live are some of the newest social media options for online entrepreneurs, authors and business coaches. So, what’s all the hubbub about, anyway?

What’s So Great About Periscope?

Well, for starters, Periscope is new-ish, free, forgiving and fun. Periscope, and live streaming in general, added a new dimension and breathed new life into the social media world. Entrepreneurs got excited about getting in front of the camera on their mobile devices to share their message without lots of prep and planning and many are experiencing a significant return on that investment of time.

So, does that mean only established entrepreneurs with a strong video presence can benefit? Not at all!

Periscope is a platform where people at all levels in their professional or personal journey can shine.

Live streaming allows us, as broadcasters, to reach out to people across the globe and share our message through video as we interact with our viewers in real time. We can share content, breaking news in our business, and make offers. In snippets of time, we can demonstrate our expertise, credibility, and communication style.

As viewers, we have access to content and broadcasters all over the globe and the ability to establish relationships with them as well as with other viewers as if we were invited to an impromptu cocktail party where the hors d’oeuvres are morsels of some of the best online content for free.

While broadcasters and viewers are sharing content, learning, and connecting, they are also building their businesses by getting new clients, filling programs, selling their books and getting immediate feedback as they create more content. Hard to see a downside, right?

Want to learn about Using Periscope for Business?
Join Deb for a free live webinar on May 28! “Periscope for Authors, Coaches and Other Thought Leaders

Why Isn’t Everyone Using Periscope?

So, why isn’t everyone doing it and how is that good news for you?

The answer is one of the usual culprits when it comes to stepping out: fear.

Fear of technology, being on camera, speaking, and general uncertainty about what to expect.

The bright side of this is that as online entrepreneurs, we face fear every day and this is just one more step in the journey. A mindset shift to focus on how Periscope can help your business is often all it takes to build the confidence as you quell the fear. The even brighter side is that many people are still not doing this (and perhaps never will) so by joining the Periscope and live stream train, you are a pioneer and have an opportunity for greater impact than those not willing to step into the platform.

Amassing over a million downloads in its first ten days, and growing upwards of 10 million downloads within a few months of that, it’s still estimated that active Periscope broadcasters account for less than 10% of users.

The stage can be yours if you know how to use strategy around it.

How Can Periscope Help My Business?

Periscope is a constantly evolving live stream platform where you can express yourself, your business and your products in creative and engaging ways that capture attention quickly and lead to conversion in terms of new clients and new business.

There are 5 Keys to Periscope Success for Your Business:

1.        Engagement

Sharing your content and receiving feedback, answering questions, and interacting with potential clients and customers are great ways to initiate, maintain, and grow relationships. If, as I do, you feel relationships are the backbone of your business, periscope is a vital way to grow.

2.     Access

Periscope is a mobile-based app (with viewing available on desktop) designed to “explore the world through someone else’s eyes” (as stated in the periscope.tv tagline). This allows you to broadcast, view and stay connected anywhere you have wifi access and/or data to use the app. It means you can “talk” with and learn from people across the globe who you might otherwise never discover. It also means you and your content can be accessed by people all over the globe.

3.     Immediacy

Live stream platforms like Periscope happen in “real time” in the moment. The intrigue of having a conversation with an influencer and the ability to reach your followers at the touch of a button as if you are together are incredible draws.

4.     Convenience

Everything you need is on your mobile device. Although equipment and accessories are a great way to upgrade your broadcast experience, they are optional. All you need is your device (smartphone, tablet, or iPad), an idea, and a Periscope account and you can create, engage, and offer calls to action to your viewers.

5.     Community

My favorite aspect of Periscope is its sense of community. It has leveled the playing field because broadcasts, even with high numbers, have an intimate feel and people follow and return to broadcasters who offer value. Influencers, newbies and established periscopers continue to foster a welcoming hand of connection. With the strategy to bring these connections to other platforms and offline, it’s easy to continue the “conversation” and discover ways to get more clients, more business, more supporters, and more collaborators.

Are You Using Periscope and the Power of Live Stream?

Why not?

I truly hope that you’ll consider this platform and the strategy to maximize it so that you can join the many entrepreneurs, business coaches and authors who are getting clients, creating new content, refining their offers, and selling more books using the power of Periscope.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments about Periscope and Live Streaming and your experience with it in your business. Please respond in the comments and let’s keep the conversation going. I hope you’ll connect with me on Periscope @debcomanwriting.

The #1 Key to More Sales

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jana-keyWhether you’re a coach like the students and many of the clients I work with, or if you have a service-based or a product-based business, there is one thing that will often keep you from making all the income you could, and having to put a lot more time and energy into your marketing, resulting in burn-out and frustration.

What is it?

Generalization.

Huh?

The “I can help anyone with their problem” mindset.

Let’s say you’re an auto mechanic. You CAN most likely help everyone with car problems, right? But so does every other car repair shop in the city, so why should they choose you?

jana-megaphoneMany people compete on price, making them struggle to make enough money. Not a great solution.

Some people will shout “I’m the best!” from the rooftops. People don’t really believe you.

So what can you do to stand out from the crowd? It’s so simple, but so many businesses resist doing this…

SPECIALIZE.

Yes, you heard me.

Look at the difference between these two examples (both from my real life as a health coach):

1.       Hi, I’m a holistic health coach. I use nutrition to help people with migraines, digestive issues, chronic pain or other discomforts in the body. If you want to feel better, come see me.

2.       I help busy, stressed-out professional women with 5+ days of chronic migraine pain per month get control, reduce or eliminate the pain for good, and get their life back. Who do you know with chronic migraines?

Which one is most direct and compelling? The second one, right? Now, I had people come up to me and say:

“I don’t have chronic migraines, but I have chronic digestive issues – do you work with that?” – YES

“I don’t have migraines but I do get almost daily stress headaches – can you help?” – YES

“I have chronic food allergies – do you work with those?” – YES

So while my message had one single point of focus, others would come to me with different issues and I could decide if I could help on a case-by-case basis.

Nice, right?

jana-doorBeing specific is the key to getting clients coming to YOU.

So, going back to that auto mechanic I mentioned earlier, I’d find out where their strengths are. Maybe they hold a unique certification for All-Wheel-Drive vehicles, or maybe they can boost engine performance or gas mileage in ways others don’t. So, do they stop serving all customers? That’s a great question.

The answer is yes or no.

Yes: If you want to be known as a generalist who has a side specialty of boosting Japanese engine performance, then you can still market generally, as well as in that niche.

No: If you want to be seen as THE true expert in your field, and have all the generalists sending clients to you, then you would ONLY work on those jobs. Of course, until you have enough of them, you’d do both, but then cut back on the general as the specialty work comes in. Then you can also charge more money for what you do, because you’re the best in the area. They will happily pay more money to work with you, as long as your work is really top-notch and your customer service is excellent.

See how that works? You get to choose.

The next step is bringing them into a conversation where you can decide if you are the one to help them, and I’ve developed a system for that which I’ll be sharing on Social Buzz Club, called More Sales, No Selling. If you’d like to get clients asking how they can work with you before you offer them anything, be on that free call! Sign up here: http://goo.gl/bb5T8l

There are a few steps to having a really powerful conversation with a prospect that draws them in, and gets them to ask “How can I work with you?” before you even offer them a program or service.

Want to learn about the #1 Key to More Sales?
Join Jana for a free live webinar on May 12! “How to Sell Without Selling”

I’ll be sharing a lot of info on the call, but let me share one key to spending LESS time on conversations and getting more sales:

Don’t talk to everyone.

jana-networkSee how this kind of goes back to what I mentioned before about specializing? It’s the same here. In order to thin out the prospects to those who need and want what you offer and are ready to take action to work with you, you use a qualification process by using a questionnaire.

You can either send them a list of questions by email, or you can send them to a questionnaire on a service like Survey Monkey (www.surveymonkey.com), and find out a bit about what problem they are trying to solve and what they want instead. Be sure to get their contact information too. You can ask what you need to in about 7 – 8 short questions, with contact info being the first 3 – 4. You can also ask a qualifying question like: “On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being ‘I don’t really care’ and 10 being ‘I HAVE to find a solution now’, how important is it to you to solve your issue?” (or ask about reaching their vision).

jana-headphonesNow you can choose to spend your conversation time with people who really need and want a solution. Now, this doesn’t always work with every business, but I would bet you can find a way to make it work with yours. If you have trouble, email me and I’ll help you find a path to success.

Again, join me Thursday 5/12 for my live webinar where I’ll be sharing the details on how to have a powerful conversation. You can sign up here: http://goo.gl/bb5T8l.

I hope to talk to you on the call!

Warmly,

Jana

Before Editing, Gain Some Perspective

Pull back to see more clearly...

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Editing our own writing, whether it’s a book chapter, article or blog post, requires us to look at our own work with fresh eyes.

We need to leave the creative shoes of the writer behind and step into the critical, precise shoes of the editor. This is not an easy transition and often requires a great deal of practice for the so called “shoe to fit.”

Both of the photographs here are of the same beautiful bowl — the beautiful bowl of creation. In the first, zoomed-in view, it’s too close to appreciate any of the beauty. The second offers some much needed distance and perspective to take it all in.

And so it is with our writing and editing.

We write of what we know, what we’ve done, what we like writing about. Topics close to our hearts and events from the mental photo albums of our minds. We hope that the way we think of something can be conveyed onto paper as we write, but, do we ever really know? What happens as our stories travel from memory and brain wave to muscle to hand to pen or keyboard? We worry that something is lost and yet, we are too close to read it critically.

But we have a wonderful ability to change all that.

We can change our perspective.

Pull back to see more clearly...

Step back to see more clearly…

We can put distance between our writing and our reading so that we can edit our own work.

When we review our own writing with a plan to edit it, too, we remain the writer, nonetheless. We cannot fully step away from that role. And so, we need some strategies to put distance between writer and editor; to broaden perspective and step back from what we write so that we can edit it:

  1. Put time and space between writing and editing. Allow as much time as possible between when you write and when you go back to edit your work. Whenever possible, overnight is helpful but do what you can, even if it is only a few hours. Some recommend letting your finished book draft sit a full month before you pick it back up. The time away from the content helps you let go of what you intended enough so that you can see it with fresh eyes when editing. It’s even suggested that you edit in a different place than the one in which you wrote.
  2. Print it out. If you created your writing digitally, print out a hard copy. Whether or not you print, change the font in style or size to alter the view enough to get your brain to consider it as something new.
  3. Read it aloud. By reading out loud, you’re now using another sense to evaluate your writing. It is often by hearing that you pick up on a section that seems too awkward or a word that is used too often. It’s a great way to examine the flow of your piece and even to gauge its length. It allows you to check for conversational writing…the kind of writing that works best!
  4. Read it as if someone else. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and read it all the way through, as if you are that person that is not you reading material that you do not know. Take nothing for granted, like the meaning of a word or the meaning in the gaps between the words. If something is not straightforward, fix it! Replace jargon with clarity and add information when needed to explain things thoroughly and more clearly to an outsider. Then read it through again for another round!
  5. Ask someone else to read it. This can be someone in your family, young or old. It’s even better when it can be someone unfamiliar with the content. Ask them to be critical and comfortable sharing what they think.

When you’ve given yourself the gift of a new perspective, you give your writing a better chance of meeting someone else across the page. You connect with your readers as your words invite them to see things from your perspective!

How do you change your perspective when editing your writing? Please share in the comments.