Struggling to nail your brand? Start with a vision board

Have you tried to fill out the worksheets on your company brand? And you are scratching your head ? Check out this post for ideas

Ever get stuck trying to figure out your company brand or mission statement?  Those worksheets are hard in the early stages of your business.  Because you have NO idea what matters most to you or your future customers.

So let me share an easier way to get started:

Start with your vision board

A vision board is not a “woo-woo” activity.  Sure you can sit down and paste pictures of every single car, house, and piece of jewelry that you hope to own.  But if you get the essence of the vision board, you begin to realize it’s much deeper. You can visit the proverbial “adult candy store” or you use a vision board to tap into core goals/dreams and use that as your springboard for your company’s mission and values.
 
  • The vision board gives you the opportunity to share your bucket list.  I bet there are future customers and communities who would identify with your life goals.
  • The vision board gives you an opportunity to connect with something larger than yourself.  If you are the type who is motivated by more than money, you need these visual reminders when the going gets tough.
  • You deserve to have a serious “come to Jesus” moment when you are determining your company values.  Because it matters to you.  To your family.  To your future. And you get to stop stressing over what ain’t as important

And this is CRITICAL to business owners.  Why?

The vision board helps you know where to focus your time

I remember a conversation I had with a coaching client a few years ago.  She was frazzled.  She was working on her business nights and weekends.  Burning the candle at all ends.  And spending most of her time putting out fires.
 
It was driving her crazy.
 
We spoke about what mattered most in her life.  And when she started diving in, she realized it was her family.  She wanted a business that allowed her to spend more time with her family.  But her current business structure didn’t support her desires. She was starting to resent the time she was spending.
 
So we came up with a solution.  She hired help in exchange for taking home less profit.  
She had forgotten that her core focus in life was her family.  Once she got back in alignment, she started breathing easier.   She was able to spend more time with her family.  And enjoy life more.
And the end result is her business started earning more.  Why?  Because when she did work, she was in her zone.  Came up with ideas and solutions because she wasn’t tire and resentful.
And figured out some new ideas for how to maximize her time.
That’s often how it works.  Identify what matters most to you.  Solve a pressing problem for someone else.  And figure out how to create a business model that allows you to do both.
 
#win
 
Which leads me into the next point
 

Identify your values and you’ll build a better business

 
I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s important to write a mission and vision statement for your business.
 
Ever sat down and tried to create one?
 
I’ll wait….. LOL
 
Yup.  They are darn hard to flesh out.  People spend big money on creating them. They hire expert facilitators. They gather their top decision makers off-site. And spend hours revising and reviewing until they create these statements.
 
So let me help you with the cheat sheet if you are a solo or small business shop.  Do a vision board.   Or get real creative and do one with your team.
 
See what comes up.
 
  • What words matter most
  • What pictures capture your attention
  • What visuals keep coming up again and again
Yup.  That’s it.  That your company values. Those are the things that matter most to you..and will matter most to your clients.
 
Start sharing those ideas.  Those values.  The things that matter most to you.
 
By the way, your friends and family already know this about you.  So, infuse it into your business.  You’ll find clients and customers along the way that are as invested in the things that matter most to you.   These will be more loyal and long term clients because your interests are aligned.
 
Anddd it will make it much easier for you to reach that coveted 80/20 marketing equation.  No one likes businesses that sell, sell, sell all the time with them.  But if you share funny memes, inspirational quotes, or beautiful photos, people will remember. They will start to see what matters to you and associate it with your company brand.  
And people buy from people they like.  The more you share who you are, the more likely you will attract your ideal clients.

Nail your first trade show booth

Nail your first trade show booth - Before you spend a dime on marketing materials and displays, travel and logistics, ask yourself this question:

Nail your first trade show booth – Before you spend a dime on marketing materials and displays, travel and logistics, ask yourself this question:

Taking the plunge and exhibiting at an upcoming trade show/conference or large exhibit?  Exciting!

Before you spend a dime on marketing materials and displays, travel and logistics, ask yourself this question:

Two ways to earn more money this year

So did you start the 30 day challenge of writing down your patterns and habits? Oh my friends, if you have not gotten on board, I encourage you to try it!

I started it myself and ended up with an aaaammmmzazzzzzing solution.  I decided to shorten one of my workshops and offer it for free.  Why?  Because I’ll gain much more interest if I use it for gathering new friends and fans rather than charging for it.  Once people attend, I know they will get the value and want more.  And I get the double win-win of delivering a message I am super passionate about!!!

When this revelation hit, I thought about other ways that you could earn more money.  After you finish your “non resolutions” time, what else can you do to earn more money in your business?  I’ve got two ideas for you:

How do you think creatively when all chaos is breaking loose?

more creative Less chaosI’ve been working like a crazy woman these past few months.  I’ve run thirteen events from marketing the registration website to the final thank yous; worked with two large clients on conferences or trainings; held strategy calls with clients’  wrote for my blog and other blogs; and gone through an intense review and rehaul of my personal brand.

Whew!  And that’s the short list!!! lol.

I am truly appreciative of the support and advice that I’ve received.  And y’all know I am fan of focusing on priorities.    But….. Shock!! Horror!!  Surprise!!  It doesn’t always work out perfectly.

(OK that was an attempt at sarcasm.  Humor me!!)

And I’ve gained a powerful insight.  Your enemy isn’t time.

It’s the “RIGHT” time you need.  Creative time for your entrepreneurial muscles to dream, think creatively and work on strategy for your business future.   And it’s not just as simple as carving time in your calendar.   First you have to stop the “things to do list” running in the background.  And then you have to get silent to figure out what you clients really need.

So what’s a girl to do when it’s hectic?  See my ideas below.

Kill your long things to do list and just focus on two things

I used this tip when I first started using social media.  Focus. Focus. Focus.  Stop trying to do EVERYTHING all at once.

Yes, yes, yes, I know the things on your list seem important.  But are they really putting money in your pocket?

Far too often, we focus on too many things.  We miss out on the all important areas of your business – marketing and sales.  Because it’s really about the clients at the end of the day – how can we best serve them and how do we find more?

Start being ruthless when you need to add things to your list.  Unless it’s taxes, focus more on the revenue generating activities and less on the busy work.

And for all of you about to cheer that social media can take the place of your marketing plan – don’t believe the hype!  lol.  Social media is just ONE area of your overall marketing strategy. So don’t think sitting in front of the computer RTing all day and posting FB messages is making a difference to your bottom line.  (I say this as I put down my tablet and log off of Pinterest.  So trust me – I get it!).  Keep social media as part of your overall strategy – not your whole marketing plan


Your 3 Step “Before You Start” Marketing Plan

FRESH-4I was chatting with a client recently about new products that she wanted to launch.  She was so pumped because she just knew the products could really help her customers.  Her enthusiasm was contagious.  I couldn’t help but get jazzed with her.

And then I started thinking.  Is this really where she should spend her time to grow her business brand?  How does she launch her business AND get her marketing off the ground?  How does everything move from the idea stage into into cash flow?

Please be clear –  I get really jazzed when I hear my clients talk about new business ideas and launches.  I know it’s embedded in your life mission and purpose.  And there is nothing I want more than to support that.

But my job is to listen carefully to what my clients are not saying and address areas that could turn up and create disasters with a launch – ie lost money, no money, bad positioning.

So we took a step back and I started asking her questions about the products.  Like how she could spread the word via social media, her newsletter, in person events, etc.

And that started to get the real heart of the question:

Why your business is no different than a no name bottle of water

Why do they pick you?I love this activity that I teach to help entrepreneurs figure out their unique positioning.  I call it the “Water Bottle Activity”.

When a customer thinks about buying water, they have at least 4-5 choices.  What makes select the brand they do?  And why do they often choose it every time?

Ummm the ingredients are the same.  Although I hear the faint echo of the water companies beating down my door to explain the difference.  I wish they would.  I need more info for this activity to really do it justice!

I usually ask the class to pick their favorite choice.  There is often a class favorite.  It varies based on the region where I’m doing the activity, the ratio of male vs female and a few other lifestyle factors – ie. frequent airline travelers.

But for the most part, they pick the same brand time and time again.

Any guesses why? 

Your three social media profiles #15min social media

Just get started, Girl!So you have your name and your photo from my earlier post on starting your Social Media in 15 min

Now you get to finish up the profile – who hoo!

Let me offer a few simple targeted steps for each tool:

Facebook:

Facebook has the easiest profile to fill out because it’s generated by a few standard questions.  You can easily bang out – work at, live at, studied at.   Include some basic contact information and your birthdate (you don’t have to include the  year but give people a way to send some Bday love)

Create your profile – #15 min social media

Ohhhh you look good online!If you haven’t read my earlier posts on Starting a Social Media campaign in 15 minutes, check them out.  I designed this series to prevent information overload.  And don’t get caught up on the ease of the steps.  They are designed to be short and convince you to take action.

Create a profile

You’ll spend the next three days on this step – making your public debut by creating a profile.  The hardest profile to create is your first one.  Once you create your first profile, you’ll be able to import themes and info into your next profile.

But your first one is the hardest to start because you are staring at a blank page.

Start Your Biz Social Media Campaign #15min

No more info overload

If you read my earlier post about How to Start Using Social Media in your Business in just  15 min a day, you were probably thinking,

“Geez Malla.  Just start one account? That’s pretty basic”

It is.  But far too often I hear from entrepreneurs that they are going to get started.  And going to get started.  And going to get started.  Some day.

And they never do.

I understand what happens. I’m guilty of doing the same thing.  You make the decision to start your social media campaign.  You start your research.  You bookmark a bunch of interesting websites.  You read, read, read and collect ideas.  You talk to a few friends about what they did.

And you get caught in the information trap.  It’s easy at this point to get overwhelmed and not know where to start.

I won’t tell you the total # of sites I had saved when I first got started.  lol. It’s amazing I ever got to this point.

So trust me.  As basic as it seems, just start by opening one account.