When it comes to getting a business off the ground and running the trick is that there is no trick. With a few simple, consistent steps, you can create an organization that serves the community and thrives in its mission. To accomplish this you have to employ these three strategies of successful businesses – so let’s dive in!
There is simply no substitute for the value of making connections in business. Connection starts with allowing people to get to know your brand. There is so much coaching, advice, and media attention surrounding the concept of building a brand today that it is important to take a second to define what that really means and how you do it. I would challenge you to think about your brand as, in its simplest form, you. And since your brand essentially is you, then the phrase building a brand only refers to connecting with your community and creating opportunities for people to get to know you. Avoid the trap that lots of entrepreneurs fall into by getting stuck in the phase of only building their brands.
Since your brand is essentially you, then ask yourself these simple questions: Who are you, authentically? What are your values? What are you passionate about? What are your gifts? Who can you help? Whatever your authentic, your core answers are to those questions, that is your brand. Let people in on your world, and don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Most importantly, don’t try to be everything to everyone. Be you to those who need you, again and again, and you WILL build your brand.
Early in my career as an entrepreneur, I can remember some of my best clients came from the fact that I showed up consistently at chamber or networking meetings. If people had questions or referrals, they knew they would see me there because I consistently showed up (or was it to hear my Aussie accent??). The most difficult part of this phase of building a brand is that it takes time. Once you establish your brand and people know who you are, you must show up and be that, again and again…and again and again. When you show up consistently, you will be known for who you are, the problems you can help people solve, and you’ll already be in the right place to solve them.
Show You Care—for them!
One of the first mantras I learned as an educator is a mantra that still rings true in business: People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Once people know who you are and you have made connections and you have shown up consistently, it’s time to let your community, AKA your prospects, know what sets you apart. In my mind, that something is the fact that you care about their needs, the pains or problems they are having right now before you care about the solution you offer. Sometimes that’s spending extra time, sometimes it’s thinking outside of the box, and sometimes it’s even referring them to someone who can serve their needs even better than you can.
That’s it a few simple ways to build your brand. When you show that you will go to whatever creative or crazy lengths it takes to meet their needs, you will stand out from the other cookie cutter people in your industry, and you will be fulfilling your mission all the way down to your core.
Written by Neil Richmund
Neil Richmund is a native Australian who has lived in the US for over 30 years, during which he has worked as a chaplain and teacher in Christian schools across the country before making the switch to the business world in 2006. He has published a community newspaper, worked on marketing strategy for companies and building websites for organizations. He is married to a lifelong Morgan County resident – Amy Richmund, who grew up in Mooresville, and together they have three young adult children. In 2021 they formed ConnectAble, a non-profit that uses technology, coaching and resource development to help businesses, nonprofits and schools reach their goals and impact more lives.