We know we’ve all been curious.
You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and see countless “sponsored” ads. Each one promising to deliver the secret to making a 7-figure income, growing your Instagram followers to 10K in a month, or how to attract coaching clients with 1 simple ad. Obviously, this is only a snapshot of the many funnels ready to feed you through the system like you’re a chicken that will inevitably become a nugget.
We’ve all seen it and I would venture to say that many of you have put yourself through the process just to see what it’s all about. What’s the harm? Right? You’re promised all the quick fix answers in a 1-hour free webinar after all.
You click on to see a long-winded post about how this person has been at their lowest and then eureka! They transformed their life by discovering the key to making all their dreams come true! It sounds like your story minus the solution which they happened to find.
But it’s your lucky day! They are about to share the proven system with you!
Right-click. Pick a time (which is never a convenient time to watch the live webinar that rarely is live). Enter your email address to get the link and confirm. With a sigh of relief, you say to yourself “Finally, I’m going to get answers! It’s only an hour of my time.”
But you don’t hear anything aside from what you already know. This, my friends, is the longest sales pitch you ever had to sit through and, less personal.
Then comes the spam. Emails every day, each one slashing prices, just for you for a limited time only. I don’t know about you, but this is annoying. It plays with the minds of many, draining them of their time and money like lottery games that pray on the poorer communities with the promise of riches.
Building a business takes time, planning, and is not always one-size fits all. Are there strategies that can help to build a foundation to attract prospective clients? Of course! And here is a big secret. You are going to fail at times. What captures one person, doesn’t always capture another. We are in the digital society people! We are flooded with different perspectives and opinions. Post after post of family photos, cute dogs, restaurant check ins, historical, political or spiritual sayings that are no longer original, and at least on my feed, every 8th post is a sponsored ad.
So how do you build the foundation of your brand and market your business without becoming a “Funnel whore”?
1. Take time to think
I saw a wonderful interview with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. These 2 men are certainly some of the best entrepreneurs. When Bill Gates stated that “taking time to think is the best thing you can do,” he was right. Thinking brings creation, organization and authenticity to your business. Be introspective. Find out who you are in the world and how it is can be reflected in your business, whether through marketing or the service or product itself. In essence, find your “why” and personal connection to your endeavor. The world changes, but you will always be you. Know you and BE you 100%. This is where Mr. Buffett is an expert. For all these years, he has built his empire by investing or working with companies that he is interested in and enjoys. He takes time to think and is true to himself with every decision he makes. You can do this too!
2. Practice patience
When you realistically look at funnels, people get excited because they believe that it will help them make a lot of money quickly, but as the saying goes “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”. Building a strong business that is long-lived and that can withstand the ups and downs of the economy takes time. If you are building your business because you love what you do, don’t you want it to last? Building a foundation, getting your ducks in a row, gaining your first client and delivering on your promises takes patience. Mistakes will be made, progress can be slow. But remember this. Eventually, we all went from being a baby that couldn’t walk or talk to an adult making their place in the world.
3. Speak with people
This is becoming ever more important. Again, we are now in the digital age. Funnels, webinars, online classes and masterminds can be impersonal. There are a select few masterminds and online classes that break the mold by actually teaching a class online live via Zoom, Skype and other virtual programs. Some masterminds that are a carefully selected group of people that meet face-to-face sometimes over the course of the weekend are designed to talk, share, network, and to see what you can bring to the table to help others and vice versa. These, I find, are worthwhile.
However, I’m putting extra emphasis on speaking with people (not talking to people) because we seldom do it anymore. Think of it this way. You are building a brand or business. You need to get the word out. You go out one night and strike up a casual conversation with the person next to you. 9 times out of 10 people ask what you do. When this happens, they can see your passion and excitement while talking about your product or service. It’s not pushy nor is it a sales pitch. It is a real conversation. When this easy bond is built, you never know what can happen. If they have a need for you, they will remember that conversation and come to you because you established a relationship, and they may possibly give your name to someone they know.
Here is where I want you to pay close attention! If you have volunteers, interns or staff I want you to do yourself a BIG favor. Teach them how to have conversations. Many people now entering the workforce are young and have been accustomed to pressing a like button, confirming a friend request, possibly making a comment using an emoji, but once they must answer a face to face question or speak to someone they don’t know, it’s like a turtle retreating into its shell. As an entrepreneur who wants to succeed, it is your duty to teach those who work with you. You are giving them viable skills that not only help your business, but you are also giving them the confidence and the know-how to succeed in their future endeavors.
We all get excited, antsy and nervous embarking on the journey to entrepreneurship. This is the cruise of a lifetime. And just like a ship’s construction that must be properly built and inspected using guidelines, these 3 actions will allow you to ensure dependability: travel the course, reroute if necessary, and arrive in port without sinking into the Bermuda Triangle Funnels leading you to nowhere.
There has been some confusion about the difference between branding and marketing, especially for those just starting their show, business or career. The two go hand in hand but have two distinct purposes.
Branding is your identity. Simple right? It reflects the beliefs and characteristics of a company or person. Marketing is the way you communicate a product, service or talent to the world. It’s like the age-old question… what came first? The chicken or the egg?
All aspects can develop simultaneously. And yes, everything evolves over time because people change, thoughts and needs change, and culture and technology change. But this post is tackling the foundation of branding and how to develop your brand in 3 easy steps.
1. Who are you?
A Brand is like your name. It’s composed of several elements, but there is a personality to it. We generally think of a name, logo, tag line and bam… you establish a brand. However, there is a lot more to it because not only do people recognize those components, but an amazing aspect of the underlying beliefs behind the brand also allow you to build rapport and a community for those who work for and with the brand.
Keep this question in mind. If my business etc. is an extension of me as a person, am I representing myself authentically?
For example, when building Branas Enterprises, just like writing my books or creating my podcasts years ago, each one represents exactly who I am. I am a person that believes that you only have one life. I believe in being yourself every minute of every day. I believe in the aspect that every person has a purpose and voice or vision to put out into the world, helping others, and the strength of human connection. I love seeing people reach for the stars just as I did long ago when I finally realized that I could reach for mine. Our brand, down to the logo, tagline, and what we put out there, use this as our foundation.
However, if you are money grubbing and only worried about your bottom line, then the above is not an authentic message for you. And we wonder why we lose faith in certain companies?
So, as you develop your brand, do some soul searching. Honestly state who you are and your beliefs. What you are attempting to accomplish? Why? Do your services or products, your marketing campaigns and brand truly reflect those answers? You can’t build a great relationship without trust. Here, we think of the word brand as Building Relationships Authentically No one Doubts.
2. Share Your Story
I love the “My Pillow” guy. Why? Because he shares his story of enduring nights of uncomfortable sleep. He developed a product that came about from personal accounts. The best part is that he is the average guy and knows that there are others out there are just like him. It wasn’t an infomercial get rich quick scheme. It wasn’t the “I want to make millions” mindset. It was and still is sincere, demonstrates care for others and quality. I have no doubt that if there were a whole line of different “my pillow” products, each would reflect his story.
Wonderful examples of this step are many non-profit organizations or fundraising campaigns. The initial creation usually has a very personal story behind it. When you share something intimate, it’s relevant to others. In this step, your brand will develop around your story. Ask yourself these questions: why you are creating your business or products? What is the personal connection that you have to its development and growth?
3. Live, Eat, Pray Brand
Do you remember taking school field trips? The first words out of a teacher’s mouth as you sit your rambunctious butt on the bus are “remember kids, you are a reflection of us and representing the school!" This goes for your brand as well. If you know who you are and understand your personal story, now it’s time to represent it!
Whether you are out at an event, networking, or about to turn on the mic, every moment of every day demonstrates if you, as a person and product or service, are in alignment with your brand. You are the common denominator regarding the growth and success of your brand.
Now go out there and BE Your Brand!