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"Let us make our future now and let us make today's dreams tomorrow's reality"
In the spirit of New Year's traditions, let's talk about resolutions...but not in the usual sense.
Merriam-Webster offers a simple definition of resolution as being "the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc..." (Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2015). What is the conflict or problem being referenced? I think it's the lack of follow-through some small business owners experience at different stages in their development. So, how does a business owner overcome this lack of follow-through?
Let's start by focusing on the reason opened your business in the beginning. While the list of reasons can be quite expansive, five common reasons include Pursuing a Personal Passion, Finding a Healthier Work/Life Balance, Building Something from the Ground up, Making More Money, and Offering a Desired Service. Whether the reason comes from this list, or is found elsewhere, the connecting point is that no matter the reason it's always personal to the business owner.
Being a small business owner means that every detail and task is mostly likely being monitored by you. This can be stressful and overwhelming, at times; and this stress can distract business owners from the mission of their companies which results in either forgetting about planned objectives, or even losing interest in completing them at all. A common phrase heard from business owners (and I'm sure most of us are guilty of saying it), "I just don't have the time".
I want to challenge anyone who reads this to never again make that statement! How can you do this? It's simple: Change the Wording.
Instead of saying, "I don't have the time" change the wording to "It's not a priority", and see how daily tasks take on a different light. Once you've mastered this challenge, you will be able to more clearly define what needs to be accomplished from day to day, and your time management skills will begin to emerge.
Here's an example:
You don't need to have the dream of becoming an international business owner in order to be successful. In fact, I've seen a number of businesses succeed with only opening one location. What made them successful? They stayed committed to their founding principles. These companies are dedicated to providing a quality product/service, and offering a personal connection to each of their clients. The owners of these businesses are firm in their understanding of why they are in operation, and they have remained flexible to the needs and demands of their market.
Remember why you started your company, and what motivated you to take that first step. It wasn't easy, but you did it. Not many people can say that! You've taken an unspoken oath to do what is necessary for your company to be a success...don't you think your business is worth taking the time and committing to making it a priority?
Now that the New Year is underway, it's time for us to take a look at what we are doing to improve ourselves and our lives. The same effort and energy we put into self-improvement should be offered to our businesses, our employees, and our clients. In the end, it's up to us how we choose to be the resolution our companies need.
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"Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful." - Sir Richard Branson, CEO Virgin Group
Your brand is what will lead your company to success. Without a proper strategy in place, your market will not be able to connect with you and your service. This means you could be overlooked, or even completely forgotten.
So, how can your company maintain and update its brand in order to keep the interest of your clients? These 4 steps will help to keep your brand unique and interesting to your markets demands and desires, while setting your company apart from your competition.
1) Tell Your Story
2) Be Memorable
3) Be Consistent
4) Stay Flexible
Branding is the perceived image you put in place for yourself and your business. This image to be a representation of what your guests and market can expect of you. With a strong brand that tells your story, is memorable and consistent, and remains flexible to market fluctuations, your small business will continue to be a competitor in your industry.