Get Real! Brand Authenticity and You.

Today’s marketplace is a great place for brands and their advocates to exist. Traditionally, prior to the web, all a brand could do was to make their consumers “aware” of their brand was using advertising channels such as bill boards, transit, radio, TV and public relations. Once a consumer got wind of the brand that interested them, they would have to physically visit the bricks and mortar location for more information. Or they could look in their mail boxes for flyers, or their daily newspapers for inserts and printed ads etc. The entire buying cycle was initiated by the brand and reacted to by the buyer. Very straight forward and not very deep.

In today’s marketplace the consumer has a limitless access to the brand’s environment. Brand’s can more easily form strong relationships with their customers. Some would say today’s digital environment makes loyalty tougher. I believe it to be easier, so long as you’re willing to engage customers with a genuine brand experience. If the brand chooses to try and manipulate the experience based on an unrealistic expectation, they will more likely be viewed as not being authentic. That authenticity is a hallmark of proper branding.

But if your brand strives to provide an authentic persona, it’s a great platform to engage customers. You’re able to feed them your expertise on many levels. This acceptance allows you the potential to charge more for your services. If you’re a services based brand this open environment allows you to properly exhibit your expertise and this draws customers to you. Your are perceived as the expert your brand touts you to be.

The bottom line is to embrace the opportunities the digital world is serving up. You make think that there’s no space for you to play or that it’s over your head. Toss those barriers aside and embrace the web. You will be shocked with the results of your efforts over time.

5 Tips To Keep Life & Business Goals From Colliding

Apart from financial gain, the desire to have more time for themselves and/or family is among the top reasons many give for starting their own business. Yet, those of us who have ventured out know – family time is the first to get sacrificed. We want to fulfill a lifelong goal, but we don’t get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We want to make our family happy. Instead, they think our business is a poisonous fruit. Ironic isn’t it?

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Will you finally have time to live your life this year? The answer is (and should be) Yes! Like everything else, it takes some work but your family is worth it. Here are five strategies you can put into action without sacrificing either your business or life goals.

Get Help

Releasing control of your work, and spending your hard earned money to hire someone is a challenging. It’s very hard to see, particularly in the beginning, how spending can result in more returns and profits. After all, it’s been drilled into us since we were kids. Save your money. As a kid, I remember saving quite a bit of money, then my mom would take me to the bank to deposit it into my own account, and that’s it. I’m not discouraging saving money. It’s a good habit, but at the end of the day, I still left home with $0 in the account. It’s a long story, but if only I’d been taught to invest that money into something that will bring in more money, I’d have started life off on a better foot.

If your business is not in a position to hire yet, it’s OK. Keep working at it. Do save your profits, but as soon as you are able to afford assistance without sacrificing too much profits, then it is time to invest. In help, in people. Extra help frees you up for bigger tasks and you’ll also be able to knock off of work early.

Realize It Takes Time

You’ve heard of the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day. Few things are. Even a seed takes time to germinate and grow into a plant. It takes even more time for that plant to grow into a strong, formidable tree. There will always be something you have to do. Even if you completed everything on your list today, tomorrow, you’ll find new things that need attention. Create work hours. You may find yourself getting more productive when you only have a few limited hours to get down to business.

Communicate Each Others’ Plans

Your family knows that what you do is important to you and for their sake. If you have a project that is of particular importance e.g. Winning a high profile client, let them know that you will be working more for a while. Be sure to schedule in extra time for them after.

Similarly, ask them to keep you informed ahead of time as much as possible of the events going on in your life that they want you to be present. If there are conflicts – it’s up to you to decide which is more important. Sometimes, a big contract negotiation with a client does take precedence over being taxi driver for music class. However, if it is a concert your child has been working hard for, it would probably be worth a shot to re-schedule the meeting time with your client.

Schedule Everything

While everyone’s schedule is different, it makes a lot of sense to keep weekends off-limits to work, or at least to client work and demands. This is especially true when you have school age children. Most schools have their year planned out way ahead of time. Grab the school calendar and plan out your holidays and long weekends to coincide with theirs. Block them off early in the year so you’re not scrambling to find time later.

Treat family activities like an appointment to be kept. Put them on your calendar. In your task list. Schedule it or you’ll forget it.

Make It A Point To Enjoy Life

If you’re unhappy, you’re not going to be happy at work or at home no matter how hard you try. If your business is no longer a source of joy for you. It’s time for some serious re-thinking. If the situation at home is driving you to stay longer at work, then that needs taking care of too. Sometimes the decisions are painful, but life is too short to stay unhappy and you only have one chance. Be intentional about making changes that lead to fulfillment and success.

Now’s the Time to Step-up your Game – AGAIN!

2015 is the year that you’re going to do things a little differently. The time is right to step up your game. Without gazing at the past too much, recognize that that was how you used to conduct business. That’s when all you’re best strategies delivered on making your brand better, more memorable amidst your stakeholders. Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back.

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Why Are You Afraid Of Me?

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I’m seeing more and more of this -especially on tech sites. On the contact us page all they offer you is a form so that they can qualify you. What I don’t see is anything about where they are located, what they’re phone number is etc. For me, I want to know where you’re from. […]

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5 Best Resources To Learn A New Language

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Perhaps you are looking into setting up offices in a different country – or hope to. Or, maybe you’re hoping to connect better with staff or customers from a particular region. Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/Mishchenko Whatever your reasons may be, learning a different language has many benefits for entrepreneurs. Besides business benefits, bilingualism is also […]

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Boost Lead Generation With Testimonials

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When I first started online, one of the things that was taught to me was to put testimonials on dedicated opt-in pages. The whole idea is to treat these pages like a page where you sell an actual product. It’s quite interesting to see that even after all this time, this little case study shows that testimonials still […]

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Does Online Advertising Really Work For Brands?

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We all have this nagging feeling in the back of our heads. Is what we’re doing working? How would we know? It’s a fair question. As a (very) small business with two partners, no employees and several freelancers, the question whether digital advertising works is a resounding yes. In fact, I can’t imagine advertising anyway […]

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