The Convenient Entrepreneur

Branding[Entrepreneur] according to Webster’s dictionary one who undertakes a business venture, taking both control and risk.

I would add to that – a commitment to one’s vision or dream. When you decide to put up that shingle, you’re making a promise to yourself and your customer to work in the best interest of both. In this world economy of ours many people found themselves out on the street for the first time in their careers through no fault of their own. Streamlining, down-sizing – whatever the cause has had a lot of people “re-inventing themselves.” You may have noticed a plethora of coaches, consultants, gurus, agents of change and what ever moniker these discarded individuals hoist upon their shoulders. Don’t get me wrong – there are a great many who are the genuine article and come with their guidance, a rich portfolio of wisdom. BUT, there there are many who lay claim to being something they’re not.

In your community, you see them everywhere. Individuals who love the idea of “entrepreneur” but lack the gumption and commitment to walk the walk. When they worked as an employee they may have envied the entrepreneur and even envied their “freedom” or perceived freedom. They answer to themselves (or so they thought). A true entrepreneur is the hardest working person in the room. They recognize that it’s not about who’s the boss. Their motivation is not simply the money but the satisfaction. They weather the risk and some even thrive in its uncertainty. An entrepreneur is a unique individual.

You see the cracks in psuedo-entrepreneurs very easily. They are the ones are looking for the short-term solutions. They are the ones who book meetings at their convenience. These are the people go into business and wait for the customer to somehow grace their door steps. They are the individuals who quit at 5:00pm, using (balance) as an excuse. The worst offence is these are the people who profess to love their business but secretly yearn that someone will come forth and offer them a full-time job with benefits. This is a dangerous individual. Companies that hire their ‘expertise’ are thrown to the curb at the first job offer. Instead of looking for opportunities to grow their businesses they try to play all the angles to minimize risk. The best way to minimize risk in business is to work harder and focus on your core competency. If that competency is being a great employee then focus on that and be the best employee there is. Businesses need great employees. They don’t need opportunists. They’re hard to rely on. Employees should do what they do best and that’s work for the visionaries. Be a great follower.

If you are the leader and are having a hard time with it – get out there more. Network – meet people who are making it happen . Talk to them, read about them. See what makes them get up in the morning. Try new things, put yourself in situations out of your comfort zones. Align yourself with individuals that you admire. Avoid negative people who will bring you down. Consciously try and stay positive and provide positive vibes to those around you. Start a mastermind group of brilliant business people who love the concept of sharing.

As Webster’s states – ‘…take control and risk.’ Stay true to yourself and you’ll end up where you ought to be. Pretending causing confusion and opportunities that should be yours avoid you until you are clear in your intentions.

5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

A confusing state that pre-occupies the mind of small business owners is whether to direct or not to direct their digital marketing strategy. As in most cases executives delegate it to the IT and marketing teams, but they do not like their way of handling.

5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

So, should we direct or should we delegate?

When you delegate every aspect of digital marketing to IT and marketing firms, then you have to depend on their vision. And that makes your business dependable on the data provided by the IT firms.

Beginning of every week, IT teams forward you a spreadsheet showing your progress. Quite neat and clean. However, talking of digital marketing, it is more like a distribution channel. Would you like people dictating what numbers you should be giving more attention and which you should not?

You are comfortable as you get the number in hands with no hassles since you have appointed someone to look after them. However, that does not reduce your responsibility to look after the digital impacts. It is a fundamental aspect of your business. It focuses on your growth.

  So what aspects you must look after?

  What are the metrics that you should concentrate to drive out more revenue?

So What Are The 5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

Ask your team to mention the signals that you need to watch. Challenge them to report referring to the five metrics mentioned here, then take up the lead to create the strategy behind your growth.

#1 Paying Attention to the Unique Users

There is a huge potential or a threat of distraction when you look at the Google Analytics. On a dashboard, you might find 80 reports, but many of them may not have a real impact on the marketing strategy of your business. Then, whom should you watch? For example, some visitors might start following your from Costa Rica using Firefox Browser, don’t ignore them. The number of unique visitors paying attention to your business is a clear indication that your business is expanding.

#2 Lead Conversion Rates

This is a metric that you must ask your IT or marketing department to report every Monday. The global standard of lead conversion is between 2% and 4%. If less than 2% of the users are visiting your websites or taking some action (subscribing to newsletters, email, or turning into leads), then there is a problem in content strategy. Look at the conversion rates, create unique contents to make the percent shoot 4% and higher.

#3 Size of Your Email List

Have you watched the overall size of your email list? If you see a decline in the list size, you will find a disconnection between the value proposition and the delivery of that value. Will you like a reduced email list affect your business?

#4 Conversion Rates Must Generate Revenue

Measure the conversion rate of the subscribers to revenue. It does not just apply to companies that have shopping carts, but rather it is important to follow the lead throughout the life cycle. You have to establish the client’s value generated digitally. As the date of the lead generation and date of purchase order stays mentioned this metric helps to evaluate with ease. Keep a watch on the average conversion value of every customer.

#5 Site Traffic and Revenue Generated with Keywords

Find out which content is reaping huge amount of visitor look up to the site traffic and the revenue produced by each keyword. Get rid of the content that does not perform well and dig deeper to the content that drives sales. If your IT and marketing team works up on these metrics, then you are at the helm of your digital strategy, you will effectively manage the business growth. Even you do not need to create the Facebook updates or learn codes. Start leading your team to establish a strong digital marketing strategy and generate strong revenue. Unplug these metrics to make your digital strategy outperform!

If you use digital marketing strategies for your brand, then agility, learning and modification are some of the key ingredients that ensure success. If you have not stressed on these three issues then we suggest putting it on the table during next budget discussions or convey it to your IT team to lay stress on them.

Making profitable sales through digital platform is the hottest trend in the market. To set buzzword for your brand give shot to these metrics and make your digital channels outperform.

What A Janitor’s Revenge Teaches You About Human Behavior

I saw this floating around on Facebook and of course being curious clicked to watch for some laughs.

What I go though was more than just laughs. Over and over again I see what people ahead of us and our business coaches keep saying.


Tell people what to do.

It sounds a little demeaning but I can’t help thinking how all those in this video but one decided to skip the crazy trail. Now, I know that it is tough and not a great idea to walk in thick snow if you aren’t wearing the right footwear. That probably contributes to the majority of people in the video choosing to walk that trail anyhow.

Not a scientific experiment but it does show. People tend to simply follow.

Who Do You Think You Are?

confusedAs we head into the new year, do you have a clear understanding of your own personal brand? Are you aware of what the perception on the street is of you? Does your personal brand reflect consistently with your business brand? All good questions if you’re looking to go into the new year on a high note. Look around your circle of influence. Like myself I’m sure you’re witness to individuals who don’t have the slightest idea who they are. They call themselves specialists who list a flurry of services they try to deliver on – but excel in very little. I’ve been asked to coach a number of individuals to develop a brand for them. But, I can’t help them if they don’t know who they are. As I tell them, “it’s not up to me to tell you what you should be. I can help if you know who you are but are floundering in how to present yourself in a way that resonates with your target audience.

The problem stems from a lack of confidence. They suspect (but haven’t committed to the concept) that they are experts. They lack the confidence to express it in a tangible way. They question what the perception might be. Will their audience ridicule them for what they think is a lack of excellence. They throw up barriers to move forward. Having a lack of confidence is a scary place to be. Not only does it hinder who your are but also aids in failing to charge a fair dollar for your deliverables.

Lack of confidence is a psychological barrier, but one, that if you can breach, will deliver immense rewards. Those of us with confidence find it hard to understand why someone would be so hard on themselves, when the rewards are so encouraging. When I work with people and companies, I’m using the strategy that they focus on the money-maker. Most have a tendency to want to list everything they do, to show their scope of services. Lists are dangerous in that customers believe that since you’re listing services, if you fail to list something then you don’t do it. Ouch! My take is by focusing on your strongest service to get the door open, once in you have the opportunity to sell what else you do. It’s easier to build confidence if you focus on your strong point. Every time this happens, clients clearly have more fun and are excited by their brands (personal and business) again.

Understanding who you are can only make your brands more powerful, resonating in a big way. Not everyone is cut out for this bold a strategy and wish to remain with what keeps them safe and risk-free. Where has a safe harbour ever gotten anyone? Leaders are folks who embrace excitement and a challenge. Identifying who you are and acting on that in a direct way, changes the script you’re currently playing to. That in itself will generate enough confidence to hurdle the challenges you face.

So moving into a brand new year – who are you?

When Should A Company Re-Brand?!

photoThere are many good reasons why a company might want to re-brand. Entrepreneurs by their nature see the benefits in upping their game. Constantly raising the bar within their category keeps the competition on edge. They spend more time keeping up or as I like to say, “Following, not leading.”

A common mistake you’ll see all around you is companies who think re-branding is changing their logos and marketing materials. Without a doubt this may indeed happen with are-branding, BUT it is by no means the definition of re-branding. You would want to re-brand if you are looking for positive change and growth for your company and you want to do it from a leadership position. A lot of companies look to branding when sales have fallen flat or growth has hit a wall. They are not happy with the status-quo and they have a keen desire to be stronger and to have a brand that resonates this with their current and potential customers. Sometimes the culture of a company has become tired and there’s a sense of spinning their wheels. Every brand stretches and contracts over time. Perceptions of the brand miss the mark simply because there were no strategies in place to define the brand.

You re-brand because you see an opportunity to take your company to a higher level. You have the confidence and desire to determine where your brand sits today, analyze it and determine where your leadership exists and build on that. Essentially you know what you’d like your brand to stand for – this is your chance to freshen up and build towards that end. I use a pretty extensive process called, “Brand Navigator” to get this done. There is also plenty of information out there to at least get a fix on the direction you should take. I’ve had many cases where a logo change wasn’t needed and this was because the logo was highly recognized and that kind of cache is hard to recover.

Wrong headed thinking believes changing the logo is going to solve the problem and fool the customers into thinking the problems have corrected themselves. This is lipstick on a pig. If you hate the taste of Pepsi – is changing the logo going to make you enjoy it more? Of course not. Same goes for branding.

Be sure that you get your brand right and not build on false hopes at the risk of alienating customers. What ever brand you have it’s a must that you be authentic.

Developing A World-Class Brand

toolboxIf you have a world-class brand, are you showing world-class quality at every turn? Is your brand involved in on-going training? It’s not just about customer service and brand awareness. It’s not that everyone knows your brand, it’s what their perception of your brand is. Here are 3 areas where a brand might drop the ball to save a few bucks?

Organizational communications is sadly lacking in a good many companies. With most of the companies I’ve had the pleasure to assist in their branding, communication is a major hurdle. This one area would catapult your brand if you found an efficient honest way to keep employees in the loop. Encouraging active participation in the brand would reap benefits in the areas of productivity and employee satisfaction.

How many brands that see themselves as world-class have little to no marketing plans? If a brand has no plans in place to draw new business to their doors, these are usually the kind of operation, that only reacts when times are slow. They don’t have an ongoing strategy. I understand why their rational seems sound, but the truth is marketing is part of a long-term strategy, no instant relief. Your customers are no different than yourself. How often do you react to a promotion immediately on viewing something? Most of us react when the need arises and we seek out brands that we perceive as the leaders. This leadership perception is not the result of hit and miss marketing but an on-going strategy.

Taking your brand seriously is not just putting your best foot forward in one area, but doing it better in EVERY area. When you cheap out, initially if seems the rational thing to do, but when the chips are down it’s too late to change perceptions. Home-made marketing materials are a good case in point. ‘Amateur’ doesn’t sound like a brand anyone would want.

How Graphic Designers Are Missing The Boat On Branding!

$caredGraphic design firms have for years neglected a key space that can bring them a significant new stream of revenue. Most of this missed opportunity is due not understanding the opportunity of branding. For far too long, graphic designers have called developing logos “branding.” Re-branding is being marketed as simply changing the logo of a company. This mis-information is then picked up by the media and the mis-conception breeds on itself. I cringe every time I see in the media that a company is re-branding, and on investigation, see that they are simply changing the logo.

You have to ask yourself, “why are clients seeing a need to re-brand?” and what-ever the reason, why did they feel that a logo change would solve their problem? My guess is that this concept was sold to them by graphic design and advertising firms. After all, that is usually all they understand that branding entails. If the reason to re-brand was a flattening of sales activity, the company wanting to raise the bar and reach to higher levels of business or even to strengthen a brand for a potential sale – how is a pretty new logo going to address those and many other serious reasons to re-brand (properly)?

To graphic design firms: If you’re not getting twenty to fifty-thousand dollars for branding projects BEFORE you even start designing, then YOU’RE NOT BRANDING! In many cases there’s no design included in a re-branding. Many of you are doing aspects of branding for free. Many graphic designers see themselves as artists when they should be seeing themselves as problem solvers. You’d be wise to get a handle on how to sell branding properly. What is really exciting is that branding, when done properly becomes a catalyst for additional graphic design. It may surprise graphic designers, but many brand process elements are not even graphic design functions. It is not a visual solution, but a strategic solution.

Logo re-branding isn’t the graphic designer’s fault entirely. It’s just that they have been sold a bill of goods by peers who see low hanging fruit and don’t have the tools and capability to do branding properly. Keeping the myth alive benefits them. Designers gladly grab the immediate opportunity, not realizing the real money eludes them. Designers should do themselves a favour and investigate embracing a branding process that allows them to not only position their practices as branding leaders but also allows them to change the conversation within their markets. Lift the veil on branding and watch your clients take you more seriously and in an entirely different light.

Sadly, re-branding by logo will in many cases have your clients revisiting issues in the short term. Why, because it won’t (and can’t) solve the problem that brought it about. There’s only so much a visual can do to change perceptions. It’s what we call putting lipstick on a pig – at the end of the day it’s still a pig!

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