Branding, marketing and sales… oh, my! Many entrepreneurs (including myself when I was learning about business) overlook the importance of these aspects of entrepreneurship. Often, conscious entrepreneurs start a business to help others, make a difference and transform the world; with most of the energy going into creating a website, getting a business card designed and putting together product/service offerings.
These are essential steps. But, there are two additional important aspects of your business you’ve got to consider from the beginning (or beginning TODAY if you’ve been in business for a while). These are two more nuggets I’ve learned from my mentors that have made a big difference in my business success.
Insight #1: “Branding occurs in the minds of your prospects and clients.”
Wisdom From: Patty Azzarello, CEO of The Azzarello Group
When I first heard about branding, I thought it was about creating a logo design and a “look” for my website. Yes, I knew it involved getting clear on my brand statement and mission, but nobody ever told me it penetrated every single aspect of my business. I thought branding was something I did to create a particular experience for my clients. It is… but that’s only HALF of the story.
When I interviewed Patty Azzarello, (who ran a $1 billion software business by the age of 35) it was the first time I actually “got” what branding is. Branding is not something I “do” rather it’s a process that occurs in the mind of my prospects and customers. It’s a DECISION they make about me and my business based on their experience of my business. Patty’s insight completely shifted how I thought about branding, and over the past three years has made a huge impact on my business and my position in the marketplace.
Something To Think About: What decisions are your prospects and customers making about you and your business (based on their experience with your company)?
Insight #2: “You have a responsibility to market your business and share your gifts.”
Wisdom From: Michael Port, Author of Book Yourself Solid
Similar to my experience with branding, I had a very limited understanding of marketing (and sales) when I first started in business. I was turned off to the concept of marketing/selling when the radio station I used to work for in 1989 sent me to a sales training at which I witnessed a “mock” sale that shocked the living daylights out of me. The sales trainer had basically coerced, convinced and strongly persuaded the mock customer to purchase something they honestly didn’t need. Everyone clapped at his sales ability, whereas I wanted to run out of the room. This had been my introduction to marketing/sales.
Thanks to my interview with Michael Port, I finally grasped a true (and aligned) understanding of marketing and sales as something I had a responsibility to offer as a SERVICE to my prospects and clients. Whew… what a relief that was?! I no longer needed to convince or coerce anyone to do anything. Michael helped me see that all I must do was joyfully, confidently and consistently share my offering as a gift of service to those people I believed I could help. That’s the bottom-line of marketing and sales… plain and simple. And, once you embrace this nugget of wisdom, you’ll find it much easier to fall in love with marketing your business… and you’ll have a lot more FUN in the process!
Something To Think About: What would be different for you and your business if you embraced marketing (and sales) as a GIFT to your prospects?
© 2009 Christine Kloser
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