WHAT IS AN INTEGRATED BRAND PARTNERSHIP?

‘How can our company increases our revenue?’ is a question that often raises its head. Making money, also known as creating revenue, is after all what businesses are all about. The answer maybe simple, as in sell more, however that is often far more difficult than said. Particularly in today’s world that is saturated with businesses left, right and centre.

Solutions to overcome the difficulty in reaching that yearly target is order of the day. In other words, how can a Brand withstand pressure yet flourish and end up with a better ROI (return on investment) than 12 months ago? 

WHAT CAN BE DONE

Within the worlds of Brands and Brand Identities there lies an answer.  One word comes to mind: collaboration. One question though is, what does that mean? 

Fact of the matter is that trading on various platforms is becoming more and more popular and effective in today’s world. Therefore it is imperative to be visible and active on- and offline. This mean any platform where services and/or products are presented, explained and offered to customers.  It will be rather unintelligent not to make use of this opportunity to get more bang for your buck

To be more specific, the solution is Integrated Brand Partnerships. In short: When Brands Join Forces. 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Reading an article on the Econsultancy website made me put my thinking cap on and put thoughts to paper. The writer James Cristal explores 5 examples of where significant brands collaborated in order to not only increases customer retention, but also to increases revenue. 

Having a renown Brand is one thing, but having the insight to incorporate another renown Brand with your own is a great idea. Not only is a company going to maintain their popularity they are also going to enhance sales and create a magnificent user experience for their customers. And that, ultimately, is what differentiate a good company from a great company. 

WHEN DOES IT WORK BEST

Now that it has become more clear as to what such a Partnership is about, the challenge is to figure out a way of making it happen. It isn’t a matter of putting any 2 together either. There is no point in joining 2 Brands where one is like oil and the other like water - we all know that doesn’t mix! 

Coming from a Brand Partnership environment, I have on many occasions been presented with the task of blending 2 Brands that compliment each other and work well together. The difficulty isn’t in finding the two components, but it can be very tricky to find the right solution for the process to work. At the end of the day the relationship has to work very well so that both parties benefit. 

Therefore the major part in a Partnership campaign is finding the right creative solution. Working closely with both sides the main point is to find the reason for such an integration. Mostly it will be around exposure and presentation to customers hence finding a visual element that does the trick. After all, the task at hand is to grab the customer’s attention and supply an opportunity for them to participate and experience a great service. 

Let’s explore 3 different platforms and their different methods:

  • Broadcasting - Television Programme

    • placing the sponsorship element right up against the start and end of a programme part, but not within the commercial break 

  • Online - Website

    • placing the sponsorship application at a point within the site where it is most likely the customers would want to add to their booking/purchase

  • Print - Magazine

    • placing the sponsorship creative within the written article to draw attention to a reader with advice on how to proceed to obtain the additional product/service/information

In short, catch the attention of your customer at their most vulnerable moment. 

CONCLUSION 

At the end of the day, the purpose of any Partnership is to add further value to the customer’s journey. The best way to facilitate this feature is to offer a way for your customer to be exposed to another partner’s facilities, but without running the risk of customers leaving or forgetting about you as the host. Ultimately, offering them another service, but all within one place - Your Environment.

We have to remember that even though the aim is to provide equal traction for both sides, there will always be a primary and secondary entity taking part in any campaign. It is understandable that one platform will provide the main attraction where the second player will obviously be happy to participate because of the strong, possible winning end result. 

It is not a situation of one being better or more efficient than the other, but rather that of both realising that together they can reach a much higher level of success. For the best results it is imperative that these campaigns are executed seamless so that the customer are almost unaware of it happening. If this can be achieved, then you walk away with a win-win moment. It will also mean that there is a big chance the two players will partner again. Once it has become apparent that a collaboration works well, many occasions will be created to do it again.

Having quite a few successes under my belt within this field, I can say that it brings a great amount of satisfaction to all involved in a successful campaign. The exposure for clients’ products/services has been, is and will always be a plus factor. Many sales teams will be patted on the shoulders for instigating such a great win. Creative gurus will receive kudos for an excellent format and those who host the campaign will realise how important it is to work with others. Revenue of course plays a massive part, however the relationships built will persevere for time to come. 

Taking on the role of the one-stop-shop between all of the different parties that partake in such an exercise, causes me great pleasure. It is amazing to be able to coordinate various departments and bring a campaign together. Without my extensive knowledge I built up during many years, I reckon none of this will be possible. Needles to say, I thrive within the world of Brand Partnerships. Apart from anything else, it places me in a situation where I can upheld both Brands and their key messages. May it long, long lasts.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

… and You can put any mountain behind You. 

Sounds fairly simple, right? However, when it comes to getting the ball rolling for the year ahead, the desire may come easily until you realise the fact of the matter is, it isn’t always that easy at all.

Looking (at least) 12 months ahead at your work and life can and is quite scary. Even daunting for most people. So much so that the Goal Setting exercise is limited to only thinking about a few things that could be done in the months to come. 

The secret to fulfilling those ideas is not rocket science. The truth is that all one has to do is put write down those thoughts on paper or type it into a document. According to the Dominican University of California, close to 75% of people writing down/typing Goals had a much higher success rate of achieving them - in contrast to those thinking and/or keeping their goals only tucked up in your heads.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Where are You & Your business heading? Here is some guidance from Bob Proctor: “A proper goal provides the necessary incentive to grow in awareness - and every aspect of your life is a reflection of your level of awareness”.

What strikes me within these wise words are: Goal, Grow and Awareness. 3 very powerful points to take note of to make progress.

Personally, a lot has been picked up from working in a corporate environment for many years. One that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb is Goal Setting. It was great to be introduced to it years ago. Something that now comes natural and are done religiously at the start of every new year. In January thoughts are arranged into at least 3 Development sections: Entrepreneurship, Business and Personal. Setting out a strategy for each part of life as a professional working individual is order of every new year. 

THE SET UP EXERCISE 

To sit down and calmly spend time making decisions for the next 12 months is one of the most satisfying exercises one can do. It puts the future into perspective and creates a track that encourage the mindset to move systematically forward. 

A golden rule to follow is that of creating SMART Goals. Setting massive, almost out-of-bound Goals are, from a personal point of view, not that productive. It is good to be ambitious, however being realistic is a much better route to follow. 

Over-the-top Goals can easily lead to disappointment and discouragement. One can feel like a failure and that easily leads to negativity in thought and mind - something that should be avoided at all costs since being positive is a much easier way to live life and being successful. So, be SMART about your Goals. 

No need to agree on a huge list of goals either. The list can rather be short and sweet than long, tedious and impossible. Aim for around 3 to 5 per section.

THE CREATING PROCESS

Here we are talking literal as in creating the document which will lay out each Goal that will encourage you over the next 12 months to move forward and make progress - in both business and personal growth. 

Keep it plain and simple. A 3-pager landscape-layout with 4 columns each should do the trick. Give each page a heading that clearly describes what your plans are. Then head up each column too. The following column headers makes a lot of sense: Goal, Actions, Timescale and Result. 

Take each page at a time. Write a Goal and follow on to the 2nd column and then the 3rd. The 4th will be visited throughout the year and completed by the end of your 12 month cycle. Do this for each page you created and very soon you will look at a great lot of words that stare you in the face. It is so much easier to visualise what needs to be done and by when once you see it with your own eyes. People do tend to say why should I create a document? It’s all in my head in any case - trust me, seeing it in black on white cement it in your head and give your mindset a real good boost. 

To finish off this very important document it is imperative to Brand it. Add your logo. Use your company colours. Definitely use your company font. Make it your own. It is YOUR Goals for YOUR Company. Once again, each time you visit this document it will give you a sense of ownership. After all, it belongs to you! 

THE RE-VISIT   

There are people who (unfortunately) think that once they created their Goals it can stay in a folder somewhere on their computer. Their attitude of I am going to look at it only in 12 months from now is defeating the purpose. A regular visit to this document will not only refresh your memory it will also make it clear where you are with those goals as the year go by.

A healthy suggestion is to add at least 4 reminder dates to your calendar. Every 3 months is good timing. This will give you enough time to get on with business in general and easily let you cast your mind back to what you have achieved and where you are in making progress. Here is where column 4 gets the action. Note down the date your visit takes place and next to it whether you have already accomplished, slightly progressed or still have to work on the particular Goal. 

Quarterly visits will also help a lot at the end of your 12 month cycle to see the full picture with no need to open your diary searching for accomplishments or wreck your mind when you actually demolished a goal. 

THE FINAL FRONTIER 

Time flies by so quickly and before you know it a year would’ve past. The moment of truth will be facing you. The last Goal visit of the year will be upon you and you will need to be honest about what you wrote months ago. 

The possibility exists that certain sections of your Goal Setting document will still not be completed. Don’t stress about this. Circumstances change all the time. There could be a very good reason (lets hope so) for a Goal to be still outstanding. If it is still relevant to your development don’t feel ashamed to add it to the next bunch for the year to come. 

CONCLUSION

Every year your Goals’ intensity will increase. Your aim will be higher than before. You will most likely put a bigger demand on yourself and your business. Don’t let it deter you. As mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious. Nothing prohibits you from setting the bar a notch higher than last year (actually, it is a very healthy approach). The important thing is to continue to set Goals. Continue to visit them regularly and be strict about them. At the end of the day it’s up to you, but having these milestones set out loud and clear will help you with you strategy towards success.

To be brutally honest with you, Now Is The Time to get going and set out milestones for the next months ahead. Good luck with your Goals! It will be worth it every time - I promise you that! 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

It’s upon us. Yes, we’re about to wave ta-ta to 2018. 

As we sleigh (!) towards the end of another year, some very important action should be imposed on oneself. This is the time to take stock of our development during the past 12 months. It is also the time to be brutally honest with oneself when assessing the dos and don’ts of the past year. Well, I’m happy to share with you how I did…

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

Setting goals for the immediate 12 months to come is an exercise I categorically do ever year. It actually is a very exciting activity that happens within the first week of the new year. The start of 2018 was no exception. Now with the end in sight it is time to evaluate those milestones.

The overall conclusion is that the goals set out were realistic and probable. In hindsight, to be honest, the odd one was a bit too conservative. Then again, it cancels out the one here and there that was over ambitious. All in all, the general consensus is that my 12-month vision was pragmatic and reasonable

All in all, many more similar goals with a few spanners thrown for next year. 

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

Even though ones goals can easily be realistic, the next step in the process is crucial. This is the next move within your path of reaching a goal.  Manoeuvring forward is, can be and most certainly will be, difficult. 

First, and foremost, the question jumping out is… were the limits pushed out all the way? Did you really put shoulder against the wheel and dig your heels in deep? As with every step of reconsolidating your goals, one has to be brutally honest with oneself.

Personally and to the point, the answer is: Yes, but Could’ve Been Better. The pushing was mostly intense, the dedication was there, but there were moments when dealings with goals were way too conservative. Even though I am in general a very positive person, motivation seemed to drift away from time to time. The desire to get back on track needed an efficient amount of energy to get ones’ mojo back. That time spent could’ve been put much more towards chasing and following up on possibilities. 

Lesson learned that focus on time management should be taken far more seriously in the new year. 

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

Step 3 within goal setting is the actual physical part of it all. This is where the action really takes place. Milestones is what it is all about. When you pen your vision for the months to come it is very important to add dates of when a goal should be completed. Yes, it’s tough, but without it a goal is only a dream without a plan. 

Luckily, most important goals were hit at the right time due to my action steps being thoroughly in place. One such a step was to sign up a client from the USA which materialised within the timeframe set out.  Hitting the right target moment is incredible. It causes much happiness and drives ones desire to go forth and be more productive. 

I also believe in the saying… trust the timing of your life. This quote is not to be dismissed as being lazy or show a lacklustre attitude.  Some goals did seem to become out of reach throughout the months. However, just as I thought I may not complete those, they were achieved - albeit at a much later stage as originally set out. Best is they came together fairly out of the blue.  So remember… Magic happens when you do not give up, even if you want to. The Universe always falls in love with a Stubborn Heart. 

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

The last section of your yearly, very important exercise, should be the most exciting part. To get to that level of euphoria you need to have been committed to having a fierce mindset. Your mindset must be driven by your desires at the start of penning your goals. Focus is a crucial part of not only getting things done, but being in command of your thought process. 

My outcomes at this stage of the year are both acceptable and surprising. I am happy that the element of surprise raised its head. It often does, so one must not ignore the possibility of the odd thing coming along without any warning. 

The additional (surprising) achievement came in the way of a request to appear as a guest on a well known podcast. This was most certainly not on the cards - and, honestly, I didn’t even thought of it at the start of the year. However, luckily the forces to be dealt me this amazing card. Best of all is that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and successfully stepped into a brand new world. The reactions of people via social media and in person were fantastic. It didn’t end there though… I am already booked (for mid January 2019) to record another appearance on a different show.

The end result of some goals that was less satisfactory is not the end of the world. I don’t consider I failed my goals because I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to or didn’t do as many courses as I thought I could. The same is to be said for attending local networking events and adding another tattoo to my collection. Saying that, I did however attend courses, webinars and online discussions efficiently. My travel was sufficient and I have met and connected with a few most incredible people that is now firmly part of my community. For not getting the tattoo… well, the closure of my favourite tattoo parlour in Minorca was totally out of my hands. 

A golden rule is to be Prepared for the moment Opportunity knocks. 

CONCLUSION

Drawing a line under one set of goals is great - and opens up the door to set another lot of possible achievements. Looking back and realising that the outlook for the year gone by was on par with ones’ desires is very motivating. And that is where you want to be at the end of a year. Let your motivation for doing even more and even better next year drive you forwards. Precisely what I will be doing within a few weeks. 

Now is also the right time to get the ball rolling for next year. Don’t wait until you hit January to get your ducks in a row for what your goals are going to be. Start your thought process before you hit the Christmas Season (that way you can enjoy the festivities with family, loved ones and friends guilt free). Bullet point your initial thoughts now. Make a start rather sooner than later. And that is exactly where I am now. 

I am taking the lessons I learned from 2018 and applying them to my outlook for 2019. Since I mentioned the issue with motivation, it is obvious that it will be seriously addressed. Time management is another part that I will look at and be far more bold about. One other aspect that I will need to work on is that of being far, far too hard on myself. A certain amount of toughness is desirable, but going over the top with demands on yourself is not good. 

To be realistic was again a good move this year, so more of that to come. Basically, if I could (for example) achieve building relationships as I did this past year, nothing is stopping me from forming even more ones next year. Adding great people to my list of acquaintances will be inspirational to say the least. I will also keep a much more open mind when it comes to surprises. 

I am looking very much forward to 2019. Kicking off a New Year with a Clean Sheet. My mind is already set to achieve a lot, even though I have no idea what the new year will bring. But that’s the beauty of it all. If we knew what was coming our way, life will be quite boring and easy. And who wants that? Most definitely not me and I’m sure You don’t want it either. 

Here’s wishing you an Incredible Festive Season! Have a Very Merry Christmas and take time out and spend it with all the wonderful people in your life. If your loved ones are unfortunately not near, don’t forget to call, text/SMS or even send a card. 

Most of all… Let’s hit 2019 with roller blades on! See you on the other side of December 31.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

BOOST YOUR BRANDING

The question is: does Your Branding have any magic? Or to put it differently… does Your Branding have the Unicorn touch?

However peculiar this comparison may sound to you there is a lot of sense within using the Unicorn metaphor within a branding connotation. It’s here where you most likely want me to start explaining, right? 

I was so fascinated by reading a post on the websiteRise Above the Noise by David Brier, that it inspired me to write this post. The man is seriously a genius when it comes to branding. If branding is part and parcel of your existence, then please do yourself a favour and check him out on his site

YOUR EXISTING BRANDING

Let’s set the scene. You personally and/or your company have been branded when you started out. Fact is you are at a point now where you’re not entirely happy with the current status of the branding. You have been tinkering with the idea to do something about it. Perhaps you’ve been made aware about a competitor’s recent re-brand or a Startup that is directly in competition with you that has a much better Brand Look&Feel than yours. 

To tie in with the Unicorn touch mentioned earlier, we can continue metaphorically speaking and suggest that your current branding is very much horse-like – meaning it’s strong, does the job, but lack a certain je ne sais quoi. So, if the thought entered your mind that it is not working that well, then it’s time to put some major sparkle into Your Branding. 

There are many ways to put some sparkle into everyday things in life. For instance, take a weather-bashed garden chair… give it a lick of paint and voilà! Therefore, if it is not that difficult to boost an object and give it some new life, then why not do the same with Your Branding.

A CHANGE IS A GOOD THING

There is that age-old saying a change is as good as a holiday which I’m sure you’ve heard before. Personally, and speaking from experience, I can guarantee you it is true. Applying that wisdom to your current branding is not that difficult. As a matter of fact, it is much easier than you think. You will though need the input from a professional to make the magic happens.

There is, however, a very good reason behind me saying this – and that is that once you’ve updated Your Brand it could easily propel itself to a much higher, influencer level. Your product and/or service will be able to attract much more customers' interest than currently. The outcome could mean the difference between being adequate and incredible. Your company ROI will most likely hit the roof and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, that can only be a great thing all around.

You proud yourself as a savvy business person. You believe you have the vision to move your company forward. Why stop when it comes to how your company is perceived by the big, wide world? 

ADD A SPECIAL TOUCH

This is where you should definitely take a look at David’s presentation and it will make complete sense to you. 

He showcases 14 Brands that he literally transformed into major successful entities. The transformations are amazing. Although I call him The Brand Master, I hope that he will agree it wasn’t rocket science as such what he applied – rather common sense and great thinking, or design, so to speak.

Turning your Horse into a White Creature (aka Unicorn) totally depends and comes down to the magic you inject into your current branding. But where to begin, I hear you ask. 

It starts with: 

  • your logo,

  • then your typography

  • next is your design

  • and finally, the execution (via the website and/or your packaging)

In other words, we’re talking the whole yarn. 

Not suggesting that you should copy your competitors, but I believe doing some in-depth research into what is out there in your niche of business is the order of the day. Take time to look closely at how your peers made changes. Study their thought process and do your best to figure out what they have done to excel ahead of you. Then get going and start the process to add some magic to Your Own Branding. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to stand out from the crowd, or as David says… Rise Above The Noise! 

CONCLUSION

Being a Brand Guardian is one of the aspects of my Entrepreneurial life. Reading and following remarkable people like David is truly inspirational. Whilst reading his astounding post, it made me realise one very important aspect: obviously, I am by no means even close to his level, but the fact that he is so good at what he’s doing doesn’t put me off and want to stop doing what I do. When you are confronted with such insane talent it is really easy to throw in the towel and walks away. Me? Most definitely not. 

I’ve been so intrigued by Mr Brier for some time now, that I have been following him on various social media platforms. He is so consistent with delivery content at a high level that instead of me getting deflated by it all, I find him to be a massive motivation for my journey. I do perceive him as a Virtual Mentor. One can only demand of oneself to aspire to such a high level in time to come. 

Keeping within the Unicorn-theme… only a few days ago, another Virtual Mentor of mine, Winnie Sun, put an incredible post on her Twitter feed. It totally made my head spin and within seconds I had a wonderful imagery in my mind… this is what she posted:

I believe we should all be so proud of our personal and/or business branding, that witnessing what others in our field are doing should spur us on to have even better branding tomorrow than what we’re having today. Do yourself and your team (if you have one) a favour and put some Sparkle Into Your Branding. Make it shimmer & shine and let the branding attracts customers like a moth to a flame. I personally believe we all can do with a bit of magic in our personal lives - the same belief goes for any Company. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading. 

SO HERE IT IS – DECEMBER AGAIN

Another Festive Season (for some not all) is upon us which means the End of Another Year. How does that make you feel? Are you happy with the progress you’ve made over the past 12 months? Or are you rather frustrated and disappointed with yourself?

REACHING THE FINISH LINE

When we kick off the race at the beginning of a year, we usually are full of beans and very excited. Our motivation is on high alert and many times we hardly lack any confidence. After all, it is the beginning of something new.

Then time flies by quickly and before we know it, we are staring the finishing line in the face. All of a sudden it is time to Take Stock and Evaluate the 12 months gone by. This situation can cause as much stress as delivering all the food, at the right temperature, to the table for Christmas Lunch.

Like it is in the world of cooking, I believe the proof lies in the eating. Therefore, may I invite you to my 2017-Lunch?

MY 2017 ACHIEVEMENTS

As you may know, I am a great believer in Setting Goals at the start of a new year. Seeing them in black on white is much better than visualising them in one’s mind. Of course, this year has been no exception. Here is a breakdown of my Goals (set within 3 sections) achieved:

  • Entrepreneurship Development
  1. Mentoring Startup Business owners locally proved successful and very satisfying.
  2. Education continued via Online Courses and reading 5+ Inspirational Books.
  3. Landed a Work Opportunity abroad.
  4. Completed my detailed Research successfully for another Business Venture.
  5. Accumulated suppliers via local Business Exhibitions. 

  • Business Development
  1. Social Media sites received a mini Re-brand.
  2. New Updated Logo was implemented.
  3. Branding completed for the new Business Venture.
  4. Social Media activities and engagement increased as set out.
  5. Strategies for Online Reputation was adhered and stuck to.
  • Personal Development
  1. Creativity increased via Design and Photography.
  2. Health and Fitness increased dramatically.
  3. Managing my Thought Process was tough, but I kept it positive 90% of the time.
  4. Building New Relationships took a massive Positive turn.
  5. Even though not all locations on my Travel List were visited, a brand new summer location, El Masnou, was discovered; a repeat weeklong visit to my favourite Balearic Island, Menorca, took place and, of course, Barcelona (a top favourite city) was visited again for a week.
  6. Learning a new foreign language and adding a tattoo to my collection were unfortunately not achieved.

MY 2017 SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

As mentioned, I set out to connect and engaged more with people via Social Media platforms. This has turned out to have an incredible Impact on both my Business and Personal Development.

Reaching out to other likeminded individuals has not only provided me with stimulating Mentoring Advice, but also cause my Confidence to rise quite a few levels. Conversing with people like Ryan Foland, Clinton Senkow, Cherie Aimée, Dennis Brown, Zach McArthur, Harry Petsanis, John Lim, Winnie Sun, Susie Ippolito, Jeremy Slate to mention a few, is proof that Social Media is a great platform if used appropriately. All it takes is to be social – after all, these sites are exactly what it says on the tin.

MY 2017 GRATITUDE

It is with great Happiness and Thanks that I end this year. I am fortunate to have received many audience responses on my sites and blogposts. At the end of the day the proof really lies within the eating. Many Thanks to all of you for your likes and comments. You have made my year!

MY 2018 OUTLOOK

Ending the year on such a high, has already given me energy to start thinking about next year. My thinking cap is on and quite a few Goals are already being set out to tackle another 12 months.

Nothing beats having a structure in life, work and beyond. Once you have set out what you want to achieve, all that is left is to Focus on your Future.

Here’s to another year, another set of Goals and another bunch of Achievements. And to be honest, I cannot wait to tackle 2018 by the horns and Get Going.

Here’s wishing those that celebrate the end of the year with a Festive Season, a Very Merry Christmas

HOW BEING A CREATURE OF HABITS MAY COST YOU

It’s so easy. Over time you adopted certain ways here and there that you feel comfortable with. It seems it is making life just that bit easier, right? Well, apologies to burst your bubble, but have I got news for you.  

When one of your goals is to become a successful Entrepreneur, please spare me a moment to explain. For starters, don’t feel offended. You are not the only human on earth that has got not such good habits. Trust me, apart from millions of others, I have them too. Or actually, I am daily working hard on chancing them.

Success.com opened my eyes when I read their article on Harmless Habits. They got 10 Successful Business Owners to point out one habit each that can stand between You and Success.

THE WHAT & WHY

So, why do we have habits? As mentioned at the beginning, together with the explanation in the dictionary, it is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. As humans it is easy for us to fall into a rut. Especially if people constantly advice you to have a structure in work and life. You can argue that a habit is part of your structure – you’re doing something in a certain way consistently.

That sounds like it could work, but we fool ourselves. So what should we do? The bit that is not easy to see is that a habitual work ethic works only in the short term. What we should be focussing on is the long term effect of entrepreneurship. Carving our path to success should be built around longevity. We should not put in all the effort, time and energy for it to be over and done with after a few months from now. Definitely not. We should be in it for the long haul.

THE CHANGE

As I said earlier, to reshape habits is a daily exercise. Adapting to new rituals doesn’t come easily and most of all is not at all easy to stick to. The main part of making changes is the determination to be better at it today than yesterday. Let’s look at those habits that need to be adhere to for the better:

  • The Yes-Man Scenario

Gaining or Keeping a Client is essential – however, at a cost to your own business it is not going to work in the long run.

Especially at Startup I thought one should never say No. Big mistake.  Make sure to weigh up the pros and cons before making a commitment. Saying No can work in your favour. Clients hire you for a reason: they usually don’t know what they want and are therefore wrong on many suggestions. 

  • Sticking with The Crowd

Your First Employee/Freelancer has been with you for yonks. He/She is being with you through thick and thin. They have to stay put.

Nope. No Way. Unless they have The Vision you have. If they don’t they will become like a bad smell. Clear the air and find appropriate help.

  • Lunch at The Desk

Time is of essence, of course. Your To-Do list is as long as your arm. Better knuckle down and have a bite whilst you’re typing away like crazy. Emails, messages, social networking, busy, busy, busy.

If you don’t want to do Yourself a favour, please do Your Mind a favour. Give your brain a break. Actually, Give Yourself a Break. Trust me, you’ll have much better focus after having your lunch away from the keyboard and monitor.

  • Too Busy to Workout

Definitely haven’t got a minute to spare or as the saying goes to scratch my backside (to put it politely) leave alone doing exercise. No efficient business owner has got time for that malarkey.

Wrong on both accounts. For the busy Entrepreneur exercise is more about the Mind than the Body. Luckily the body gains a lot by letting the Mind take most of the focus. I can’t stress enough how regular exercise will elevate your energy levels, mindset and wellbeing. You’ll be supercharged and ready to take on any issue.

  • Doing Everything at Once

Many in particular are like: "I can multitask. Check me out".

Yes, we will look at you being: all over the place… making mistakes everywhere… not in much control of any project or team… lacking a lot of information… missing deadlines, etcetera. Concentrate on one task at a time. Complete it in full and then move to the next. Your productivity level will go through the roof.

  • Touching Base

The need to quickly drop your favourite client a "Hi. You OK?" email. It is good practice to stay in touch, right?

Yes, but only when you have a reason. A flimsy email for no rhyme or reason is just clogging your client’s inbox even more than what it is already. At the end of the last project you both left on good speaking terms. Trying the buddy-buddy approach is not only old fashioned it is plain irritating for your client.

  • Flawless Execution

It can’t be send out in its current form. The logo is 0.5 mm to far left. 

And there you miss the deadline. Oh dear. Many times only You see that error, if we can call it that. It took me a long time to realise that a tiny mistake in my eyes, are not even visible to others. Save yourself the stress. If you really insist, fix it later when no one is looking. 

  • Take Time Out

Clients, your team, the canteen worker, etc. must always come first. That’s how you operate and living your life. Your needs always are second.

Nothing spells Burn Out like this attitude. You may think it makes you an amazing person. Believe me, when you’re sitting in a corner sobbing because your world has crumbled beneath your feet, You Will Be Sitting Alone. Learn to be positively selfish. Everyone will admire you more for being like that. There is a time and a place for everyone.

  • Reply Now

Ping! Yes, another notification. You Got Mail.

Dropping whatever you’re doing to start typing a reply ferociously is a waste of time and energy. You, the client, everyone is busy. No one expects an immediate reply – unless it’s a matter of life or death which most of the time it isn’t. Rank first and reply in due course.

  • The Daily Schedule

Nothing is much more impressive than a laid out To-Do List with tasks and times. Perhaps even colour coded for necessity. Only to reach the end of the day and 75% of Today’s Tasks are copied and pasted in tomorrow’s list.

One word, Prioritize. We all have different methods to complete tasks. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. Personally, the mundane tasks have to be eliminated asap. Then the focus and energy can be spent on important issues. Others find it the other way round. Whatever Makes Your Day do it Your Way. 

THE CONCLUSION

Sometimes we’re too stubborn to make changes, leave alone realise we need changes. It took me a long time to discard the 10 commandments above and adapt to a better work regime. The focus should be on the outcome of your actions.

Don’t get me wrong. Having habits can be a very good attribute in one’s life. The secret is to learn and maintain healthy habits. Having a new found attitude to being productive in a positive manner cause such pleasure it honestly is worth it.

Make time and have a good look at how you operate within both Life and Work specially if you feel you’re not achieving as much as you would like to. Working your fingers to the bone, will in the long run, only give you bony-fingers. Not much else.

Please feel free to share your thoughts after reading this.  Your opinions count. It also matters. And if you require any help dropping some habits then don’t hesitate to get in touch

BEING A MENTOR

Have you ever been stuck in a situation not knowing which way to turn? Or maybe you tried various ways already, but still not moving forward much? My guess is the answer is probably yes. Most of us, if not all, have experienced the proverbial brick wall at some point in time.

A recent read from Jeffrey Hayzlett, Top 3 Traits of a Good Mentor, sparked writing this post. He makes a great point, or three, about what it is and should be like to have someone guide you along your way to move forward.

SEEK

It took me around 20 years of grinding behind a desk for someone/some company to realise that the 9 to 5 culture isn’t satisfying anymore. It made me realise though that I was extremely lucky to gain an enormous amount of experience along the way. Moving from one position to another over the years I was able to take with me any new found learnings and enhance the next position.

Therefore when I finally left the building for the last time at the end of May on a sunny day in London, I knew that it will be a huge mistake to just sit on the information I have within me. Something had to be done about it hence Mentoring became a focus point. To quote Jeffrey: “Good mentors are always willing to share what they know - with anyone who asks". Moving forward a couple of years and I am blessed to be in a situation where I am being given great opportunities to lend a hand and help others

SHARE 

My bible of experience covers a fair amount of different topics related to being in a business environment. Therefore it is not that difficult to assist mentees with various issues they’re experiencing.  As a person who constantly broaden his horizons regarding new aspects of what makes the world go round, all questions can be tackled and answers can be delivered. 

For instance. of late Social Media Management is a hot topic. For the generation that did not grow up with it, it is overwhelming. There are quite a lot of people that have little understanding of how it works. They also are amazed by the fact that online platforms can be used as a great marketing tool. This may sound strange to many, but as I always do, looking at it from my clients’ perspective, it makes total sense. 

On the other side of the scale, the younger generation of mentees struggle with a marketing strategy or even their online reputation even though they fully know how to handle social media platforms on a personal level. Again, a topic that can easily be explained and a strategy can be put in place. Being on social media as yourself differs from being there as your business brand. 

SUPPORT 

All aspects of Mentoring is exciting, but one part that stands out is the initial research or investigation surrounding a new mentee prior to the first meeting. Looking around the web for their social visibility gives one a great insight into how they think. That is, if they have an online persona. Contrary to popular belief there are people around who shy away from being electronically social

The starting point usually is around what is (or not) already out there for all to see. Starting with each existing section from visual presence (avatars, videos, photos, etc.) right through to the writing of posts or captions. As an outsider it is easy to pick out spelling mistakes or layout issues - not to mention the phycological effect colours can have on readers.  

Feedback is easy to give - however, it is completely useless without any valuable input. Again, Jeffrey is 100% correct: “A good mentor is further willing to provide concrete and constructive feedback”.

As always, looking at the evidence should be from the mentee’s point of view. After all, the website or social feed is not yours so it should not be about you and how you want it, but what will work best for the mentee’s brand. Mentoring is about helping and giving advice. If there is the need for introducing new learning curves, the Coach in me will take over - but let’s leave that aside for another post.

Continued support is most of the time wanted by my mentees. A request that fill one with excitement and warmth. And appreciation. 

CONCLUSION

To be able to distribute what one has learned can only be described as one of the best satisfying aspects of life. 

On a personal level it:

  • broaden insights 
  • cultivate relationships
  • awoke mutual feelings of respect
  • create being seen as an expert 
  • makes one an influencer
  • allows one be a contributor 

Giving branding and/or marketing advice it most certainly doesn’t matter that much which niche/field in the market the mentee is in. What matters is to master their needs to better themselves and their brand. At the end of the day, one is not expected to know their market inside out - one is required to guide and lend a helping hand. 

Mentoring has opened so many doors for me and the believe is that it honestly will open many more in the future. This part of being an Entrepreneur is what drives one forward. The only downside, if one can call it that, is always saying yes when a potential mentee knocks on your door and asks for help. Then again, one always has time. There is no such thing as being too busy - prioritize your workload is all it takes to have a full, productive business and life.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

BEING A BRAND GUARDIAN

Are you concerned about how your Brand is being executed? Of course you are. After all, your Brand is the core of your existence as a professional operator within your niche. The question actually should be: ‘Is your Brand safeguarded?’. 

WHAT IS A BRAND GUARDIAN

Even though I had a very good understanding of the role it became even more clear once I read Andrew Vesey’s post in Brand Quarterly. In todays very busy digital market (in particular) it is imperative to make sure your Brand is in line at all times with what your company stands for. This is where a Guardian steps in to make sure all aspects of your Brand are consistent wherever it is represented.

There is no need to stress how tough the competition is out there.  So you better make sure you’re protected. After all, you have insurance for your family, home and even business - why not for your Brand?

WHO NEEDS A BRAND GUARDIAN

In general, companies or SMEs and even individuals are so focussed on starting up and/or running a business that something like their Branding can easily be jeopardised. Therefore your Brand needs to be looked after properly.  Not because you don’t want to do that, but because there are usually a million and one other things that need your attention constantly. 

Take for instance your next upcoming marketing campaign… You most likely are outsourcing all creative elements. Or even if you’re relying on your internal marketing team there will be an element of mishaps or misunderstandings due to the amount of people working on your project. It’s here where you are in need of a Brand Guardian.

WHAT WILL A BRAND GUARDIAN DO

It is someone that will be able to oversee and guide all those involved in your campaign to stay within the parameters of your Brand. To make sure that there is consistency whenever aspects like your logo, your colours, your company’s mission statement, etc. is being used. The importance of stability across a campaign cannot be stressed enough. Your audience needs to able to recognise your Brand at all times.

A Brand Guardian will take care of all visual requirements. Many times external agencies you use undergo changes and even internal teams/freelancers could steer away from being in line purely because of the workload they are expected to deliver. Taking on board a Guardian eliminates this once and for all.

CONSLUSION

What makes an exceptional Brand Guardian, you may ask. Speaking from experience, first and foremost it is the value that will be brought to your table. This is comprised out of: 

  • putting oneself in the client’s shoes

  • extraordinary eye for detail

  • positive frame of mind

  • proven outstanding management skills

  • delivers successful end results

Followed closely by: a high level of effective Solutions to fulfil your expectations, being known for a People’s Person to make sure everybody is up-to-date with the latest developments, creating you a Brand Book with guidelines and instructions.  Ultimately, someone to Enhance and Secure your Brand. 

From knowledge, being at hand as a Guardian has been proven to cause much more help than hinder.  As a mentor and coach many opportunities have risen to assist, help and guide clients to have a consistent Brand. The strong believe here is that your Brand should be fully in order whenever you step out into the world

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

BROADENING YOUR SKILLS

How do you feel about gaining new information? Is it an exciting prospect? The ability to extend your knowledge of a subject can be daunting, however if you approach it with the right mindset you can walk away feeling very satisfied. 

For me the words of Vincent van Gogh sums it up beautifully:

Learning, or educating myself, has always given me a great sense of achievement. 

THE URGE TO KNOW

When the decision was made to startup on my own, there were quite a few elements that I knew too little about. One way to obtain that information was to sign up to a course or three and let others be a guide. Nothing wrong with that. However, to seek out the information on your own accord somehow always is so much more fulfilling. Therefore I tackled the proverbial bull by the horns and educated myself in the areas I lacked knowledge in. 

THE LEARNING CURVE

With the worldwide web at our finger tips nowadays it is much easier than years ago to get hold of answers to all our questions. It takes some research, but persevere and one will find what one is looking for. What could, or most likely will happen, is that you will find bits here, there and everywhere. The fun part (to put it mildly) is to then put it together like a puzzle. First, one finds the pieces with a straight edge and/or the corner pieces and before you know it the border (or outline) is all in place. To follow is to fill in the middle section and voila! your picture is complete. All pieces slotted in and you’re sitting back looking at a complete visual. In other words, you have conquered the assignment of learning how to perform a certain task within your business.

THE IMPLEMENTATION

Once the know how is firmly in your head, it is time to put your new found knowledge into action. Best bit of advice at this stage is to get going immediately since the information is still very fresh. Practice, practice and then some more practice. Repetition is known to cement actions within us. Once you leave the new facts and skills at the door the inevitable is sure to happen - when you return to put it all to work, most will be a haze and you will need to start again to remind yourself.  

THE CONCLUSION

To study or learn on your own takes a lot of effort and determination. You need to be proactive and resilient at all times. For me it works. Currently there is a new venture on the cards and instead of signing up to expensive courses how to achieve this I am taking matters in my own hands. Yes, I do attend webinars, seminars and talks to get some guidance, but at the end of the day it’s up to me. Some will call it the hard way. Others won’t understand why the narrow, steep road is more attractive. 

Each to their own I say. It is not a matter of making it unnecessarily difficult for oneself, it is much more about achieving something where there was originally no knowledge of in my head. As a strong believer in one can do whatever you put your mind to, it’s obvious this is the preferred route for me. That moment you reach the end of the rainbow and find your pot of gold is priceless. To sit back and look at the finished task you did with the complete new set of tools in your head, is beyond satisfying. Once you experienced that feeling, I bet you will want it again and again. Believe me the feeling is that wonderful. 

If you felt some affinity towards this topic please comment and share your thoughts. If you’re in need of mentoring about educating yourself get in touch and lets talk.

 

WHAT IS THE KEY TO BE PRODUCTIVE?

Perhaps you have an idea of what being productive is about - or maybe you are right in the midst of trying to figure it out. Either way, I came across a very informative blogpost that can be of benefit to all. After reading the article by Dan Kennedy on Work Smarter Not Harder my thoughts, believes and attitude were confirmed: it comes down to one word and one word only… Discipline

I strongly recommend reading this post. In it Dan covers the following qualities that will strike a cord with likeminded Entrepreneurs: 

  • Start Early
  • Don’t Multi-task
  • Be Fearless
  • Business means Business
  • Focus on Your Business
  • Delegate
  • Streamline Your Time

A CREATURE OF HABIT

Ever since I made the decision to start doing what I am doing for a living my focus point was to be Productive - and (hopefully) successful in the end. To get to the end of a day and many boxes have been ticked makes for a great feeling of satisfaction. This causes even more drive for the next day, the next task and the next milestone. As I related to this post so much I want to give you an insight into how it works for me. 

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

Hitting that snooze button and turning over was my downfall. Even though this could be a temptation at the best of times, I deliberately choose not to fall into this trap anymore. Nothing beats catching the sunrise when the day smells fresh and clean. I can’t bear missing the best part of the day.

ONE STEP AT A TIME

My daily to-do list is as long as my arm hence I tackle them one by one. For me getting the most mundane/tedious tasks out of the way is best. Then the concentration can be implemented to the tough and serious topics on the list.

KEEP THE FAITH

It happens quite often. I planned it all and then boom! the goal posts are moved. I learned a lesson ages ago not to despair and get negative. As a matter of fact when a brick wall faces me it’s best to take time out and walk away (literally) from the issue. After a few minutes I will have a new perspective on the situation. Many times I find the positive within a negative situation. Not much beats the feeling of content when I overturn the moment to my advantage and walk away as the winner.

GET ORGANISED

As incredible as it is to be your own boss there is nothing more frustrating to end up feeling you are working all the hours god send and still not accomplish much due to distractions. It is bound to happen so I plan and manage people’s expectations constantly.  As the saying goes: there is a time and place for everything which I apply to all aspects of work. Once clients (and family/friends) are aware what I do and when I find myself to be far more productive than ever before. 

ME TIME

Every working day I schedule time for myself.  I take time out to tune into webinars, read inspirational books, find images/settings to photograph, etc. or just sit down, have a coffee and contemplate my next move.  I found that if I run around all the time everyone but me gets the attention. Take Note: the most important person in your life is You. Once you have taken care of yourself it is much easier to look after others. 

WATCH OUT

At the startup stage it is inevitable that you end up doing almost everything yourself. Within my environment it was obvious that I will source the best website platform and template, be instrumental in creating the logo, seeking the colours etc. etc. Money is not always in abundance so I got my hands dirty and got on with it - and still do from time to time!

However, I take great caution not to get use to such a regime. Burnout is not an option for me. I don’t want to end up with my face flat on the ground. Wherever I can I seek help with smaller tasks at hand. Then I can concentrate on the bigger picture that will improve the state of my venture.

BE CLEVER

This brings me right back to the title of Dan’s post: Work Smarter not Harder. I constantly take a good look at what needs to be done to create a successful brand. I then zoom into that and tunnel my energy towards it. Only when all the ground work was done and I started to look months ahead, instead of days, I got the taste of what Entrepreneurship is all about.

THE CONCLUSION

I am happy to be content with discipline in my work and life. I know it pays off each and every time. It is a thrill to focus on, be positive about what lies ahead and what needs to be done to get there. It is all too exciting to mess it up.

I am convinced you can experience such excitement too. Best solution is to give it a go, work at it and end up feeling happy. My daily motto is I can. And I will. Watch Me - why not give it a go yourself!

Please share your work ethnics and/or struggles. If any questions are hanging around then let me know. As always, who knows, maybe I have a suggestion that can be of help.

KICK START THE 2017 KICK-OFF

Only 2 weeks into the new year and the festive period feels like many moons ago. If that is not an indication of how quickly time moves then I don’t know what is. So how is this new year shaping up for you? 

THE SET UP

You’ve turned the page. You’re facing a clean, blank space. Now what? Or are you one of the lucky ones that knows exactly what should happen now?

Not everybody is inclined to set goals for the next months ahead. Many people throw a few ideas around in their head and think job done - I am sorted. Personally, that approached is not for me. Tried and tested that to major failure.  To be honest, to write down the goals you’re aiming for is not only a great act of discipline, but also the best way to measure your results. It is a fact that you will accomplish more if you follow this simple, yet effective method. 

A straight-forward Excel sheet / table in Word (Numbers and Pages for us Apple users) will do the trick: 4 columns with headings such as Goal. Action, Time Scale and Result. Add 2 - 3 Row Headings e.g. Business Development and Personal Development. In general that is all it takes. Now your blank sheet has got meaning and gives you a great indication of how to proceed. Done and dusted. Those of us whom are fairly Branded orientated will obviously spend a bit more time on creating this important document (the look&feel has to be on par, right?).

THE ACTIVITY

Hopefully the most exciting part for you starts here with Column 1. It’s all action and go from here. 

Take some time and figure out what you want to accomplish by the end of your 12 month period. Be realistic, yet not outrages. There is no need to write down a list of goals as long as your arm. Besides that, writing down aims that is clearly not achievable are not going to work either. To set yourself over the top benchmarks will leave you eventually disappointed or even let you give up before you started. 

If goal setting is new to you aim for about 3 to 5 goals maximum. Be authentic and most of all, make them specific. After all, this is about you, your business and your future. Once you see them black on white, take time to ponder over them until you are happy with what you’re aiming for. 

THE SEQUENCE

Onto the next column. This section is of utter importance and should be tackled with a clear mind. Now you have to figure out what the time scale is for each goal. How long should it take you to reach this milestone? Again, no point in setting ridiculous end times. If you feel you can master a particular goal within a short amount of time, then good. On the other hand, give yourself ample time rather than set yourself up for disappointment by not fulfilling your goal since you overestimated yourself. 

To reach a goal within a shorter period of time than originally aimed for is very exciting. That feeling of getting there before you’re suppose to is exhilarating beyond believe. It will also give you a great indication that although being cautious you can push the boat out a bit further next time. Rather be safe than sorry the saying goes and it’s true. Don’t get desponded because you have underestimated yourself.  Remember you aimed for something you had no idea if it will work or not. But guess what? It did work and very well indeed. Kudos to yourself in such a situation.

THE OUTCOME

Column 4 and now we’re talking bolts and nuts. This section will be visited by the end period of your goal exercise. By the time you reach this part of your year months would’ve passed. Many hours of labour, sweat and who knows, even tears will have been shed. Now is the time for your results.

Allocate enough time in your diary to complete this section. You now have to look back over the months and face facts. More so, you now have to be very honest and brutal with yourself. The time has come to assess you’re goals and the milestones you set out for yourself. 

Take each goal one by one. Cast your mind back and write down exactly what happened about this particular aim you had. If you have accomplished it, then great. Pat yourself on the back and reveal exactly how, when and what you did to make this goal a reality. I can guarantee you there will be a massive smile on your face in such a case. Better still if you can complete this section for each goal with positive remarks and outcomes. Amazing. Just brilliantly amazing. Well done! You did what you envisaged for yourself. You proved you had vision, dreams and passion. You had the right idea all those months ago. You Did It.

THE CONCLUSION

The hope within me is that you will realise it was a great exercise. To not only visualise your future, but to put it down in words were one of the best parts of your year - perhaps even your business too. 

However, what about not reaching goal/s entirely, I hear you ask? Don’t stress. It is not the end of the world, so to speak. More importantly is the fact that you had the vision months ago and you tried. We all have failures in life and business. Learn from them. Look back and figure out where you went wrong whilst trying to accomplish this specific goal. Maybe even add it to your list for the next year. Try again, and who knows, you could quite possibly crush it perhaps even well before the end date. 

One other system that I find works well is to revisit your goals about 3 times (every quarter) per 12 month period. Set a reminder in your diary and spend about an hour or so checking exactly what you proposed for yourself at the beginning of your goal setting exercise. You may find that you can even complete column 4 since the goal/s are done. A revisit will also keep your mind focussed on what needs to be done by when. It will also help with your final appraisal at the end of your 12 months since quite a few facts/figures will already be entered and therefore make the whole process that much easier and smoother.

Reach out and shout if there is anything that you’re not sure about or need help with.  And remember… You Can Do It. The only criteria is that You Take Action.

All the best with setting your milestones for this year. More so, good luck with putting your shoulder to the wheel to make them all come true.

YOU CAN DO IT. WHOEVER YOU ARE.

Does that feeling of I won’t be able to be my own boss. It’s not for me ever crosses your mind? Do you think you’re not bold enough? Think again and read this blogspot - it truly is an eyeopener. I promise you.

THE THOUGHT

On face value it is more than often believed that one needs that special personality to start a company or business. We look around us and see many people that made an executive decision in their lives and branched out on their own. One easily admire them from afar with a touch of jealousy and envy thinking: if only I could. And then the doubt and insecurity steps in and poof! the dream is over (even before it really began). 

THE DREAM

Yes, it is true that many owners of businesses are bold, brass and brave. They tackle clients and work ethnics without hesitation. They grab opportunities with both hands and nail yet another successful deal in a flash. However, there is a surprise install for many that look up to entrepreneurs and self made millionaires dreaming that they wish they were one of those… Reading that blogpost by Kim Wills was a revelation. In astonishment one sat there going really? seriously? I don’t believe this!

Starting out on your own is daunting. Of course self doubt will rises it’s head many times. So if you’re not the world’s most outspoken and brassy person it is even easier to give up long, long before you really start out. The good news is that it does not matter if you’re an introvert. From the post you’ll see that a huge amount of successful people (in business and entertainment sectors) are just that: introverts. We may not know the exact ins and outs of being one, but in general we are au fait with that kind of personality. So there you sit knowingly that you fall into that category - hence the I can’t or I won’t be able to crosses your mind. To be totally brutal here with you: stop right there. Because you are wrong. You. Really. Are. Wrong! 

THE GET GOING

From a personal point of view I can tell you that deciding to take the redundancy money and run (out of the building… out of the corporate environment) was first easy, then worrying and finally exciting. Still being very much at a start up level, reading confirmations like this from Kim cement believes within oneself. This post will be a mantra to return to whenever the feeling of failure comes to the surface in the future. The link has been saved to my home screen for easy access. Certain sections are highlighted for quick reference. At the end of the day one is not going to live life without it anymore. Ok, so it sounds quite dramatic, granted. And whilst in this mode, let’s share with you that the contents of the post will not only be applied within a work environment - oh no. It will be taken to a total different level: life in general. 

From this read we can see that whatever type of personality you have, you can do it. You can be who you want to be. You can do what you want to do. From now on when you read about influential people who are successful and branching out more and more everyday, count yourself amongst them. Tackle the proverbial bull by the horns and get going. Stop being held a prisoner by negativity. At the end of the day it’s all only in your mind. So what if you perhaps need to do some extra work or input. The guarantee is there that even those that find business ideas come easily, will have something somewhere within them that will throw a spanner in the wheels. All of us can benefit from Kim’s advice. 

CONCLUSION

So let’s take his words onboard. Start building the who you want to be. Today is as a good day as any other day. Upwards and Forwards. With so many news bulletins about people being taken away from life it’s obvious time is of essence. We need to Take Action. It’s not a situation of now or never. There is only ONE situation: NOW.

Please share, comment and get in touch if there is anything you can contribute. Perhaps there are even issues we can work out together. 

DOn’t quIT

LET’S DO IT LIVE

Ever felt like extending your brand? There are many ways to enhance your professional identity. One way in particular is to lend a hand at Live Events. There is something very exciting about events. Most probably because when it all kicks off it is Live. From then until the end anything can happen. Of course fingers are crossed all along for everything to go as planned without any gremlins jumping in and course havoc.

Very recently the opportunity came about to assist with a Charity Ball in London. Without a nano second of hesitation it was agreed to add the brand development touch to this event.

THE VENUE

The location was in one of London’s superb landmarks: The Savoy Hotel on the North Bank of the Thames River. With areas like Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square a stone throw away it basically is in the heart of London.

This venue is nothing new since a fair amount of events have been arranged and/or attended there in the past. However, it is always great to step into the splendour of this establishment. From the exterior through the revolving doors into the plush interior one feels almost elevated. There is the feeling of being transferred into another world even if it means the world you step into is that of the rich and famous. Walls are plastered with stunning black and white photographs of legends like film stars and politicians. These date back decades. Just an indication that this iconic venue has seen it all. And will most certainly see more in the times to come.

THE SET UP

The hotel’s Ball Room was the chosen area for the night. It all started early in the morning with equipment arriving and crews starting to set up. There was going to be a live show with famous talent at the end of the evening. Quite a bunch of very friendly, professional and organised people started to set up the stage, plug this that and the other cables into big, electronic machinery. Microphones were being set up, tested and adjusted. Instruments were placed in precise spots on the stage and before you know it the stage was set. The only missing ingredients were musicians, backing vocals and of course the star of the show.

Setting up the entertainment side of the event is obviously only one part of the day’s procedures. While that was happening a total of 32 round tables were being prepared. Each will hold 10 guests which needed every possible piece of cutlery, crockery and glasses. Sparkling white, starched table cloths and napkins were placed perfectly and was accompanied by buffed silverware, glassware and shiny porcelain. There is always the need for a centre piece - and for this event there was no exception.  Flower arrangements were going to be the pièce de résistance on the night. Nothing outrageous and too big, but elegant enough to make an impact and still let guests see each other across the table and talk the night away. Obviously the colour scheme of the charity's brand was extended into the chosen flora. 

Behind the scenes, or more appropriately called The Kitchen, chefs and staff were busy with preparations for a delightful meal. There was a lot of chopping, stirring and trays going in and coming out of ovens. The activities were in full swing to feed a few hundred people. The menu was tasted and agreed on before hand so all that was left to do is prepare and eventually serve up. 

THE EVENT

Before you knew it, the doors opened to welcome elegant guests. Men in Black Tie and women sporting Ball Gowns were order of the night. Soon the room was filled with people, laughter and a great atmosphere. The serious side of the night, an auction, was taking place in between the servings of delicious food. The main point of the event was to raise money for the charity. Left, right and centre people dug deep into their wallets and a phenomenal amount of money was raised. Once the singer/songwriter performed his last song while all the guests were standing and dancing, it was revealed that the immediate amount raised extended well into 6 figures. All in all a major successful evening. 

AND THEN... GOOD NIGHT

Not bad for a day’s work. Fairly exhausted, but happy, one flops down on a plush hotel room bed in the early hours of the morning.  A good night’s sleep is now on the cards. Nothing is more exciting knowing that once again the client is happy. Not only with the amount of money raised, but with the execution of their event too. 

Back home, it’s time now to write that follow up email. Perhaps the reply will include another date for another event… fingers crossed.

 

THEY HAVE THEIR MOMENTS

Have you ever struggled to deal with the backbone of your business? Referring to none other than your clients. Those who keep your business alive - and kicking. 

To say they can be fickle is an understatement. As we all know, they want, they need and they command. Most of all, they make what your business is and stands for. Therefore, without a doubt, it is the most important relationship you can cultivate. 

THE FIRST IMPRESSION

Everything has a beginning. There is the moment in time where you spot that particular person. You lock eyes. Perhaps a faint smile and then boom a move is made. Yes, forming a relationship with a new client is like anticipating to date that special person. However, the client relationship is platonic. Obviously. No hanky-panky is on the cards. Well, not the physical type anyway. 

To woe a newcomer to your business is a tricky situation. You need to tread carefully not to overstep the mark or step on some toes. First impressions always count the most. Hence being on your best behaviour is a must. Be prepared and ready. Remember, your brand is not only what your business provide, it also is who and what you are. In other words, you definitely have to look the part. You are an extension of your company’s brand. Show it. Make it work. And let your confidence speaks loudly. After all, you’re about to take the first step and make a move.

THE COURTING

It is essential to adopt a strategy whereas you see the situation from their point of view. To put yourself in the clients’ shoes is critical. Only then you can visualise what is possible. This part is not easy and demand practice. The more you set out to figure out how to deal with the situation the better you will get at it. Like personal relationships, the successful business relationship takes effort and careful planning. To dive right in does occasionally work for some, however to take the slow approach is guaranteed to bring longterm satisfaction. Just like there is little need to be over tactful during a personal date, likewise should be implemented with clients. Remember, this is your first time together so use your time wisely. Listen and learn. Make the meeting a 2-way conversation. It is important to collect as much info from your client (regarding their company and needs) since it may be the only moment you get to impress them.

THE NEXT MOVE

Once you have a client hooked on you, the time has come to put your money where you mouth is. Time to present and show them what you are made of. Still not necessary to go over the top with your achievements, but certainly time to make sure the client realises they are in trusted company. Convince them they are in good, safe hands. Build on what you learned about them so far. This will show them that you took note of their needs and what they want to achieve. Remember the bit about seeing it from their point of view - not only is this important now, it will be relevant throughout the time spend together. 

To accept the need for compromise will make the meeting so much more effective. Yes, the client is talking to you as they are in need of help and guidance. However, it is important to remember that it’s not about you and what you really want. Your desires and plans can come to life, but only with support from them. The best way to achieve this is by putting value on the table first and foremost. Once they can see and believe you intentions are genuine you stand a good chance of successfully let them eat out of your hand.

THE LONGTERM PLAN

Now that the ball is in your court, play it well. Be the gentleman in the relationship. Show passion and respect. Be forceful within reason. It is still early days and you have to be on your guard. To assume it’s plain sailing from now on is dangerous. One small step in the wrong direction and it’s all over and done with. You may think that they’re loosing out - trust me, the only one really loosing is you. Clients have the knack of moving on very swiftly. There is a long line of people behind you so they can easily turn to the next possibility. Remember, they are fickle. And most of the time high maintenance. Don’t be scared by this. So far so good. Just don’t mess it up right now.

Your attitude should be that of in it for the long haul. There is a very satisfying aspect to clients that came on board and then come back again and again. This kind of situation is great since they will keep you on your toes at all times. You will have to step up your game and provide new and fresh ideas for each project that follows. In the long run this will only be good for both your business and you - the complete brand package you live by. Visualise the big picture and broaden your horizon. Now is not the time to be small and narrow minded. 

THE CONCLUSION

To obtain a special relationship is exactly that: special. Even if you’re still within the first project and therefore within the honeymoon period, there is a strong possibility that prospects are looking up. The time has come to cement the trust and believe you have in each other. It is here where the hard work starts. Now is the time to build on the foundation you’ve laid within the first few days/weeks. Make sure that all the conversations weren’t a waste of time. You have made true promises. You need to deliver and stand tall. Don’t fall prey to what so many businesses do - they go stale. There is no need to end the relationship. In other words, to call it a day. That will be far too easy. So for those who enjoy a challenge and are up for it, go for it. Show your commitment and the thirst you have to build a satisfying marriage. Many people will believe that opportunities are far and few in between. Rightly so too. Therefore take the bull by the horns and keep going. 

If coaching and mentoring is what you need help with to deal with your client relationships, get in touch. What have you got to loose? On second thoughts, don’t answer that. Let’s rather talk and figure out how we can together solve any issues you have.  Solutions are on hand. 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Have you got the thirst for learning? Is gaining information something that inspires you? If like me, you most certainly would answer yes and agree with the subject line (a quote from Francis Bacon). Those 3 wise words speak volumes.

WHY LEARN MORE

When the decision was taken to give Entrepreneurship a go the first thing that came to mind was to educate myself more about my choice of ventures. The need was there for tools to take on this mission of being my own boss. The only way forward seemed to seek knowledge which in return should (hopefully!) pay off.

WHERE TO LEARN

To further your schooling career and life as a university or college student the next platform is not far away at all. With the brilliance of the Internet at our fingertips nowadays it actually isn’t that difficult - or expensive - to gain guidance. No need to sign your life away committing to a bundle of years at institutions. As someone who did the whole further education bit years ago, this discovery was more than an eye opener. It is obvious that the world wide web has incredible information to offer and just how much can be gained for free was astonishing.

WHAT LEARNING IS AVAILABLE

The variety of teaching on the web is quite overwhelming - understandably so. Millions out there offer to share their knowledge with those of us who seek it. And why not? At the end of the day for some it is a very lucrative business. On the other hand many gain satisfaction purely by sharing what they’ve learned. One platform that can offer such learning is that of Webinars. The fascinating world of webinars is exactly that - fascinating. Topics on offer spread oceans wide. You can literally sign up to learn about almost anything in the world. What remains for you to do is to be… selective.

WHICH LEARNING SOLUTION

As a person with the tendency for a short attention span the need to gain information quickly is order of the day, The discovery of webinars was great. This platform offers most of the time a 60 minute window of opportunity to learn. 

There are mainly 2 different webinars. Those who aim to tease you with a few facts only to offer you their solution to the topic at a price towards the end of the session. The other, a far more impressive and satisfying route, is where successful individuals are happy to share at no cost what they have learned. They are delighted to show you how to avoid potholes and overcome hurdles during your new journey. Also what they did to penetrate obstacles - like the proverbial brick wall.

Such webinars, as far as one has learned, are far and few in-between. One institution that so far stands out is Entrepreneur. Combining visuals/slides with a live webcam (most of the time) showing the presenter of the session make a great platform to learn from. It is also known for keeping it short and sweet which means come 60 minutes it’s over and done with. Jill Schiefelbein and Ryan Bilello  are another two favourites. They share their knowledge and expertise casually not pushing the sales pitch as such. Plain honesty and to the point. Exactly what ticks the box for me.

FINALLY 

There is nothing wrong with offering a paid programme/course to those whom are logging in online - it is after all your business, your rules, your time. We all need to make money to survive. Personally, the point is that as a startup funds are limited - very limited to be honest. Therefore it is great to get the opportunity to learn and be educated how to progress without having to fork out handfuls of money to move forward. 

As an ardent webinar attendee the most satisfaction is gained by being selective to whom you tune into. The more webinars you attend the easier it is to realise within the first few minutes if this presenter is going to spend as much if not more time on selling his/her product rather than focus on educating you. 

There are obvious many platforms out there that provide learning with no price tag at all. If anyone is happy to share their knowledge of institutions/individuals that go along this route of sharing info, please get in touch. It will be great to discover and connect with more such like-minded people. 

After all, one cannot learn enough. Expertise is a combination of learning and doing. And of course included are a substantial amount of failing… don’t let it scare you - the best part about failing is to learn from your mistakes. 

 

THE ROAD AHEAD

Where is your business heading? Now that you’ve started what are you going to do with it all? Here is some guidance from Bob Proctor: “A proper Goal provides the necessary incentive to grow in awareness - and every aspect of your life is a reflection of your level of awareness”.

What strikes me within these wise words are: Goal, Grow and Awareness. 3 very powerful points to take note of to make progress.

Personally, a lot has been picked up from working in a corporate environment for many years. One that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb is Goal Setting. It was great to be introduced to it years ago. Something that comes natural and are done religiously at the start of every new year. Taking a couple of days for the New Years celebrations to wear of and by January 3rd thoughts are arranged into at least 3 Development sections: Trading, Business and Personal. Setting out a strategy for each part of life as a professional working individual is order of every new year. 

SET UP GOALS

To sit down and calmly spend time making decisions for the next 12 months at least is one of the most satisfying exercises one can do. It puts the future into perspective and creates a track that encourage the mindset to work systematically forward. 

A golden rule to follow is that of creating SMART Goals. Setting massive, almost out-of-bound Goals are, from a personal point of view, not that productive. It is good to be ambitious, however being realistic is a much better route to follow. Over-the-top Goals can easily lead to disappointment and discouragement. One can feel a failure and that easily leads to negativity in thought and mind - something that should be avoided at all costs since being positive is a much easier way to live life and being successful. So, be SMART about your Goals. 

No need to agree on a huge list of Goals either. The list can rather be short and sweet than long, tedious and impossible. Aim for around 3 to 5 per section.