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The latest news and industry trends

Posts tagged business management
March Goals

 

The beginning of the year came and went like a flash of lightning. It’s hard to believe that it’s already March and we are getting close to the end of the 1st Quarter. If you haven’t hit all of your business goals yet, don’t worry...there is still time to regroup and accomplish some valuable things for the sake of your business.

A lot of people get overwhelmed because they either create goals that are unrealistic for completion within a certain time frame or not specific enough to keep you on track for completion. As the age old business model says, Goals should be S.M.A.R.T : Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely.  Declaring that you want to make $100,000 for the year is totally doable. But saying “I want to make 100,000 this year” but not knowing what products and services you are going to sell, how much you are selling them for, and who you are selling them to is unrealistic and sets you up for disappointment.

Even your small goals should be realistic. They should be related to the overall bottom line within your business. If your goal is to move to a brick and mortar location, it should be tied to a “why”. Will moving to a physical location help increase your sales? Will it give you more foot traffic? Don’t make a plan to move to a physical location just because you think it “looks” like a good idea. Create the goal to move because it is tied to something that benefits your business. Once you’ve decided on that goal, figure out the action steps to get you there, and make sure that they are SMART goals.

This is the perfect time for Spring Cleaning your business. In the next couple of days take an assessment of your business, its operations systems, and how well your products and services are doing. Figure out what areas need improvement, and what you can do to ensure that growth is taking place. Engage in activities that are strategic in helping you fine tune your business.

What things do you need to spring clean in your business? What areas need some special attention?

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4 Tips for Women's Business Success
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There are over 11M Women Owned businesses in the US. They make up 40% of new business owners and generate over $1.7 Trillion in revenue. So how can we make sure that these businesses are profitable and sustainable?

  • Collaborate

Collaboration (even with those you may feel are competitors) can open the door to more clients, more sales, and an increased presence in the business sector. Seek out entrepreneurs who match your focus and want to grow the same way.

  • Educate Yourself

Although women are building businesses at astronomical rates, we are often overlooked or denied when it comes to funding. Depending on your industry, startup funds and money for payroll may be an essential necessity for your business success. Find out what investors and banks look for when allocating funding, and find out what skills you may need to brush up on to increase your chances of success. Organizations like your local SBA will often offer FREE education on a variety of business topics.

  • Re-evaluate your business structure

Do you REALLY need that many staff members? Does that new software system serve your best interests? Comb through all of the elements of your business to see what elements are truly necessary and what elements are optional. You may find areas where you can cut back on expenses, or even raise your prices on certain products and services.

  • Don't give up!

No one ever said business would be easy. Be resilient in your quest to become a success. The pros will outweigh the cons once you've achieved your goals.

On October 24th The Women's Business Center of Charlotte is hosting its 2nd Annual Heart of a Women Conference. This conference will cover all of the areas of your business AND your personal life that will help you propel towards success. The breakout sessions are full of amazing educational gems and success stories from women just like you.

Session topics include:

  • Doing Business With The Government

  • Conquering Marketing & Branding

  • Nonprofit Management

  • Healthy Living Tips

  • Staffing Tips

  • Strategic Planning

This year's keynote speaker is Ms. Jacqie McWilliams, Commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), Ms. McWilliams will share her success secrets that landed her a position as the first female African-American Commissioner of the CIAA.

 

Early Bird Registration ends soon, so purchase your tickets today!

 

ABB: Always Be Branding

 

 

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If I showed you a symbol of a red bulls eye, chances are you would identify it as the symbol that belongs to Target. The same would go if I showed you a pair of golden arches. No matter what language you speak, you would still be able to identify it as the symbol for McDonald's. These are just two examples of easily identifiable brands. It's the epitome of brand success. At some point along the way, you want people to easily recognize your brand and what it stands for. But of course that recognition doesn't come overnight. It takes years of strategic development, consistency, and fortitude until you're a household name.

 

Building a successful brand takes patience and persistence. And contrary to popular belief, you don't start the process AFTER you've already "made it". Your brand is built during the process of "making it". In order for people to take you seriously, and to think of you as being synonymous with your brand, you have to truly live it. You have to become a walking billboard for everything that is associated with your brand....all the time. You want your brand to be (as the young people say) "Lit" (I felt old saying that....Won't do it again).

 

I remember when I first started working as the PR Director for Substantial Magazine. Upon walking in to my very first photo shoot with the magazine , I encountered a young, hungry, and very stylish young man by the name of Dan. Within two seconds of meeting one another we both knew everything we needed to know about one another: We were both serious about our craft, and we both recognized the importance of aligning ourselves with successful and like minded individuals. Although Dan was at least ten years my Junior, I found things in him that I admired. Upon shaking my hand he informed me that he was in school for Fashion Merchandising and that he was going to be one of the top stylists in his industry one day. To which I immediately replied, "Great. You can style my first mainstream magazine cover". From that day on, every encounter with Dan had something to do with fashion. Whether he was sharing new ideas or creating new designs , or simply checking out what I had on and seeing how my unique style fit into the current fashion climate. Today, just a year and a half out of college, he is traveling coast to coast styling for some of the most popular international brands and events in mainstream media. How did he achieve such great success in such a short amount of time? Easy. He LIVED his dreams. He immersed himself in everything that was associated with fashion, branding, and current trends. He created the life he wanted by becoming synonymous with fashion, and the world took notice.

 

 

I started my business with a political science degree and a desire to help people achieve their dreams. I just didn't know what shaping those dreams looked like. I didn't think marketing and branding would be a way for me to help people. I underestimated how intricate of a detail your brand message would be to cementing your business' success. But without a solid brand message, people won't take your brand seriously. So I set out to figure out everything I could learn about helping people build their brands. I read everything I came across, listened to every Periscope and Podcast I could find, and started studying White Papers from major brands that ran successful marketing campaigns. I even volunteered my services for nonprofits and small startups just to get the experience I needed to deliver the best possible service I could. People began to associate me with building communication strategies that helped businesses propel towards excellence. I used everything I knew, and applied it to my business. I gave my clients insight into what they were missing by not investing into their brands. I found that a lot of people miss the small tweaks that they can make to their image both online and offline that can have a positive effect on their brand. Over time, these small tweaks can lead to a big splash in the pool of your niche.

 

Living your brand means making a complete lifestyle change. It means diving in head first every second that you get for even the smallest rewards. It means sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office mapping out your next big idea, or taking on an internship at your dream company even when you are wayyyyyyy past the average age of most interns.

 

Building a brand takes work, and sometimes more patience than originally expected. But the good news is that there are resources to help you start the process. Start out with some of the tips in our FREE Branding eBook. It's a great way to start small with ways to get your name out there as an expert in your field without feeling the overwhelm of a massive brand campaign. There are no data analyses or complicated flowcharts to give you. Just simple tips to give you a head start on the image you want to build. Download yours today and get started on building the brand of your dreams.

 

For more branding inspiration and business tips, subscribe to our mailing list today!

The Branding Diaries 

The Branding Diaries 

Brand Yourself For Success
the branding diaries

Everywhere you look these days, people are talking about the importance of building your brand. In the past, branding was something that was reserved for politicians and athletes. But these days, everyone, regardless of their industry, should be concerned about building their brand. In this modern era when everyone has updated information at their fingertips at all times, you want to position yourself to be able to take control of your image, even in the event that you are getting negative press.

Here are a couple of ways to get a jump start on your branding efforts.

1- Determine Your Approach

What exactly is it that you want to be known for? This is the most important step for branding success. You have to know yourangle before you start throwing things out there. It's much easier to take your time and develop your message than it is to throw things out there, then have to backtrack and clean things up later.

2- Study The Experts

There are certain people who dominate their industries, and make it look incredibly easy. But trust and believe, it probably looks a lot easier on the outside than it is on the inside. Most people who are considered heavy hitters in their respective fields have spent years working on their approach. Luckily for us on the outside we have a front row seat, and for all intents and purposes, a shortcut to learning how to build our own personal brands. If there are people who you admire, and they've done an excellent job at building their brand, you have the perfect opportunity to learn from them. Now, that doesn't mean make your brand mirror theirs. It is never a good idea to create an EXACT duplicate of someone else's brand. Instead, look to them for guidance and inspiration. Reach out to them and ask questions about what they did when they were in your position, or what tips they may have for you as you continue to build. Take those tips and figure out how similar or different they are to the way you've been building so far.  You have to pull out the things that make your brand unique.

3- Pick Your Platform

Your approach to how and why you want to build your brand will determine your platform of choice. There is a ton of debate in the digital atmosphere about establishing yourself on social media platforms effectively. Unless you have a team in place that is able to carry out a consistent voice, it is often extremely difficult to dominate on ALL platforms. But the good news is that you actually don't need to dominate on every single platform. Your target market may not be on all of those platforms. Perhaps you market to an older generation; Your ideal client (or next employer) is probably not on Snapchat. They are most likely to be found on LinkedIn or Facebook. Maybe your brand represents visual arts. In that case, something like Instagram or Pinterest is probably the best avenue. And maybe, after looking at the demographics for social media platforms, you realize that your audience is not even found on social media. Maybe they are sticklers about print media or in person networking. Pay attention to where your audience hangs out, and make your presence known.

4- Be Yourself

It's not enough to get out there and start rubbing elbows with every Tom, Dick, and Harry who might be interested in your brand. You've got to make sure that you are developing authentic relationships at all times. The tone of voice that your competitor uses may work well for them, but may sound awful for you. People will figure out very quickly whether or not you are truly genuine, and they will absolutely judge you for what they see. People appreciate authenticity. And they will much rather do business with someone they think they can trust. It does you no good to create this false persona online, only to have people discover a totally different person in real life. It gives them the impression that you don't value them, or that you aren't selling what you promise. Whatever you do, don't be that guy!

If you want to build your brand, you have to be willing to be patient throughout the process. The internet and social media have drastically changed the way we do business. We have to learn to roll with the punches, and be adaptable. We also have to remember to stay true to ourselves and what we originally set out to establish with our brand.

For more information on how to develop your own personal brand, download our FREE eBook on Branding when you subscribe to our list!