cute kid in boa and glasses

January is often the time when entrepreneurs look at their business and assess where they want to go in the year ahead. Perhaps you’ve committed to a few goals like bringing in new clients, making more money or building a new website, and you’ve even written out the action steps to make it happen.

But unless you’ve created a solid home for your brand, it will be challenging to meet these goals effectively. Before you can attract more clients, make more money and build a successful business, you have to create a brand that’s clear, consistent, compelling and engaging.

And it’s easier than you think. You just have to do your homework first, before you start laying bricks.

So we’re going to tackle this in two posts – consider this first post your brand’s foundation, and much like the foundation of a house, without it, the house might as well be built of cards. The second post is all about laying the bricks – key pieces that will not only hold your brand together, but will make it grow larger and sturdier by the day.

Here are the first five foundational steps to building a rockin’ brand in 2015:

1. Know thyself– This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people can’t simply communicate who they are and what they have to offer. Take some time this month to get to know yourself better. Who are you? What do you stand for? What value do you provide to your clients? Once you’re comfortable talking about yourself and the work you do in an easy and even educational manner, the more likely you’ll attract the right kinds of clients.

2. Know thy client – Who are your clients, exactly? What are their pain points and what do they desire most in life? You have to be able to eloquently express why you are the one to help them get what they want. When your clients feel known, acknowledged and understood, they’ll stick with you through thick and thin. This is one of the main factors that builds brand loyalty.

3. Stand for something – Why do you do what you do? In his best-selling book, Start With Why, author Simon Sinek shares that people don’t care what you do, they want to know why you do it. Why is what you do important to you and why should we care? Because at the end of the day, the people you work with (95% of the time) will share your why – it will be a common thread that draws you together. If you’ve never watched Simon’s awesome Ted talk, you can do so here.

4. BE likeable, not perfect – Be willing to be yourself, flaws and all. It’s what makes you human. Let us have a peek behind the curtain and share your personality with your community. Every day, there’s more noise and more clutter to cut through and people will continue to edit how much they allow into their inbox and personal space. By being authentic and generous, there’s a much greater likelihood that they’ll invite you back.

5. Focus on relationships – Brands are built by people – by their thoughts, feelings and musings about a particular person or business. Your brand exists in the minds of your audience, so it’s imperative that you spend time building and nurturing those relationships. As the saying goes, “people don’t want to know how much you know, they want to know how much you care.” Great brands understand that their emotional connection – how people feel about them – is at the heart of their success.

Ultimately, the people who humanize the web, connect and build relationships and communicate with their potential clients in a real and thoughtful way, are the most likely to develop a community around their brand and cultivate success.

In Part Two of this series, we’ll talk about concrete steps you can take that will position you as an authority, engage your audience and build a loyal community around your brand.

Little Fashionista


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