Whether you like it or not, as a small business owner you have a brand. It's the way your customers feel about your business. The way you interact with them. The language you use over the phone, on your website, in your emails.
Even if you're not a marketing 'guru' one of the best things you can do for your business is learn more about how to boost your brand presence and stand your business out in a crowded market.
So today, I want to give you a couple of quick tips that helped me sort through the blur in my head about what my 'brand' stood for and how WE was different. Working through this short exercise helped me understand 'yes I am different and this is why'- and then form some key statements and messages that I was able to share to build community and a strong, values based presence online.
So let's crack into it!
Step 1: Know Thy Competitors
Understand your competition and you're on your way to understanding what makes you different from them. Write down your top three closest competitors and consider their positioning. Consider their pricing, who are they talking to? Who is their target market? What core messages are they sending? What is their brand personality? Are they traditional? Modern? Hip? Serious? What different and unique offerings or skills do they bring to the table?
Then, reflecting on those answers, consider the unique values, skill set and personality that you bring to your business. How you can differentiate yourself from your competitors? Ask yourself, instead of being like (x) I will be like (x).
Step 2: Know Thy Industry
What don't you like about your industry? What goes on in your industry that you don't agree with or feel passionate about changing?
Often in any industry there are aspects that need improvement. If you feel passionately about making change in that area, then consider bringing this in as one of your core brand messages.
Showing people you care about making positive change and contributing to a better community is a great way of building brand loyalty. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. So if you can position yourself as a person in your industry who cares about making critical change, you've giving your customers a great reason to choose you over your competition.
Step 3: Know Thy Core Messages & Values
I mentioned this above, but once you've gone through this tutorial try to finish up by coining 3-5 short key brand messages. These messages will be your guidance going forward for everything you do in your business- from deciding what to post on social media to understanding how to offer ongoing value to your customers.
Print your brand messages and values off and put them above your desk so you see them every day! They are the passion or 'heart' behind your business and they will help you keep going when the going gets tough (which let's face it, we all know it does!).
And hey, if you need more help with your branding, head over and join us in the WE VIP Members Club because this month we're talking all things branding for your business with the help of the wonderful Tonia Hill from Crisp Graphics.
Covering a number of topics this in depth Masterclass will help you further refine your brand AND build on that message through your online messaging and design. Topics include:
- What is branding
- 6 reasons to invest in branding
- Define your target audience
- Give your business a persona
- Creating a brand moodboard
- Colour psychology – how colour influences buyers
- How to put together a colour scheme
- What your font choices say about your business
- How to choose a great font pair
And if you're in the mood for some in person coaching, why not join Tonia at her next upcoming Brand Foundations Workshop and bang out some real progress with help from our resident branding expert!
Do you know how your business is going to make money? Like, really know? How many products do you need to sell each year, each month- each day to allow you a good income from your business?
If the answer is no- don't freak out!
So many business owners don't have a clear plan for how they are going to make money. They start passion based or hobby businesses with the HOPE of making money but without a solid idea of how that is going to happen.
It's all part of the business journey and some people are further along that journey than others.
The good news?
Now is a great time to start learning how to think more strategically about the products and services that you offer so you can scale your business.
- Getting real about your existing income and your business situation right now
- Setting goals that will push you a little bit further than you feel comfortable with
- Reviewing your pricing, your product suite and your potential to scale
and if necessary, planning adjustments to pricing and packages or adding new products or services that will help you scale your income.
It doesn't mean:
- Overwhelm. This approach means working smarter, not harder
- Unrealistic goals. Yes this is about setting your goals high but it's also about breaking them down into management time frames
- Knee jerk reactions. It's time to stop working day to day hoping to make your next sale, and start working with focus towards a solid end goal.
You can do it!
With a little bit of support I know from experience than every single one of you are capable of growing a 6 figure business that generates you a good income.
All it means is reviewing how you are making money at the moment, and if it's not realistic to make a good income with just that income stream- brainstorming around how you can add, repackage or reprice your products.
WE are here to support you with this!
This month in the WE VIP Members Club our Masterclass Topic is Pricing Your Products and Creating Multiple Income Streams.
We have Donna Swart from The Profit School guiding us through this live with lots of time for both learning and Q & A.
As always, this training is recorded and saved in the Members Club. If you're not a member yet when you join you'll get instant access to all of our past trainings on all sorts of topics from biz mindset to marketing and planning.
Wow the WE Community Facebook Group is fast approaching 10,000 members and we are celebrating by giving back to our tribe!
If you're a member of the Facebook Group and you're a NZ woman in business, enter your details below to be in to win a day of WE Spotlights on Social Media.
For one day each of the lucky 10 winners will be:
- promoted on our Facebook Group Banner image (see example above)
- promoted on the WE Facebook Page and Instagram Accounts
And the kicker- our whole community is behind promoting the winners on their social media accounts too! So you could be in to win a day of exposure to thousands of people- wohoo!
Do you want to build a strong online presence and brand for your small business but you're struggling to make an impact?
This month in the VIP Members Club (get on the waitlist to join us here) we're talking how to differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a strong brand and online presence that drives sales for your business.
VIP Member Michelle Sokolich has done this really well and today I wanted to share with you 3 clever things she's done that you can do too! So here goes...
1. KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET & CORE MESSAGE
I talk about this all the time but I can't stress how important it is!
Once you know your target market you can start talking to them in a language they understand. And that converts to sales.
When you talk to everyone, you attract no one. So get tough on yourself and narrow your niche and you might just see results.
Michelle owns Show and Tell, a content marketing agency that helps small businesses tell their story online.
This is what she says on her Home page:
"Every business has a story. You might think you’re just a building company, a daycare centre or a café. But behind that logo, there’s a story to tell. A story about the dream you have, the journey you’ve taken so far and all the highs and lows along the way.
Sharing your story through video has the power to move your customers, to create an honest connection so they feel like they know you before they walk through the door."
I love this because in just a couple of sentences Michelle has:
- Told me who her target customer is. Someone who has a small business and a dream but maybe isn't getting that across to customers very well
- Highlighted the importance of her skill sets. How powerful storytelling is especially combined with the strength of using video
- Touched on a result- that if you get your storytelling right, your customers will feel a strong, authentic connection with you = big win!
Because Michelle knows her target customer well, she is able to speak to them in a way that resonates. She's not talking to big business here.
She's talking to small business, and she makes it clear that she 'get's your struggle. It makes her relatable and professional all at the same time.
2. BACK YOUR MESSAGING UP WITH STRONG VISUAL IMAGERY
Strong visual imagery including video, photos and graphics will help you build on your brand image and define a consistent look online.
When you get this consistency you're telling people- hey, I get it. I am a small business but I have my ducks in a row. I know what this brand stands for, who I'm talking to and what I represent.
Your brand personality will start to shine through.
This is what Michelle is amazing at and you can see how she uses imagery herself by:
Using video on her homepage, Facebook page and Instagram accounts to tell both her own story and the stories of her customers.
Using high quality, professional brand images that help you get to 'know' her and feel familiar and welcomed to her service.
3. SHARE YOUR CONTENT CONSISTENTLY
The clincher is that once you have created your content you actually need to share it! Don't let your content get sucked up into cyber space- if you find creative ways to share it with your audience you will start to make an impact.
Michelle is also amazing at telling people about her services consistently. She knows how to share her own journey and regularly shares online in spaces like our free support group for NZ women in business:
Check out the responses she gets to her posts- amazing!
For some of you promoting your business online might feel overwhelming. There is a fine line between 'spamming' people and sharing your business details.
But you can be clever with your online marketing strategy using Facebook groups and I've shared a few tips here on how to do just that.
HOW YOU CAN START USING THESE STRATEGIES
If you're reading this and thinking "yes, I definitely need to up my game but all of this sounds time consuming and expensive," don't worry, there is a way forward.
Being a successful small business owner is all about having big dreams and working in small steps! So you could break it down into phases and do this over time. For example:
PHASE 1 (allow 1-2 months):
Research and read up on how to develop your brand strategy, niche and core messages. Give yourself time to learn about these things and get to know your own business and key strengths better.
Hone your messaging on your own and if you feel like you need to, reach out to a copywriter or coach to help you fine tune your message. We've got some great copywriters in the business directory who can support you with this if you need guidance.
Once you've got strong core messages in place, reassess your visual presence and decide if your existing branding and imagery do the trick.
If you need to and you can afford it, now is the time to reach out to designers who can help you develop a visual brand, or to a storyteller like Michelle who can help you prepare to get your message out there online with video.
Once you've got your core messaging and smart visuals ready, it's time to start getting that message out there.
Research online FB groups filled with your target market. Some- like the WE Network Support Group if you're a VIP Member- (get on the waitlist here), will allow you to directly promote your service. You should make note of those groups.
Other groups that don't allow promotional posts you may still be able to make use of by creating a presence as a regular contributor and adding good value.
And then of course you can use Facebook Ads and your own FB page and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to drive traffic to your site.
The important thing to remember is that sales posts don't sell! Don't forget to check out this post on how to create engagement and interest online using storytelling, it'll give you a great idea of how to generate sales without yelling 'buy me buy me!'
GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME
Developing a strong presence like Michelle has can take time for a small business owner. Not everyone knows about branding, copywriting and marketing their business so for some of you the learning curve might be steep!
But if I can give one piece of advice in conclusion it is this. No matter how interested or good you are at marketing right now, if you are a small business owner, the biggest gift you can give your business is to better your understanding in this area.
You are the driving force of your business and even the best products and services can get lost without good promotion. That does no one any favours! Your business loses out, you lose out and the amazing customers who would've loved your product lose out if they never find you.
So apply yourself to learning about these things and you never know- you might find you enjoy it and I certainly know you'll enjoy the results!
You are one of more than 15,000 women in this community. Some of you are going to make. it. big. Some of you are not.
So, what makes one of you fly while another flops?
I'll tell you because it's no secret!
Most women in business don't have a completely unique idea or product. In fact, most of the women in our community are selling something that potentially hundreds of other women are selling too.
The difference is that some people know how to communicate their value really, really well to the people that matter. And others don't.
• They know how to answer questions about their business confidently, telling people why they are the best at solving their key challenge
• They help their audience feel like they understand their needs
• They clearly describe that special thing that makes them the the ideal choice for their customer
Here's how they do it:
Step 1: Analyse your competitors
Who is their target market? What makes them different to you? Are they traditional? Modern? Friendly? Serious? What is their brand personality and what are their core messages?
Step 2: Define your brand personality
You have your own unique skill set and brand personality. How is that different from your competitors?
Step 3: What is the urgent pain point for your target customer?
Is this something your competitors can help them solve? If so, how do they do that? Is this something that you can help them solve? If so, how do you do that in a way that is different from your competitors?
GRAB YOUR FREE COPY OF THE PRINTABLE: 3 STEPS TO FINDING YOUR SECRET SAUCE
If you want to learn more about how to define your special sauce, download your FREE copy of the printable
AND REMEMBER TO SIGN UP TO THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY- PACKED WITH BRAND AND AUDIENCE HACKS YOU CAN APPLY TO YOUR BIZ TODAY!
ACTION: Tell me below, what is one thing that makes your business different from the competition?
You know the feeling. It's Monday. You make it through the morning routine, you sit down at your desk and... nothing. Brain fuzz and overwhelm sets in.
Realisation hits. You have got SO much to do. And only a few hours to do it. What do you work on first? Why? What are you even trying to achieve here? Is this all worth it?!!!!
Let me know if this sounds familiar. You’re in a ton of FB Groups and let’s be honest- you spend a bit of time in there. It’s just so damn interesting reading posts, seeing what challenges other people are having and what they’ve got on the go in their biz!
But sometimes being in Facebook Groups has a big downside. It can make you feel like you’re just not good enough. Other people seem to be doing so well and you’re just not. there. yet.
We had such a wonderful night at the Auckland Christmas party- I've totally decided that 'networking' nights are not for me but parties... well I can do that 😉.
Honestly, this informal way to meet others and actually get to know them and make friendships has served the WE Community so well in the last 12 months. We are getting to know each other as friends and true supporters and that is making a difference in both our lives and in our businesses.
So proud of this crew who come together as women who don't know each other but always hold out their hands and hearts in welcome.
Thank you wonderful women of WE for a fabulous year in 2017, can't wait to see what 2018 brings for us all!
Full set of pics over on FB here
One of the most exciting things to happen at WE since our launch less than 12 months ago! We now have a dedicated online marketplace where our amazing community of NZ women in business can sell and buy from each other!!
Beautiful Business - www.beautifulbusinessnz.com
Tell us about your business. What is the problem that you solve and how do you solve it?
Having a great idea for a new business is a wonderful feeling, but soon turns to frustration and overwhelm if you are not making progress towards your business goals.
As an accountant, I have come across so many business women who either want to launch (and have absolutely no idea how to do it, or what to do first), or have started but have ended up chasing their tail and not making any real progress.
I work with business women who are tired of not gaining traction and together we create a road-map to achieve their business goals.
Do you ever see a brand that really stands out from the crowd and wonder why? What special magic are they using that makes them so remarkable? And how can you get your hands on summa that?!
If you want to be one of those brands then read on because today we're talking three simple things you can do right now to up your branding game.
I'm so passionate about this topic because once I figured this out in my business I went from tentative, shy marketer (who generally felt scared of 'spamming' people) to confident, passionate brand ambassador happy to shout to the rooftops about why my business is different (and better for my target customer) than the rest.
So here goes!
Did you know that:
-According to the NZ government there are over 170,000 small businesses in NZ owned by females?
- That the government also recognises that "women may not have equal access to the opportunities offered by self employment." (NZ Ministry of Women's Affairs)
So you've decided you're ready to take the leap and get that Facebook sales funnel working- wohoo! But there's just one problem.
You log into the Facebook Ads interface and freeze. It looks just a tad overwhelming and all you can see is your precious dollars goin' down the drain...
Are you feeling isolated working from home alone? Or that you are lacking support taking your biz to the next level?
We hold monthly mastermind and networking/ social events for our VIP Members around NZ, and if you live rurally don't worry- we hold them online too.
If you're not a VIP Member yet don't worry- you can come along for a guest visit to see what the meet ups are all about. We're really keen to meet you and your local Team Leader and crew will make you feel welcome.
Simply register below- we'll keep you updated on the next event coming up in your area and how to RSVP!
Register for a guest visiT
The benefits of peer mentoring are real:
- No more 'feeling alone' on your business journey. Lean on your Mastermind group for support and encouragement
- Make meaningful friendships and connections that lead to collaborations and business growth
- Extend your network rapidly and grow the reach of your business by working with your Mastermind team to co promote businesses
- Pick up new skills and knowledge from other members in your group who may be able to offer solutions, connections or tactics to help you solve a business or mindset roadblock
- Start thinking bigger and stretching your boundaries by surrounding yourself with amazing people doing amazing things
Because you're reading this I'm picking you're either thinking about starting an online business or you've done and you're finding it's not quite as easy as some people make it look online right?!
Well, I've done it and today I'm going to share with you a few key tips I learnt along the way- plus some truth bombs about what really has to go down in order for you to start making any sort of serious money with this. The truth hurts ladies so beware!
So you've started your dream business, you're busy trying to 'get the word out there'... and you're finding it's just a little bit harder to than you imagined? The budget is tight, you don't have enough time in the day and the learning curve is so steep it is starting to feel like too... much... hard... work.
All of a sudden, things aren't so fun anymore. This has become serious- your dream, your income and your pride are on the line. The fear of failure is real. So, what do you DO about it?!
One of hardest times you can ever have in business or in life is when you feel totally disconnected from what you are doing. You know the feeling. Things aren't going well. More losses than wins. Constant pressure to do more, earn more. And you just wonder why?
There's been a run of members in The WE Community struggling with these feelings this month- maybe it's the change of season heading into winter? Maybe business is just getting tougher. All of those posts resonate with me so much because I've been there too. And I know to get through it, you have to look to your heart.
Which is exactly what Tara does for people- helps them look inwards to focus on what really matters, and then get results. I love that Tara is so aligned with what she loves and has built a successful business around her passion. Thank you Tara for sharing your story!
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. When we hired our first employee, we had no systems in place. It was the classic 'hire her and hope it sticks' type scenario that can definitely go either way.
The good news was, it did stick, but the bad news was, we did our employee and out business a disservice by not being more prepared. There was a massive missed opportunity there that I don't want you to make if you're thinking about hiring or outsourcing in your biz!
When I first read Denise's biz story I was so impressed by what she was doing in her biz I skimmed over the rest of it. Then I re read it and realised she has 6 children! That is amazing and I am so blown away by what Denise is doing in her business and for our community. Thank you Denise for sharing your story!
Are you a WE VIP who has had some success through your business? Maybe you've had a period of fast growth, success on social media or overcome personal adversity to grow your business?