“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Build Your Small Business From the Inside Out
Building this culture, this underlying feeling, buzz, atmosphere, that is so hard to replicate, is integral to building your brand and attracting your ideal customers. Building your small business should start with you. It has to. Understanding you and your values and then building your business from that core base. It is these attributes that inevitably shape your brand.
A word of caution. Small business owners need to resolve their core values, or run the risk of their businesses always having problems. The cracks start to show very early with staff and then customer relationships. Not only is it difficult to run a great business when your values aren't clear and communicated, but it is more difficult to market and position a business where the personality is not crystal clear - and this is determined by behaviour and values. You need to be authentic. I think the larger question is: How well do you really know yourself? Personal development is one of the best business investments a small business owner can make. Understanding yourself, your staff and your customers.
How can we learn from some of the thought leaders who understand the concept of being authentic and true to their inner calling and values?
Of course, thought leaders are a brand in their own right, but they didn't start out that way. Take for example Gary Vanderchuk. Personally, I love Gary, but not everyone does. I love his authenticity. What you see is what you get. A value of authenticity resonates with me. He reminds me of my sister Nat who is so open and black and white about things. This trait of Gary's for being frank, coupled with his enthusiasm and energy (not to mention a lot of elbow grease) has catapulted his brand and his Wine TV show to legendary status. He has been true to his inner voice, warts and all and attracted raving fans because of it. Now he is not for everyone, but it is clear that he stands for something.
What do you think your staff say about you? Your customers?
Jeanne Bliss has a great website called Customer Bliss. There are great videos on this website. It is clear to me that Jeanne has innate empathy for people. She just gets it. She understands the value of being customer centric. She talks about "your story" - What is being said about you because of the decisions you make and the actions you take. Bringing this level of self-awareness to business is a much-needed area of business development. This "software" that Tom Peter talks of, is often overlooked. Yet, as a small business owner, "your story" is even more important because the relationships we form with our customers are often more intimate than in larger businesses. The ‘About Us’ page is the top searched page on most websites. People buy off people they like, know and trust.What does your website say about you, your story?
Dr. Stephen Covey has always approached his area of expertise from a pragmatic approach and uses human psychology and compelling story telling to package his teachings. The reason he is so successful is he has followed his inner voice to do what he does best and that is to teach. Even today, he is using more and more mediums to communicate his learning to others. His 7 (now 8) habits are principles to live by and are ingrained in his value set. Intrinsically, we know that they make sense and are simple concepts. However, it is Dr. Covey’s story telling that brings these concepts to life. The "green and clean" story will stay with me for life ?_ a story of how he taught his son to look after the lawn and take responsibility for something at a young age.
Michael Port's book, How to book yourself solid shows a lot about his values. Michael is clearly a very nice person. He cares. Full stop. He has invested so much of himself to build his consulting business and the reason he is so successful and will continue to be is that he is invested. His latest venture called Think Big Revolution - it is all about thinking bigger about who you are and what you offer the world. It is a really great premise because it is a mindset of abundance which I love and a Pay it Forward mentality which is equally appealing to me. Michael is a successful businessman and entrepreneur no doubt, but I bet he measures part of his success in the way he is able to serve others which is why this is part of his story.
Every week, he does a one-hour collaborative coaching session for small businesses. You’ve got to love that and what he stands for. What do you do for your customers that show them that you care?
Chris Brogan is known as a great blogger. I really love the way he shows so much of himself in this blogs and, even better, his YouTube videos. I also love his book reviews. Chris has positioned himself as a social media expert, but has a totally human practical approach to his viewpoint. Similar to John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing - Great practical advice.
He has started a business called Human Systems Works. Wow Chris. Go get them. What I love about this is the community focus. There is no real material gain, it is just nice, and dare I say, the right thing to do.
I guess anyone can put values up on their website or have a mission statement but it is how they embody those values day to day that really matters. These values guide the work we do and the work we choose not to do. I make decisions every day in my business guided by these principals.
The key take away for you is to look at the values that you live your life by and ask yourself: Are you using these in your business? Are you being true to your inner core beliefs? If so, how can you action these even more fully so they make a real different to your staff and customers everyday?
You might be interested in this upcoming event...
NEW: Social Media for Small Business Webinar Series
Practical ways to use social media to grow your business
Online Webinars - Starting 28 May 2013
NEW webinar series: designed to dispel the myths about social media and arm small business owners with skills and know-how to make social media a powerful force for business development and bottom line results.
Experts will present practical ways to use social media to:
- Build brand awareness for your organisation
- Network and make connections all over the world
- Build your personal profile and position you as a credible authority
- Drive traffic to your website, blog or social networks
- Convert social media followers to leads and leads to customers
- Grow you reach with suppliers, staff, resources, alliances, sponsors