The power of your personal brand

27/08/2015

It is not uncommon for people to choose or buy their favourite branded goods and items. This is because we have an affinity with them both emotionally and functionally. This is a concept you must apply to yourself – personal brand. An ability to strike a good relationship is dependant upon the personal chemistry we develop with others. Successful people have a powerful ability to connect with others through their personality and personal power.

Start to cultivate your personal brand as the success of future relationships. Partnerships and connections will largely hinge on how others view and perceive you. You can think of your personal brand on three levels:

Functional mastery – the expertise you bring and what you are good at. This element of your personal brand should articulate that you are accomplished at your vocation, trade or profession. Others will trust your judgement when you know what you are talking about.

Social Mastery – this is the ability to communicate effectively with others and develop meaningful dialogue. The social dimension also extends to our personal networks with which we associate. Credible, honourable and professional people tend to maintain ethical and similarly professional company – all too often we can be judge by the alliances we have – so be careful.

Spiritual Mastery – this relates to the how you conduct yourself, personal beliefs and values we maintain. Strong personal brands deliver on their promises, they are extremely ethical and transparent in how they conduct themselves and their life.

Think about your own personal brand and how you are perceived. Do the best job you can, develop an ability to engage with your community effectively and be a great communicator. Also be clear on what you stand for and don’t deviate from a strong ethical position. By doing this, you will build a strong personal brand – one that others will want to associate with.


7 thoughts on dealing with the pressure and loneliness of running a business

30/09/2014

One of the LinkedIn groups I am a member of, asked if anyone had any tips on how to attain a good work/life balance and deal with the pressure and loneliness (at times) of being a company leader. As I got a few likes on my response, I thought I would share it on my blog.

I have always had a keen interest in the entrepreneurial mindset, in fact I have written a book on it as well. Having observed lots of successful business people over the years, it would appear that those who win, have good housekeeping embedded in their company, strong customer focus and one that often gets overlooked – mental toughness and resilience.

Growing a business is a roller coaster and you should expect the unexpected, period. The loneliness of running a business is a reoccurring comment made by individuals I meet – here are some thoughts:

  1. Many of the things we worry about are of are own making – be careful of the conversations you have with yourself, they can be extremely destructive
  2. Create space to think – success is 20% thinking and 80% doing. So many business people forget the importance of ‘time to think’ (I walk my dog for 2 hours a day over the Lancashire Moors).
  3. Have 2-3 people whose views you respect and trust – give them a call.
  4. Get involved with entrepreneurial networks – we are all worrying about the same things. Be open and share.
  5. Aim to build a great team who can share the burden.
  6. Life is short – remind yourself that a late payment is not the end of the world. Far worse things could happen.
  7. Maintain good health – without it… Say no more.

Success Factor For High Growth Entrepreneurs

12/02/2012

Success Factor is my second book and it has not been given the attention it deserved over the last 12 months, the main reason being the focus on several major tenders. I am now back onto it, with bags of momentum.

I am a great believer that successful high growth entrepreneurs embrace the right mindset for success, here is the summary:

The ten steps to a winning mindset involve:

1.   Define your personal intentions and align them to the things you love doing. With this sense of purpose and clarity you can then begin the journey to achieving what you desire from your life, business or profession. Remember alignment must be achieved between personal and professional intentions – they cannot work in isolation.

2.   Prepare yourself for the journey by creating the right mental conditions. Resilience and mental toughness are directly related to your sense of purpose. If you give up after the first hurdle then your purpose is not strong enough! It wont be easy! Be careful about what you think about! That’s what you will get.

3.   Personal responsibility for your actions means that you will make choices and not sacrifices. Belief in yourself is a key part of the way to think – if you don’t believe in yourself then no one will! When things go wrong don’t fall to victim mentality as this gives rise to a whole series of self defeating internal discussions – become the master of your own destiny.

4.   Taking action must quickly follow all the thinking. Success is down to 20% thinking and 80% doing. Strategies emerge when we take action – strategy comes alive in the execution – it is this action that creates serendipity – people will often talk about getting lucky! Success Factor believes that luck is the product of intense activity and personal clarity!  We then start to walk the path of our destiny.

5.   Embrace the spirit of cooperation and working with a team ethos. Going it alone can be a tiresome and difficult journey. Caring and working with others can be the catalyst for us reaching our destination. Finding those who can support our shortcomings and plug the gap in our performance, can make things happen smoother and quicker.

6.   Learning to lead ourselves before we lead others is vital. Once self-leadership has been mastered the leadership of other can commence. This means we must foster an environment that create the conditions for success to flourish, we coach those we are supporting, we communicate with impact and we ensure those under our leadership conform to the rules.

7.   Playing by the rules is an essential part of long-term sustainable success – we must observe the value of humility and operating by a set of values that show caring for others and our environment. Practicing the philosophy of giving before we receive warm the hearts of others and is visible representation of the fact that we live a life of integrity – our reputation is often all we have to trade.

8.   Engaging with others and building win – win relationships is a vital step to success. By embracing a mindset that life is truly a pitch we begin to recognise that competition means that we have to sell to get what we want – this could be our skill and expertise, qualifications, talents or products and services. By active listening and marrying carefully our proposition to what others want – we start to build relationships

9.   A creative mindset helps us to truly stand out from the crowd. Creative capital is often viewed as the ultimate source of competitive advantage because it unlocks our imagination – drives innovative thought and delivers remarkable differentiated results. Keeping a fresh mind and outlook enables us to remain ahead of the game and become memorable to those we need to influence.

10.   Going the extra mile by doing things others wont do will get you remembered. Life has become extremely competitive which means there are far more applicants than jobs, more suppliers than contracts, less places on popular courses.  The only way to get the edge is by digging deep and going one step further than others.


Clichés – Drive me mad….but

08/06/2011

I sat in a meeting the other day and at one point I thought I was in an episode of The Office – in the space of half an hour I counted over 30 clichés. It made me reflect on the power and meaning of many of these phrases, ones that we so often use to fill in the gaps in conversation, particularly when we don’t know what else to say. My conclusion is that when you get under the skin of their meaning, they really do teach us a lot about life:

Win – win – Don’t shaft anyone or it will come back to haunt you, big time

Can’t see the wood for the trees – sometimes you get so close to a problem you just need to stand back

Think out of the box – stay awake and try new ways of doing things

What gets measured gets done – focus on the priorities and what will deliver the result

Trust your gut feel – listen to your inner voice – it’s usually pretty accurate

Headless chicken – stop and think about what you are doing – success is 20% thinking 80% doing

Trust me – why should someone trust you without you proving yourself

Practice makes perfect – Malcolm Gladwell tells us that we need 10,000 hours of it, there are no short cuts to success

The point of this blog is, so much insight can be derived from the wisdom of clichés, but before you use them think about what they really mean.


The Power of the Brand

05/05/2011

I was sat in Costa Coffee on Oxford Road in Manchester this morning and it created an extremely thought-provoking experience. Having been in a meeting nearby, myself and colleague Heather, decided to go and have a brew to catch up on a few things that needed to be sorted for next week……..

Within the space of 5 minutes a queue of 30 people deep developed, an orderly line leading out on the street. With only two people serving – who I must admit were doing a fantastic job – an amazing buzz was maintained in the cafe, no one moaning or grumbling.  Many of these customers had been waiting for over 15 minutes for a take away coffee without complaint. Under normal circumstances most people would have walked out but they just waited with amazing patience.

Popular brands can withstand challenges because they act as a magnet to others and create a customer experience that breeds loyal followers. There was a spirit about the place that combined – great location, sound employees, quality product and a physical environment that pulled people through the door. At the end of the day those waiting could have gone 100 yards up the road and purchased their breakfast without the painful wait – but the power of the brand and the experience acted as a form of gravitational pull to Costa fans. I got the feeling that there was no other place to go when the reality was other options did exist.

A great customer experience is enhanced by a fantastic brand, a lesson for all growth wish entrepreneurs who want themselves and their business to stand out from the ground.


Why do staff just not get it?

23/03/2011

I wish I had a tenner for every time I heard a business owner, entrepreneur or manager say this. It often relates to must do tasks such as bringing in projects in on time and budget, managing costs, chasing money or outstanding quotations, getting out important messages to customers, following up on important leads, getting quotations in on time, sorting out the hospitality of guests. Executing key business priorities that seem so obvious regularly remain a blur to those we expect to just get on with it. Well the first lesson is dont make the assumption that others do actually understand what is expected.

I believe effective leadership is all about helping staff to understand what and why certain tasks are important. It’s all about communicating the consequences of not fulfilling certain duties and the potential impact of not doing them. Communication must be delivered with clarity and candour.

Here is how a friend of mine who runs a small creative business delivered a communication to her sales manager “if you don’t hit the sales target for the next six months the business will struggle to deliver on revenue and profit targets, this has implication on the teams viability and jobs will be at risk, including yours. We will be reviewing performance every Friday afternoon”.

Seems such an obvious thing to do but the reality is many growing companies lack this discipline, much to the frustration of the entrepreneur. Being too busy is often cited as the excuse – there should be no surprises when the wheels come off. Fire fighting becomes a way of life

For businesses to succeed this level of focus is vital. Good leadership is about communicating with clarity what is expected and the reasons why. Ensuring conformity to the KPI’s and values is a leaders job.

So why do so many entrepreneurs live with lack lustre and mediocre performance, then fail to address important issues head on – they just moan about it and give themselves high blood pressure….



The Memorable Principle- use it to stand out

23/02/2011

The Memorable Principle is a simple creative philosophy that states we acknowledge, notice and remember things that are outstandingly different. Success invariably means that individuals and organisations must work hard to gain a foothold in environments where competition is fierce. For example, getting a job interview with a prestigious employer, breaking into a new customer, winning a place on a high performing sports team. Once we get the break we need to stay in there!

Successful people apply the Memorable Principle on levels, firstly to get the break and secondly to maintain a foothold to secure sustained success:

Getting the break – often the hardest part of the success journey is getting the opportunity. In sport you become memorable by putting in hours and hours of practice and reaching a level of fitness and skill that places you above the competition. In business it’s bringing a high degree of perceived value over and above other players. Maybe it’s an innovative brand or advertising campaign that’s carries with it the wow factor. What’s in your treasure chest of ideas that will deliver a memorable experience?

Maintaining your position when we have been accepted we must continue to use the memorable principle to build our personal reputation and indeed that of the organisation we represent. By doing this we embed ourselves in our community or market place. The simple things often make us memorable – this could be the level of service we offer or just caring about what we do. Delivering something of great value when the recipient was not expecting it can leave an impression. The knock on effect from this is the communication to others how great the experience was

Continually ask yourself how, can I be memorable – maintain a log of great ideas that you view as been really effective in capturing the imagination. What can you learn and use to your own advantage?