The power of your personal brand


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


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.

Get on the same page


Any entrepreneur who has enjoyed sustainable growth will preach the virtues of getting the senior management team on the same page. A common feature of businesses that are constantly firefighting is there is no common purpose, shared vision or strategy that’s binds them together. These shortcomings become compounded by poor communication resulting from insufficient internal conversations. Tell tale signs are no regular meetings or structured agenda in management sessions, failure to monitor performance against targets, meetings cancelled, people avoiding them because they have to be somewhere else (?). It’s no surprises that the outcome is a dysfunctional organisation which changes direction like the wind – the situation ends up with no one having a clue as to what’s going on, misunderstandings, people making assumptions and more serious, lack of accountability.

Whilst I am not an advocate of meetings for meeting sake, the importance of getting together regularly to monitor the important things is critical. Weekly or monthly meetings to review financial performance, cash flow, profitability, debtors, creditors, sales pipeline, work in progress, customer feedback, people performance, successes and issues which need sorting are pivotal to good housekeeping. Failure to put these disciplines in place will lead to a mob mentality.

These meetings should go in the diary, they are not optional, the team must turn up – those accountable should provide a structured statement as to state of play. Failure to do so will result in a feeling of being all over the place. No one knows what’s going on and a fragile business creaking at the seams will rapidly present itself. It’s the leaders role to put these disciplines in place – it’s the heart of teamwork. Quarterly more strategic meetings must also be instigated to review the big picture. Questions such as are we heading in the right direction, plans for new products, investments, resources, new markets, cash requirements, new marketing initiatives and additions to the team should feature in the debate.

One of the missing ingredients I regularly see is meetings which have no minutes, actions or outputs with allocated responsibilities and timescales. Meetings become effective when what is agreed is reviewed and monitored. Actions must be documented as these form the basis of any follow-up sessions.

The above may seem like a statement of the obvious, but the obvious is often very deceptive. Poor communication is such a common problem in small growing companies. Meetings can be seen as something only big companies do, however, regular sessions reviewing what’s going on delivers a massive pay back to the entrepreneur and the team. Individuals become accountable, no one can hide and all together it delivers a smoother more efficient business where everyone is on the same page. Growth equals more meetings, can be painful, but got to be done.

Clichés – Drive me mad….but


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.

Getting to know you


We had our Christmas do and communications day on Friday and it struck me how important it is to spend time just doing social stuff (obviously mixed with some business). We can get caught up in our own world of running around and chasing the next big thing, but its great getting together as a team and just having a laugh. The challenge of communication is one that every company faces – no matter how big or small. It’s an issue that I confront on a daily basis.

But I think we must make time for the social and getting to know our colleagues outside of the work place. It offers so much because doing more social things helps you to get under the skin of what makes individuals tick as well as their likes and dislikes. It can help so much in the day-to-day work environment when we understand the person sat next to us. Embedding a social dimension to work I feel helps to a number of areas:

1. We get a better understanding of what motivates and demotivates our colleagues

2. We begin to accept those behaviours that sometimes we find irritating

3. Informal communication can provide a deeper insight to what’s going on. Often we are more receptive to information in more relaxed environments

4. Creates conditions that are conducive to fun – at the end of the day if it’s not fun then life is miserable

5. We can identify skills and talents that were not forthcoming in the more formal work environment

6. Identify underlying currents of dissatisfaction and do something about it before it becomes a problem

7. Create a more harmonious environment in the long term

Get more socials on the things to do list in the New Year – it may work wonders for communication and team morale! I know its on my to do list.