What makes a great brand? What creates loyalty? What makes you want to keep coming back time and time again to buy from a brand?
Picture a brand you truly love. Why do you love it so much? I bet you could list a number of things.
I've spent some time thinking about this lately and have come up with a lot of signs of a great brand. But, after some further thought, I was able to distill things down to 4 signs that signal a great brand and are always present in great brands.
1.) The brand engages you on an emotional level
Great brands stir our emotions. We absolutely love them and are major advocates for them to them point where we will even stand up and defend them when others disparage them. Some may saying that getting emotionally involved with a brand is going a little too far, but think about your favorite brands - the ones you know, count on, and love in your life - you are emotionally involved with them. That is OK and perfectly normal. It also means the brand has done a good job in creating a relationship with in addition to #2, #3, and #4.
2.) The brand provides a truly unique and incredible service to it's clients
Think of your favorite brands and how good they service their clients, including you. Their service may be one of the reasons you love them so much. They aren't perfect, no company is, and they know it, so they go above and beyond to provide service to their clients and make sure they have a great experience.
3.) The brand takes care of you
To go along with great service, the brand actively works to take care of you - not just when you have a service issue, but as a customer in general. They may give you special offers. They may check in on you from time to time just to see how you are doing. They reach out in unique and creative ways. They show genuine gratitude for you putting your trust in them. They go above and beyond to take care of you and make you feel like part of their family.
4.) The brand listens to you
Lastly, on top of service and going above and beyond to create a great relationship and take care of you, a great brand will truly listen to their clients and work to serve them in the ways they want. They will take the feedback, both good and bad, and use it to create better products, services, customer environment, and tailor things to what people are asking for. And they will prove to go above and beyond in doing so and not just say they do it. They will show it and they will keep their clients engaged and updated on the progress.
If you look at those 4 signs of a great brand and think of your favorite brands, they no doubt have them and if you embrace them in building your business and commit to them, you will develop deeply loyal customers who are raving fans and great advocates for all you do.
Every should an advisor or mentor for themselves. You do not have to pay for these services, although when you do pay, you are much more apt to take it seriously because your money is on the line.
It is important to seek out the right advisor or mentor for your needs - not just someone with experience. You need someone who understands you and were you are on your journey of development. You need someone who understands your business and it's needs not only now, but in the future. And you need someone willing to work with you on a consistent basis.
Once you find someone that fits the criteria, do everything possible to work with them. The benefits will be tremendous.
For example, I mentor a young entrepreneur that has a fast growing startup. This entrepreneur is very good at a few things in the business, but crafting professional communications is not one of them - at least not yet. Recently, there was a client contract dispute in which the entrepreneur needed to get an attorney to represent the business in a specific state. They had no idea what to do and were just going to fire off a couple sentence email that would not have gotten a response. They knew they needed help.
So, they reached out to me and we crafted the message together. I shared with them how to address an attorney, how to lay out the facts and desired outcome from retaining their services, and craft a professional message that would get an attorney to respond and work further to potentially represent them. I saved this entrepreneur hours of time and headache and taught them how they need to approach professionals for their services. I also walked through the situation with them to see the client's point of view and come up with a plan and solution that when communicated by the attorney would most likely resolve the matter and cost a few hundred bucks at most.
This type of mentorship can be priceless. I know it was for me when I started out (how do you think I learned to craft professional messages!)
No matter what stage you are in for your growth and that of your business, you should seek to bring in the best people you can around you to fill your gaps and help you become better in these areas. Remember, the bigger you grow yourself and your capabilities, the bigger business you can have.
Reach out and seek an advisor (or two), today!
I get to meet, speak to, and work with a lot of top entrepreneurs. I am always impressed by their ways of thinking, success routines, and the effort they put in to be the best in their business and in serving their clients/markets.
But, still, as good as these people are, they aren't perfect and have to overcome challenges. Many times, those challenges are self-imposed. I was thinking about this the other and I started to look at the most common ways I've seen that entrepreneurs sabotage themselves and hurt their success. Here are 6 of the most common ones.
This is probably the most prevalent. Everyone goes through periods of doubting themselves and their abilities, especially entrepreneurs, but the key is someone's ability to pull themselves out of it and not let self-doubt create unnecessary destruction in your life and business. The first place I always start when I feel self-doubt creeping in is to stop and ask myself if what I am feeling is really true or just an emotional reaction to current events, a bad day, etc. Usually, it is a temporary outside event or influence that is short lived and in understanding it, I can change my thought patterns and gain perspective so that I don't let it sabotage me. You can do the same.
Taking on Too Much and Not Delegating
It is sometimes tough for entrepreneurs to truly let go and remove themselves from the day to day tactical needs of their business - but they will not grow or scale unless they do so. The hardest part is knowing that you can do all of these better and/or faster than those you delegate to, but that is OK. You will never be able to have the business run for you unless you realize that there is only one of you and that is OK. Others can get the job done. They may do it differently, but they will get it done. Trust in that and empower them. Let go!
To go with above, one of the biggest sabotaging habits of entrepreneurs is not trusting the people around them and questioning everything instead of empowering and trusting. I've see another of great businesses ruined by an owner who could not and would not trust those they have worked hard to bring in to help them. And typically either ends with good people quitting or leaving or the business owner taking the business down. If you are going to have a business and grow, you must be willing to trust those you bring into help you. There is nothing wrong with checking in and verifying things are being done how they are supposed to, but that is leadership, not lack of trust. Don't fall into this trap.
A lot of business owners are incredible at creating and selling their product, but horrible at managing their finances. I understand. Financial education is not taught in any real good way in formal education. Understanding cash flow and how to read a P&L, or how to understand the trends happening in a business is a different kind of financial literacy. Entrepreneurs need to invest the time to understand the numbers and what they are telling them. An accountant can easily help educate you on these things and you should self-educate. I've seen a lot of businesses who are "killing it" fall apart because they could not manage cashflow. Just because you sell something doesn't mean you have the cash yet and not understanding the expenses required to deliver what you sell can sabotage you very fast. Get financially literate.
Understanding and Managing Risk
Great entrepreneurs, understand risk and how to use it well in their business. They practice "asymmetric risks." These are risks that when taken have a tremendous upside, but small downside. In other words, if it doesn't work out, the business won't fail. Many entrepreneurs do the opposite. They take huge risks where almost all of the risk and consequences are on them if they fail. They "bet the farm" and many times don't last because of it. As entrepreneurs, we will always have and many times must take risks, but the key is to make sure they are asymmetrical and that the consequences can be mitigated or overcome if the risk doesn't pan out. I'd rather take a number of risks and have a few workout very well than take one big risk and it bring me down. I think you'd agree.
Lack of Focus on Two Key Areas
Another thing that sabotages entrepreneurs has nothing to do with the business itself. It is a lack of focus in two key areas: Physical and Mental Health. You cannot be your best in your business if you are not at your best physically and mentally. You need to have the stamina to keep things going and pushing forward in your business and you need the mental capacity to handle all of the things that come your way. The best entrepreneurs have a daily fitness routine and a daily mental health routine. And it doesn't need to be anything crazy. For me, it is my Ironman training every morning and my 10 minute prime that I do where I write our 3 things I am grateful for and my 3 most important things to do for the day, followed by a prayer. This keeps me grounded, focused, energized, and healthy. Everyone is different, so you need to figure this out for yourself, but you must figure it out and put it a physical and mental health routine into action in your life.
Avoid these 6 ways of sabotage and you'll find you reach goals even faster and will have a better business for it.
Sometimes, you just need a little pick-me-up...something to make you smile.
Here is a sample of quotes I go to when I need to put a smile on my face or someone else's.
"What a wonderful thought it is, that some of the best days of our lives haven't happened yet!"
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
"Embrace the glorious mess you are..."
"Stop and think about it. You are 1 in 4 Trillion! That is your chance of being born. You exist where so many others that could have been, do not. Make the most of it and make your mark on the world."
- Me (I have a good one once in a while)
"Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry."
"People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
– Rob Siltanen
“Whether You Think You Can Or Think You Can’t, You’re Right.” –
- Henry Ford
“You Are Never Too Old To Set Another Goal Or To Dream A New Dream.”
– C.S. Lewis
Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
- Winston Churchill
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
- Philippians 4:13
Right now is a very interesting time. OK, I know that is a duh statement. But, I don't say it because of everything we are having to do with the Wuhan Coronavirus, I say it because there are a lot of other things happening out there that people aren't paying much attention to.
Most people gloss over when they hear about the US Congress passing trillion dollar spending bills. That is TRILLIONs. Just to see it as a number - it looks like this: $1,000,000,000,000. There are 1000 billions in a trillion. Now, where does all that money come from? Most people, say, "We just print it!" But, what does that mean? And what does that mean for your life, your business, your future?
The short answer is that it is all debt - in fact, all dollars in the world are essentially debt. This has a big impact on you and your life and most people never educate themselves on the ramifications of all of this debt and the printing of more. More importantly, they need to prepare themselves to be ready for the future consequences of this debt and money printing.
Below are 5 Books I feel are important for everyone to read before the end of 2020 to help better take control of their financial future and understand money and finance in our world. Remember, whoever controls the money is in control.
1.) The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffith
This book is a comprehensive history of central banking in the world and ramifications of it. If you want to understand money and how it works - and how "we print money out of thin air," this book will educate you better than any. It reads like a mystery novel and the history is extremely well researched. It will blow your mind.
2.) Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
A classic that you may have read. If not, you should. In this book, you will learn by savers are losers and your house is not an asset.
3.) Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
In my opinion, Robert's first two books go best read back to back. This book teaches you about how and where to build your wealth. (Hint: It is not as an employee).
4.) The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson
Personal finance is not taught in our schools. I happen to think it is deliberately not taught for a host of reasons - none of them good. This book, told in the form of a fable, gives you all the basics of personal finance you need. You can follow it up with some Dave Ramsey books if you want to go further.
5.) A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel
This book covers it all and is great for beginners in investing. You can follow it up with the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
I admit it. I'm still not good at doing what I am about to share with you. But, by sharing it and putting my thoughts down, I hope it helps you in your life and business - and selfishly, me as well.
What do you know of in your life right now you should be doing? What is it that is in the back of your mind, your gut, that you know you need to do? What is it that is constantly there, eating at you?
Even knowing it is there is tough, because you think of all the ramifications of what would happen if you followed this thing that is pulling at you. What would be the consequences if you did it? How would it affect others, your family, your business(es), your business partners, employees - those that rely on you. How would it affect you? How do you know it is the right decision and not just some stupid impulse that if acted on could ruin everything?
I'm talking about when you know you need to make a change or at a crossroads. You gut, your intuition is telling you where you need to go and what you need to do. It gnaws at you. It is there day and night - and you know you need to act - but all those potential consequences, right?
I've had these moments many time over the years, and as much I fight them, I ultimately give in and follow my intuition and it has served me well when I did. I have also missed out because I didn't act when I knew I should - only to do it later and things still turn out well, but not as good as they could have.
I learned over the years to trust these instincts and "my gut" in life and business, but sometimes I'm too stubborn to give in for a while or let a lot of potential made up consequences/ramifications rattle around in my head keeping me from acting for longer that they should.
I haven't yet quite figured out how to best manage these situations, but I am getting better.
One thing I have found is to be open and talk through them with others that you trust and that you know have wisdom and experience. They should challenge you, but also help you to see through the jumbled mess to get to the core of what really matters and help you see the benefits/detriments of the decision.
Sometimes you need to just talk it through and it's best not to do it with those that are close to it or in it with you. For example, when I have one of these situations in my businesses, I won't try to solve it with just my business partners, but instead reach out to those I trust and know will can help outside the organization and that are not close things. I have found that the perspectives and new ideas that come forward have helped me the most in making the right decision - which the majority of the time is going with the pull of the intuition.
If you are in one of these times in your life, I really understand the struggle - these things can eat at you and consume you. Get some help and don't go it alone. Reach out to that person you know is the right one to help you see things the right way and that will help you think about it differently. You'll find that once you do, a weight will be lifted off you and it will be easier to proceed forward.
There is a growing trend happening across the world and it's not good. It was happening before the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, but since the virus was unleashed on the world, it has been exacerbated and it's getting worse.
The trend is being fostered by governments and many aspects of society - all in the name of helping - when it is actually hurting people and their future.
The trend? The lack of personal responsibility.
When people stop taking responsibility for their actions and choices and in many cases, are now being rewarded for it, it fosters a false sense of reality in society. And at some point, truth and reality always win. People can blame others for their place in life or commit terrible acts in which they don't take responsibility, but those that do, never get the satisfaction or reward they are looking for. They end up disappointed and disheveled.
Success and fulfillment lies in taking full responsibility for yourself, your life, your actions, and your choices. Why? Because it gives you your power back. When you blame others and don't take responsibility for yourself, that means you are ceding your power to someone else or something else. You handing over your biggest chess piece on the board and letting someone else, something, or group control your life.
The power is in you, the individual, and in taking your power back through personal responsibility. When you do that, you cannot be hurt, you cannot be offended, and you don't have to play a victim, because you are in control and choose how you respond to things. Everything is your choice. And choices have benefits and consequences, no matter if you take responsibility for them or not. But, if you do take responsibility you will find that you will be and achieve so much more and reach levels that you never expected. You will hold yourself to a higher standard - a better standard, one that you choose.
Don't miss out on this incredible secret to success by giving away what is rightfully yours - your biggest source of power, your personal responsibility.
The ocean is complicated. It is a stunningly beautiful, yet violent place. One minute it can be your friend, the next it can turn on you and bring harm. Under the surface is just as unforgiving. The circle of life that goes around every day is merciless, yet beautiful. Survival is the mission of the day for all creatures.
And it is for these reasons, and many others, that the ocean deserves great respect. I have spent a lot of time both above and under the ocean diving throughout the world. It is a passion for my wife and I - one of the biggest that we share together.
I have seen so many amazing things from night diving with Manta Rays off the coast of the Big Island to the massive walls of the great barrier reef, bioluminescence of the Caribbean, almost every type of creature and APEX predator, and even have been chased, seemingly hunted by a massive Tiger shark.
And for all that I have seen, I haven't even scratched the surface of all there is to know and see in our oceans. And that is why I continue to have the deepest respect for them, even if I'm just catching some rays on a beach - because I know how powerful, beautiful, merciless, and unforgiving they can be.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned through all my time around the water is simply this :
When you think you are in control or are too confident, the ocean will remind you that you aren't.
Whether that happens through a crushing wave just when you think you have mastered navigating the surf or as so many divers that have gotten too cocky/confident have found, an underwater accident, mother ocean will always win and is in control. You are just a guest in her world.
In some ways the business world is similar. It is powerful, beautiful, merciless, and unforgiving all the same. It requires respect and just when you think you have it mastered, it kicks you in the ass and shows you that you have a lot to learn. Like the ocean, it provides amazing experiences and life changing opportunities, but if not respected will turn on you and put you in your place. And there is always something new you can learn.
But, just as the rewards are amazing for those that stay humble and respect the ocean, it is the same for the world of business. Keep learning, stay humble, and use your knowledge to go to new places!
The times I have made the biggest strides in my life and work have always come when I put an intense focus on my personal growth and development.
I am always reading and studying something - most of the time because I enjoy it and it keeps me learning new things, but there is a difference between passively learning something and being intently focused with a goal.
I have found that when I set a goal to learn a subject to use the information to generate true results in an area of my life; I learn it better, I use it better, and I retain it better.
And the periods I have been able to do this best are when I have slower times or downtime in my life. Times when I don't have as many distractions and obligations taking my time and I can focus better. For example, when I am working on a product launch over a 6-8 week period and am reiterating with my teams and working late hours seemingly up to the last second to get it right; it is not a great time to set a focused personal growth goal.
But, when the launch is over and we've celebrated our success and things calm down - I find it a great time to immerse myself into learning a new skill or subject.
One thing that the Coronavirus has done for most people, is slow things down. It has given many people a great opportunity to focus on personal growth in their lives. In fact, now is one of the best opportunities in years to focus on learning new skills and subjects, not just because we have, but also because there are so many great resources available to us.
If what I just shared makes sense to you and you want to make a commitment to your personal growth, here is my advice to you.
Now is the THE time to grow in your life. Don't waste it!
I was listening to the song, Get Along, by Kenny Chesney the other day and was struck by one lyric. First, I am big fan of the message of the song and you can read the chorus above. Who wouldn't agree with that message?
If you read the lyrics, you will see at one part, Kenny sings "Scared to live, scared to die, we ain't perfect, but we try."
Scared to live.
I thought about that one lyric as I listened to the song and found myself asking the question, "Am I scared to live? What does that mean?"
As I thought on it for a while, it became clear that there have been times in my life, where I have been scared to live. Times, where I have been scared or stopped short of stepping out or standing up. As I have gotten older and learned more about who I am and dug deep into what I truly believe - as well as have chosen my values and principles, it has been much easier to NOT be scared to live.
Over the years, I have developed an unshakable faith in myself and the power I have as an individual - the power we all have as individuals. And because of this, I am no longer afraid to be me. I am not afraid to step out. I am not afraid to be criticized or disliked. Most importantly, I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in.
And it truly feels like a giant weight has been lifted. Fear is a giant albatross that weighs us down. It keeps us from becoming our best self and who we are meant to be. But, in order to conquer this fear and not be scared to live, we must learn to love ourselves and have faith in who we are.
In today's world of cancel culture and demonizing of people because they say or believe something different than a group or movement, it is important, now, more than ever to find ourselves and not be scared to live. We must have the conversations, the uncomfortable ones. We must be willing to stand firm for what we believe in. And we have to be OK with the fact that not everyone will like us, but we must put in the effort to "get along."
If we do, we will find that on about 90% of things, we agree. People will never agree on everything. It's what makes us unique and creates the amazing world we live in. And when we realize that, I hope we will have the bigger realization that we should not destroy each other over the 10% when there is so much that we have in common.
Always give love the upper hand. Paint a wall, learn to dance, call you mom, buy a boat, drink a beer, sing a song, make a friend, can't we all just get along?
Don't be scared to live!
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