Tag Archive for: business

We have talked about how to get a loan from a bank in an earlier blog and now in this article we are going to be more specific and discuss what a Venture Capitalist (VC) is looking for in a business before committing to invest.

The difference between a lender and a VC is that the VC is looking for equity in the business in return for monies that he or she will invest in your new start-up.

VCs usually are looking at receiving a higher rate of return because of the high failure rate for most early stage businesses. Typically, VCs are looking at companies that have already started, so have gained traction in business and are now looking to grow. For example, if you have an idea for a new “app”, you’ll need to have developed a prototype and tested it successfully before chasing VCs. You need some “history”.

VCs avoid start-up businesses and instead invest in the growth stage of a business. They also want to “cash out” quickly and before competition starts to erode the company’s competitive advantage.

When looking for a VC, you want access to their knowledge and network as much as their money. You are looking for a person to accelerate your growth and add something positive to your business.

So let’s get back to the question.

Here are the criteria that a VC will examine to determine if they are going to invest in you.

  1. Knowledge. They are interested in the talent on your team. If you have a good team, then other good people will be interested in working with you.
  2. Outstanding Management and Founders. They believe in founder led companies. They are looking for smart founders. If the founders are unable to scale their businesses on their own, they have the smarts to bring in a COO or a CEO to help them with the growth. The commitment to an outstanding management team proves to the VC that you will have the ability to execute on the business idea going forward.
  3. Strategic Focus. You have identified a “hole” in the marketplace and have plans to “fill” it.
  4. Execution. A VC is looking for action. If a VC has committed to your project; then he or she will want to see the business forging ahead. A VC has no interest in a ponderous approach to development – they want to see immediate and sustained action!
  5. Their Return on Investment (ROI). Obviously, a VC will have a major impact on the success of your business and will command a healthy share of the business in return.

There are four groups that support Start-Ups:

  1. Business Incubators
  2. Angel Investors/Venture Capitalists
  3. Accelerators
  4. Hybrids – a combination of the above.

Business incubators will provide support to your start up business by offering:

  • Coaching and mentoring,
  • Office space for you to work from
  • Access to legal counsel and networking opportunities and
  • Potential sources of funding

Angel Investors/Venture Capitalists will offer you both money and expertise; however, in return, they want a piece of your business.

Business Accelerators in contrast will fund your start-up with money or seed capital or loans.

Accelerator programs are very attractive to start-ups; in particular, young innovative companies who want to take their businesses to the next level.  They are not only a source for financing; but also they provide advice, resources, events, connections and mentoring programs to help push young businesses to the next level in a shorter period of time.

All have different services and some only specialize in certain industries or technology, so you do have to do your research to find the one that suits your new business.

For example, in Toronto, DMZ at Ryerson University helps start-ups succeed by connecting them with customers, advisors, influencers and other entrepreneurs. Communitch Rev helps product-ready companies with help on sales and marketing. BrightSpark Ventures invests in early stage tech companies. MaRS in Toronto helps early stage technology companies launch their new products. Each region will have similar options available to the entrepreneur.

When working with an accelerator for a period of 3-6 months you can kick-start your business at a relatively low cost and access valuable information and contacts. You can get access to free co-working space and resources. Some will even offer programs to help you find investors in the early stages of your business.

In Canada, alone there are 150 incubators and accelerator programs.

The very first accelerator program introduced in North America was in 2005. Over the past ten plus years the number of incubators has grown in response to the rapid growth in the number of new business start-ups in the marketplace.

Do they work?

We talked to one of the co-founders at CoSign and he had a very positive experience in an accelerator program called F6S.

The co-founders of CoSign started developing their app while they were working their full-time jobs.

Co-Sign is essentially a technical platform that allows influencers or brand advocates to tag products within the photos that they share socially. The people who read or view the content can then click on the photo and buy the product. Their company gets a commission anytime that product is sold and then splits that commission with the person or site that shared the photograph. It is a brilliant concept.

The owners initially tested the market with a rough beta version of their product in 2015 and proved within a one month period that their product was clearly in demand. They raised $41,000 in 30 days and attracted 5,000 users. So due to its successful beta launch, the owners wanted to expand their tech platform to allow everybody to leverage their product including publishers, mobile apps and major brand companies who wanted to white label their technology.

They needed money and knowledge to do this; so they reached out to an accelerator company F6S.

F6S was a perfect match for them in terms of their market and their needed resources including design, marketing, execution and financing assistance.

F6S helped them relaunch their new product with added features including a publisher tool. This tool enables anyone who owns a Website including Bloggers and publications to turn their photos into shopable posts as well. Instead of traditional static banner ads, their platform allows their viewers to click on interactive engaging photos to buy.

So the owners had a great experience and being a part of an accelerator program worked for them.

So let’s get back to Accelerator Programs!

There are Pros to using Accelerator Programs

  • You meet people who can help you and understand where you are at with business; so you will feel that it is not “you against the world”.
  • You will meet mentors and advisors and people and former companies who have been through the program. You are starting to network.
  • You will meet people in the programs who are going through the same fears and weaknesses that you might be feeling before you start. By working together you can help one another solve the various problems that they may have been coping with. So you are getting different perspectives.
  • You will learn new things.
  • It will make you accountable because you will be given projects and timelines to work with.
  • It just might give you an advantage over your competitors.
  • You will be given the opportunity to pitch your business to their roster of investors.

And there are cons

  • There is a lot of research that you will have to do to find the right program.
  • Unfortunately, they are very difficult to get into; and if you are lucky to be one of the chosen companies, you will have to uproot your life for a period of 4-6-8 months.
  • Unfortunately, not all accelerator programs are created the same. For example, TechStars, one of the popular programs only accepts a limited number of entrepreneurs into their program; so competition in top accelerators is fierce.
  • The big one here is – like Angel Investors and VCs; they will want equity in your business.

Everything is a process and if you have a product and a team of at least 2 founders, and passion to succeed then I would definitely consider looking into these programs.

New Entrepreneurs operate either out of a place of “fear” or out of a place of “control”.

That’s a powerful statement.

So let’s look at the difference.

I believe the reason why so many businesses fail is that they did not open with a plan. I can only imagine the fears that these business owners faced every day. They didn’t have a benchmark for sales and profit targets to let them know if they were on track or not; so of course, they always assumed that they weren’t.

When your business is going well, everything is looking rosy. You have customers and money in the bank.

But still as a business owner, you wonder when things are going to take a turn for the worse.

One person we spoke to, who is a successful entrepreneur in his own right, believes that entrepreneurs operate from a place of fear or strength and that it is based on the amount of money they actually have in the bank or have access to. Spencer Thompson is the founder and CEO of Sokanu a platform for millennials wanting to discover what career best matches their talents and skills. Spencer is a real thinker and a voracious reader; so when he said that he researched this subject, I listened.

After analyzing the traits and backgrounds of people who run successful start-ups, Spencer found that almost all of them come from wealthy backgrounds and almost all of them went to Ivy League Schools or institutions like Stanford. They also come from a group that are largely male, white and elite.

The point is this:

When you have money, you are operating from a better place than when you have none. Having money takes “fear” out of the equation and allows the entrepreneur to focus on the task at hand.

In most instances, start-up entrepreneurs – especially in the beginning phase of their businesses – are operating with little or no money. When this happens, you can fall into a trap. You start berating yourself and even may start asking yourself questions like:

  • How am I going to survive without customers?
  • What if I can’t find employees?
  • What do I do if people don’t like what I offer?

Believe me I have been in your shoes.

When I opened my first business – and I was busy from day #1 – I was always thinking that “today” is the day that customers will stop coming. In hindsight, it was a ludicrous thought; but just goes to show you how fragile we as entrepreneurs can be.

I created a problem that didn’t exist except in my mind. Cash flow does that to you.

If you find yourself in this situation now, it is somewhat comforting to know that most business owners have been exactly in the same position you find yourself in now.

There are strategies to help you get back in control of your business so let’s explore a few:

  1. Review your goals and if you do not have any I suggest that you get some in a hurry. Ask yourself why you went into business and where you want to be going forward – say 10 years from now.
  2. Review your governing philosophy.
  3. Review your Business Plan.

That last one is a real stickler. Yes, you need to be constantly re-visiting your business plan and making changes to it as your business matures and you become more familiar with both your business and the marketplace in which you operate.

The financial forecast should be up-to-date and should mirror what is happening in the daily grind of business. So if there happens to be a downturn in your business you can look at your financial forecast to see if you predicted a slower period of activity during this time.

OR you can adjust the financial forecast to mirror what is happening. This will refocus you and help you adjust your sales expectations and costs.

It could be that your tactics and processes need to change to allow you to get to your goals. When you realize this, you are now putting yourself in a more strategic frame of mind rather than letting the fear get the best of you!

Wherever you are in the business process you first must realize that you must embrace change. There is a lot of competition out there so you need to adapt or you will die.

  • Again, don’t be fearful.
  • Get ahead of your problems by taking action and you’ll be a smashing success.

There could never be a more opportune time than now to start a business. Because of our continuous advancing technology, you can literally start a business in one day. But you have to have a plan.

Making that decision to leave your 9-5 job takes courage. I am sure there are many of you that just want to supplement your income.

And that is okay.

There is absolutely no downside to starting a side business. Have you ever thought about side hustling?

So how do you start?

Even though it is just a side business you still need to have a plan. We spoke to Michelle Schroeder-Gardner on our Business Podcast – The Daily Grind Podcast, the founder of makingsenseofcents.com on how she turned her blog into a full-time success story. She now makes ridiculous money per month.

She started a side hustle because she was in debt, she hated her full-time job and she was having a difficult time controlling her spending. So she started a blog. She read a lot of articles and listened to podcasts to motivate her to get better at what she was doing. Her learning curve changed her from having a limited mindset to being more open and to learning new things. Her business grew to the point that allowed her to leave the job she truly disliked. Her advice today – is to stop being normal. Thinking this way holds you back and it leads you to being lazy; in fact, the average person watches 30 hours of television per week. Ouch.

Matt Miller  started his side business 13 years ago out of necessity. He started with $100 and purchased his first simple gum ball machine for $36 on eBay. Matt is currently running a franchise operation that has spread across the United States and helps public schools raise money using a vending platform.  He also offers a vending program for people wanting to develop a secondary income stream with a limited time commitment.

A side hustle has more advantages than securing a part-time job. You can start to develop your idea on your own time. You have the freedom to work on it when you are not working your full‑time job. You have the time……. if you want it badly enough.

To be successful in any business whether it is a side business or not, you have to have a plan. It is a process.

 

Here are the steps to help you fully develop your concept:

  • Ideas are just an assumption. Start with what you are good at and then define what unique product or service that you want to offer. Get down to why you are doing the business by answering this question: Are you getting into the business to get money or profits or is it your mission to build something that allows you to move out of your full-time business.
  • Describe what is happening in your business. What are you doing in the business when you are not doing your F/T job? If you are selling a product, visualize what you are selling, what it looks like, what it does, and how your customer buys it from you.
  • Identify your “ideal customer” – can you describe your customer. Do you know what they like? Can your service or product help them? Then build your business around your ideal customer.
  • Validate your business idea. Get honest feedback from your potential ideal customer.
  • Select what products or services you want to sell. Find a niche. Select potential suppliers
  • Create a business plan. This is now an easy process for you because you now have all the elements of a Business Plan. It’s amazing how this document helps you. It is your roadmap. It outlines what you are doing and how you are doing it.
  • Complete a financial forecast. You may think this sounds difficult so find someone who can help you. Let me tell you, this document will bring your concept to life in “numbers” and “numbers” are what business is all about.
  • Develop a marketing strategy – you have to fight obscurity in the early days of business.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Trust the process

Tips:

  • Break the business down into incremental pieces and consistently work on it each day.
  • Look for mentors or coaches or look for any advice from people who are doing what you want to do.
  • Think like a customer. Look at your product and service and ask yourself: “How does it create value to your ideal customer?”
  • Whatever you are offering, you need to develop your brand. You brand should resonate with your customers. It should be clear and it should be different. By the way, creating a Website is not your brand.
  • Hire people who can do things that you cannot do.
  • Have patience and be accountable.

Good Luck! If you need any help to get you started we are here at Plan2Profit to help you!

It has been your dream to start your own business. But you just can’t seem to make that plunge, because you are afraid that the market just might not like what you bring to the table.

Well, my wife and I have been in your shoes. We spent a few sleepless nights before we opened our first restaurant wondering if our business was going to be accepted in our adopted town.

My wife then opened a retail/wholesale store selling t-shirts and sweatshirts and she experienced a few anxiety attacks before opening her doors 1 month later.

In 1991, we moved from Western Canada that was just starting to recover from a recession to Ontario, which was just falling into a recession of its own. My contract with a management company finished and I was gainfully unemployed. To boot, my wife had just given birth to our third child. We asked ourselves: “What are you thinking? Start a business?  Really?” The answer was always the same – YES!

I reflect on this period in our lives now as a period of growth. We looked deeply within ourselves and realized that our tenuous situation was actually a real opportunity. It sparked us into creating something that we had been dreaming about for the past 3 years – to open our own businesses.

When we started working on our businesses we felt so comfortable and confident that we were going to be successful. But the more involved we got into it the process, the less confident we became. It was at this point we realized how much we didn’t know. It was a huge learning curve for us.

“If we had known then what we know now “as the saying goes, we would have done the following:

  • We would have found a coach/mentor
  • We would have learned more about Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • We would have learned more about Marketing
  • We would have learned more about Human Resources

Somebody once asked Warren Buffett about his secret to success. Buffett pointed to a stack of books and said: “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”

 

Opportunities are boundless today and there are countless resources for you to find answers to any questions you might have because our world has become so connected.

For example, if you do not want to read books and don’t have the time, you can buy audiobooks or listen to free podcasts.

True entrepreneurs like Aaron Walker, Spencer Thompson, Dan Miller, David Mead, and Kyle Wilson are just a handful of people sharing their stories on how they got into business and the obstacles they had to overcome when building their businesses. You have the luxury of listening to their stories and learning from their experiences all in the comforts of your home through a podcasts such as The Daily Grind.

There are a few strategies to help you through your fears:

  1. Cultivate a clear vision about your business and where you want it to be in 10 years and then realize that success is not measured by where you are in the first year; instead success takes time.
  2. Incorporate Simon Sinek’s philosophies in your vision to not only make a profit but to define your purpose, your cause and your belief as to why you are opening your business. Success can be measured in so many different ways.
  3. Develop and refine your concept. Find your niche in the business or service that you are offering. Define what makes you different from your competitors and how you can help your target market. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel; but, you have to be different.
  4. Describe your target market. Create a profile of your ideal customer.
  5. Practice articulating your message. Look in the mirror and tell your reflection in 2-3 sentences what your business is all about and how it can help your ideal customer and why they should buy from you.
  6. Test the market by asking your target market what they like in the service and/or business that you will be starting. It will save you so much time and money if you do this. It is an exercise and a lot of people won’t do this because they are fearful of rejection.
  7. Find a mentor that is doing or has successfully done what you plan on doing. Get rid of your ego, because you must realize at this point that you don’t know everything. You need input from someone with an unbiased opinion.
  8. Build your Business Plan. Find out how much money your business will be generating, what your costs and expenses are and what income you are projecting to earn. Do it for one year and then do it over 5 years. Know what your break-even point is. Know exactly what the costs are to open your business and be real.
  9. Surround yourself with people who are good in their business. Try to find people who are unbiased and have similar core values as you. This is how you can start networking.
  10. Prepare yourself for some difficult times.
  11. Lastly, and the big one here is: Work on your inner game. Exercise, eat right, meditate and keep learning.

If you think you are going to fail; then honour what you are thinking and take a step back. Breathe and re-evaluate everything that I mentioned above. Your business idea can wait.

 

 

If you are still fearful; but really passionate about what you want to do – then go         for it. A great piece of advice that one of our guests shared to our listeners on The Daily Grind Podcast was – get the word “failure” out of your vocabulary – it doesn’t belong. Understand that most people do not talk about your successes or failures because they are too busy living their own lives.

 

You do not have a chance at being successful if you don’t get into the game. If it doesn’t work then pivot but keep going.

Starting a business is a process and success does not come overnight. If you enjoy the process then you will be great and your life will get better.

Entrepreneurs are making businesses teaching people how to create healthy business habits through podcasts, leadership seminars, bootcamps, and coaching. It is obviously an important issue because people who want to be successful – entrepreneurs – seek out the most effective and/or expensive resources to help them achieve this. Now, we are not talking about learning behaviours and tactics such as how to increase revenues, create a business vision or how to build your network.

What we are speaking to here is simple. To be successful, it starts with reshaping who you – the real you, the inner you – is. You have to change your habits and develop new ones. You then have to follow those new habits to shape you into who you want to be. It is all about shaping your habits or behaviours so you think and behave in a more positive, life-affirming and connective manner.

Here they are:

    1.  They get up early!

    2.  They follow a morning routine. For example, some meditate, some exercise and some recite positive affirmations.

    3.  They read books; listen to podcasts and/or audio books because they pretend not to know everything. They are excited about learning new things.

    4.  They surround themselves with positive people.

    5.  They eliminate the word failure from their vocabulary.

    6.  They visualize where they want to be.

    7.  They force themselves out of their comfort zone by surrounding themselves with like-minded people. They belong to a mastermind group.

    8.  They hire a mentor.

These entrepreneurs just didn’t achieve success by opening a business. In fact, a lot of them failed; but they got back up, dusted themselves off and got back in the race. They had an undying belief that what they were doing was the right thing and would eventually take off – it just needed time and more hard work.

They also learned from past mentors and they applied these behaviours as well:

  • They worked really hard the first few years. A lot of 12-15 hours a day but it paid off.
  • They developed a mindset to help them get through their fears and doubts and negativity by having positive self-talk. They realized from the past that there were going to be some tough times so they consistently worked on their inner game.
  • They did not re-invent the wheel.

 

One more important thing, a lot of these entrepreneurs feel very grateful for the position they are in now. They realize that success is empty without fulfillment. They give back and love to help other people succeed. This type of empowerment gives them purpose to get up every day.

It is these behaviours that they follow that allow them to focus on their business and think about the world and themselves in a more positive way.

Emulate them to shorten your own path to success.

Opening a business can be a daunting task because there are so many things to do, but at the same time, it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.

Yes, I agree, we do not need to re-invent the wheel but we need to work on our inner game. Just one of the many steps on our success ladder to get us to where we want to be!

Most of us are familiar with the expression, “Nothing happens until you make something happen.” On the Daily Grind Podcast, one of the questions Colin asks every entrepreneur is – what was one of the biggest challenges they had to overcome to get to where they are today.

A majority of these entrepreneurs said it was making the decision to leave their steady job.

If you are straddling the fence on whether you should stay working in your 9-5 job or quit to start your own business, here are a few things that these entrepreneurs did.

Sabina Hitchen, the founder of SabinaKnows.com, a successful Public Relations agency, said the first step she went through was the questioning phase. She asked herself: “Why am I doing this” and “What has led me to this place.” She was a Political Science graduate and she taught for a few years in the Public School system. She knew she had to make a career change; so she got a job in a PR agency and it was at this point that she found something she really loved.

In this particular case, Sabina followed her gut. She remembered what Tina Fey said “Just say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards

Sabina developed a strategy.

  • She knew she had to be brave.
  • She visualized where she wanted to be and that outlined her roadmap for success.
  • She then took the plunge.

She took the leap of faith.

Dan Miller, the author of several books including No More Dreaded Mondays said that he stopped and drew a line in the sand, took a deep breath and then spent some time to really focus on who he was.


By looking inward he discovered his passions, dreams, skills, and what he liked to do.

 

 

The more that you match your skills with the business that you want to open the more likely you will be successful.

He also advises that you should read anything you can about the business you want to open, listen to podcasts, and even pay for a coach to teach and mentor you.

Hanna Fitz, an international brand strategist and author of I AM THE GATEKEEPER: 101 Daily Keys To Unlock Your Happiness, Overcome Adversity and Fulfill Your Purpose was working in the corporate world and was up for a promotion; but she always had a great desire to start her own business: She struggled making that decision on whether to take that promotion or to follow her dreams.

This is what Hanna did:

She prepared herself. She took a lot of training courses and she studied international commercial law because she wanted to work with international brands.  She then tested the market by sending out proposals. It was only when she got positive feedback from potential clients that she had the confidence to make this move.

 

She made the decision that she would rather find out “than sit and wonder what if.”

Let’s take a moment and talk about the “analysis paralysis game” that people face.

I have worked with a lot of people who wanted to start a business and had what they thought was a great idea. They did all the necessary preparations to make it happen. They accumulated knowledge and research about the industry and realised its potential by forecasting its sales in its first five years of business; but they were scared to take that final plunge.”

If you are unsure about making this leap into owning your own business; then, “hurry up and slow down”. You want to make sure that you are really ready before jumping into entrepreneurship. To confirm if you are ready, you need to have a great Plan.

Remember, in business you have a two choices…either you’re going to operate from a place of power, where you create your life, or, you’re going to operate from a place of fear, where you react to what’s happening to you in your life.

“It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is it is the leadership’s responsibility, whether it is the owner or your manager to create an environment where everyone takes care of each other. Do not sacrifice people for the numbers. In reality, when things go bad in your business it is the people, you hire, who will rescue your business.”

There is a common thread when these entrepreneurs – David Mead and Walter O’Brien were interviewed by Colin on The Daily Grind Business Podcast–  They realize the importance of having a company culture that is great.

As David Mead mentioned, the people you hire will work sub‑optimally if there is politicking or infighting in your business. An environment of this nature creates distrust and unhappiness and rather than your employees doing their jobs they are working most of the time just watching their own backs.

To create a company culture of cooperation he believes that owners in businesses need to shift their mindset from what “their business does” to “why they are doing it.”

This paradigm shift allows people in their organization to spend their time and energy working together toward a higher cause that ultimately inspires them. They are so inspired that they are excited about going to work. Injecting a level of humanity into your business will lead to trust and loyalty and as a result, co-operation amongst your employees will be strong.

 

This is not a crazy and idealized philosophy because many successful organizations are exactly implementing this strategy. The leading companies today such as Google, Nike and Whole Foods are giving people a reason to come to work, not just a place to go to work.

Walter Obrien’s company’s success is due to creating this environment.

 

This entrepreneur created a blueprint for cooperation in companies working with highly intelligent employees (IQ) and people with high emotional intelligence (EQ).

He owns and runs a high tech company that employs people with diverse backgrounds and work-styles. He understands that people with strong emotional intelligence are more successful than those with high IQ’s because they have the ability to connect with their co-workers better than people with high IQ’s.  However, people with high IQ’s are able to solve the complex innovative problems that he needs.

Here are his strategies for creating a company culture that is healthy and thriving:

  • He hires people with high EQ to mentor and manage the people with high IQ with the expectations to improving their EQ. If they can improve their EQ then their relationships at home will improve and their ability to empathize with their other co-workers will dramatically increase.
  • To keep their highly intelligent people motivated he gives them totally unrelated projects to work on.
  • To keep them feeling stable in their jobs he gives them 3 projects to work on at one time. If one stops then they will only lose 1/3 of their pay.
  • Another unique strategy that he implements because a lot of people think their boss is an idiot is having the people with high EQ report to his people with high IQ. They may not like their boss but at least they will not look upon them as an idiot.

Creating a healthy culture in your new business is just smart business. Research has shown that “Inspired” employees generate 225% of the productivity that employees who are merely “satisfied” do. * From the Conscious Company Magazine, Vol 15, September 2017

Whatever business you plan to open, think about how you can create a healthy working environment in your business so the people that you have hired and trained wants to work for you. You need a plan.

In the end, Profit still sits at center, but it is no longer the only priority in good business.

 

When your brand is bland, your marketing dollars are like The Little Engine That Could – gone terribly wrong. You’ll just keep chanting I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can indefinitely, never really able to push the train over the mountain!

 

BADASS BRANDING SAVES A “COOKIE” IN YOUR CUSTOMER’S MIND. 

Have you ever gone to a website, and then realize that ads for that company keep popping up on other websites you visit after? It’s a kind of online marketing called retargeting where the website downloads a “cookie” on your browser that follows you around, reminding you (a prospect) about the product/service you looked at. When you have a badass brand that is noticeable and memorable, it downloads a cookie into your prospect’s head.


TRY IT FOR YOURSELF

Think about the last time you saw something really cool, something that really stood out to you as interesting and different. Did you think about it afterward? Maybe take a second look later? Possibly share it with someone who also might be interested?

What if everyone that encountered YOUR business had that experience?
Would your business benefit? 

THE BLIND SPOT

It is enticing to want to spend every dollar you can on marketing your business and bypass the brand, particularly if you think a brand is just a “nice to have.” After all, you want to increase sales, and marketing seems like the most direct way to sell to consumers.

But being short-sighted is not good for business. Marketing will make a sale today, but the brand is what sells today, tomorrow, next quarter, next year, 5 years from now…

Would you rather your marketing dollars pay for sales today? Or sales today and forever moving forward?

MARKETING WITHOUT A BADASS BRAND MAKES FOR A STEEP UPHILL CLIMB

We all invest money in our companies because we want to increase sales, but it’s important to understand the role each plays in the sales process.

Marketing: How people find you

Branding: WHY people buy

Sales from Marketing: The way anyone becomes aware of what you’re selling. You can’t buy something you don’t know about.

Sales from Branding: The reason someone buys from you instead of the next guy, and buys in the future, too. If your brand sticks out in my mind, I will remember you and come back when I am ready to buy, or ready to buy more.

Branding without marketing will make you the best kept secret, but some people will still find you. Marketing without branding, on the other hand, will burn out your engine and your capital.

It’s not that you won’t have to pay for marketing when your brand is badass, quite the opposite. Once you have a brand that supercharges your marketing efforts, the ROI will be so damn good you’ll be happy to invest more into it.

Instead of pushing your train uphill forever, investing in your brand will take all the potential energy you’ve built up with your business and turn it into sales for years to come.

Author

Pia Silva Worst of ALL Design

 

I would like to share a true entrepreneur story that I hope will resonate with people who want to start their own businesses. I believe that you probably learn better – if not more – through experience. As an example, an entrepreneur recently shared his story on The Daily Grind Podcast and what he learned from his experiences in life and how he applied those lessons in his current business were enlightening.

The entrepreneur started his first business when he was only 18 years of age and he retired at 27 after selling this business to a Fortune 500 company. His retirement lasted for a period of 18 months before he turned around and bought the company he started with when he was 13. He grew this second business to 4X its original size during a period of 10 years and life was grand. On Aug. 1, 2001, a pedestrian walked in front of his car and was unfortunately killed. Although he wasn’t to blame, he was devastated.

It was at this pivotal moment, and in his words, that he was “blindsided”. Before this moment, he and his wife were living the dream. They had two beautiful children, a beautiful home on the beach, and they were only working 3 days a week. His life went into a tailspin. He had to regroup. He sold his business, his house and he and his wife traveled extensively. After a period of almost a decade, they started another new business in the construction industry. It was a time of discovery and reflection and during this process, this is what he learned:

  • He felt very guilty because up until that point in his life all his success was about himself. 
  • It was based around his family by having a bigger house and making more money.
  • He felt that he had not done anything significant in the lives of other people.
  • He changed his mindset from scarcity to abundance and from a fixed to a growth mindset.
  • He wanted to leave a legacy by helping other people instead of always being a taker.

He now operates a new business that allows him to teach people that “we are not only significant but we are twice as successful.”

Here are some more golden nuggets of true wisdom that you can use from this truly seasoned entrepreneur, Aaron Walker: https://dailygrindpodcast.com/2017/11/23/ep-17-aaron-walker-shares-his-view-from-the-top/

“The word failure should be eliminated from your vocabulary. You are either succeeding or you are learning. For those that are straddling the fence by having one leg in entrepreneurship and the other leg in working a job for what you perceive as safety, then you will be living a life of mediocrity. You will not get to live at the level where you want to go. Do not worry about what other people think because if you do, it will hold you captive.”

“The enemy to your success is isolation. The number one key to the success in your business is building relationships.”


“We are always after the sale rather than adding value. If you add more value then you will make the sale.”


“Success does not come overnight. It is a process. You have to delay gratification in order to have later what you really want. Break your business down into incremental steps and consistently work on each step every day and you will accomplish whatever you want to do.”