As an entrepreneur (be it a coach, a writer, an artist, or anyone who provides a service or actively manages their career) you need to create a memorable brand for your business to attract and retain customers. Often, if the business is you, this can feel like sinking in a quagmire of indecision. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt over the years:
#1. People starting their own business get very hung up on creating the perfect logo or the perfect website. However, doing the groundwork is much more important and will save you handing out cash to various designers prematurely. What is at the core of your business? It should be your identity, your strengths and your values. Once you get very clear about all those factors, the rest will follow. One way to uncover this information is to ask five people whose opinions you respect and who know you well how they would describe you to someone else. Prepare to be surprised. (Hopefully in a good way.) We tend to take our strengths for granted because we don’t have to try. Honest feedback highlights what you forget to mention.
#2. What is your contribution? What need do you meet? (Is there a need for your service? This is a hard question, but it’s one that is worth asking up front. Does anyone actually need a uni-cycling, tapestry-weaving career coach? If your chosen niche appeals only to a tiny market, you might need to think carefully about where your customers are going to come from.) Define your ideal customer. In detail.
#3. Can you boil your offering down to a single sentence? What is the central focus of your work? Even if you are a multi-talented individual who can spin plates and leap tall buildings in a single bound, potential customers have a lot to think about and remember in their daily lives. If you make it easy for them to peg you as “The Juggling Lady” or “That Superman Guy”, they will have the joy of discovering all your other gifts once they get to know you.
#4. Once you have defined your identity and your customer clearly and succinctly, communicate your message to your target audience. Communicate, don’t irritate. Let people get to know you via a blog, networking and presenting. If you can present to an audience, they have a chance to sample your style without obligation.
#5. Walk your talk. Your customers don’t want nasty surprises.