Category

Brand Experience

Be Yourself, brand advocacy, Brand Experience, branding, Business, business intuition, Business-Of-One, competitive advantage

You Are Enough

I read this book titled Company of One by Paul Jarvis. It kind of helps me question the status-quo of the ‘growth’ status every company so ardently wants. The word ‘growth’ does sound competitive, aggressive and progressive – and seeing it from the lens of an a ‘company of one’ perspective gives me a new high!

Come to think of it – every individual, whether leading a team in a company to a company owner to a professional using his consulting chops to the hilt – we all are small business owners of our little ideas. 

But having a business intention that is predicated on commercialism and growth can [sometimes] overshadow our creation capabilities and [sometimes] limit our creative imagination to surface. After all, it’s all about maximising your evolution. We all want more commercial success when we work hard so to get there. 

This may sound contrarian, as I liken what the book says, ‘to never grow up, and why staying small is the next big thing for business’.

Now it doesn’t mean we can’t think valiantly and let our imagination be limitless. Instead, it’s about putting your gifts to use in a way that serves as a fuel for your customers/ audience to keep recommending you for your work.

It’s important to find your personal enough point – so that you feel free to operate as your best version. Knowing that being a business owner doesn’t necessarily mean racking more customers, or being in an acquisition mind-set to constantly thinking about how much money you’re making, can help you question what your growth inflection point is.

Plus: it is very difficult to operate as a solo business owner/ entrepreneur when our quest for getting more business is trite. We might have not figured out just yet as to why and how can we can get more business as a solopreneur.

And that’s why it’s crucial to find what you stand for, and what you can offer, but with growth that defines your upper bounds and unleashes your best potential.

So what does ‘you are enough’ mean in the context of being your company of one?

Here are some views that I align with – and you can, too:

  1. Thrive in your exist strategy. Says Natasha Lampard of the popular conference in the book: to focus on sticking around, profiting and serving your customers as best as you can. Loyally serving your customers over the long-term pays off massively than drifting in short-term money-making spiral that could dwindle if you are not offering the best customer experience. Maintaining real relationships that are rooted in trust, humanity and empathy gives you can edge over your other company owners to win and expand your existing customer base. Maintaining your brand image then gives you a sound social-proof when your customers become your brand champions.
  1. Choose customers that align with your brand. It’s certain that you might get knocked-down from some business deals and new business proposals. But some rejections can push you to determine which customers you’d like to do business with, and which customers you’d like to gracefully decline. Your customers are a reflection of how your brand values and serves in the longer scheme of things. So why miscommunicate or let ambivalence kick-in when you don’t quite find a fit with profitable customers? Look for purpose over profits – and in due course your purpose will strengthen your business valuation.
  1. Find your [brand’s] true north. Talking about self-awareness doesn’t sound cliche or passe. In fact, it pushes you to know what’s your DNA, how does it operate, and how it can be manifested in ways that carves your brand identity. When you find your values that speak your core [aka your truth]- the person you are and not always what you aspire to be – can differentiate your services from others. Staying small also brings you from a humble place of what your inner muse thinks in its contours of imagination and possibilities. And when these possibilities meet opportunities, growth occurs!

The crux is – as long as you have your brand chops in place and an idea that can generate curiosity in people’s minds, your work will never be stale.

You are enough! – to inspire and create a business of your dreams.

Be Yourself, Brand Experience, make time for yourself

Make Time For Yourself

This sounds trite. But it’s not. We are all inundated with more and more work. And trying to cope with new challenges – personal and professional – at some point drain us down. We are left with no energy to feel our special ‘creative self’ that we have in us: for things that really matter.

Whether it’s gardening or baking your favorite strawberry cheese cake or calling your long missed friend from far away – making time will keep you more purposeful.

While I could have written ‘create’ time – and it’s a lovely, nourishing, energizing work. But I settled with ‘make’ as it sounds and feels more intentional – somewhat deliberate.

Use this word more: ‘make’.

It will help you put things into actions. Things that you love doing – and are not.

And also make time to be idle. Just do nothing (no, it’s not a weighty word – sounds like an oxymoron, right?)

Okay – now I’m getting the flow. (See? Perks of being idle and not thinking you’re idle.)

Let’s get it.

Make time to:

  • Be more of you and less of others.
  • Simply observe – forming no opinions or your unintentional skewed perspective on things.
  • Love yourself more (while thinking in vastness is inspiring, but we have less time – let’s be honest).
  • Thank yourself to be so great this far – yes, you have been awesome!
  • Just care without expecting anything in return (trust me, that’s the real chase).
  • Have more courage every single day. Life can sometimes get downright threatening and sometimes overpower you, but you are stronger than this thought.
  • Speak to yourself – in raw, honest, real terms. You will feel much lighter when you accept and acknowledge yourself.
  • Spend more time with nature – it’s the best healer!
  • Understand people. Everyone has a story.
  • Think more positively.
  • Become better in every form.

Let’s not forget that when you ‘make time for yourself’, you express your own version of originality, which will help you articulate what your personal brand stands for.

So, it’s time to make some time 🙂 and live your life more fully.

Have you got some ‘make time’ moments? Savor them. Live them. Seize them.

 

 

Brand Experience

Be Proud Of What You Can do (And You Don’t Need To Be An Entrepreneur For That)

Of late, I was going through my LinkedIn feed and read a post from one of the employees of a company. She was talking about her tryst with entrepreneurship. She started her company in all good faith and hope that her ecosystem would help her ‘win’ with her new role. But much to her dismay, she found that while what she read about successful female entrepreneurs is such an already accomplished feeling, she was left with a rough path of barely succumbing to it. She felt a sense of failure.

Sometimes, what we read on the surface may not be exactly practical. Especially, when you see a growing community of new age entrepreneurs – some receiving funding – and some bootstrapping their new hatched venture, you find it a rosy view.

Truth is, it is not for everyone. Being an entrepreneur is more about a sense of feeling and outlook to be one, instead of faking it to get there just because the buzz or an upbeat article says so.

But you know about the good news?

That employee is today one of the most rewarded person in the company she works for. Because she loves what she does, and she is happy to contribute her skills and bring value to the company in her own professional way.

In fact, it’s all about your worldview – the way you see the world. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to be a risk-taker or be ambitious enough to make a fortune.

You can still keep stretching your comfort zone, once you start building confidence in what you are great at. And the result would come your way – in terms of more money, respect and success. Sometimes, entrepreneurship just happens to you, but in a good way!

I’d rather put it this way: you are where you imagination can take you. So don’t feel a sense of dissonance if you don’t think you can be an entrepreneur. You strengths of feeling like being an entrepreneur can work in your job – ‘building on your area of expertise’ and growing the organization as an intrapreneur.

Build you dreams (whether there is an entrepreneur there or not) – and you are an entrepreneur of your career and life. After all, the attributes that define an entrepreneur can still shape you to make your decisions boldly and create the life of your dreams: one that you are longing for!

How are your designing your career and life?

Is there an entrepreneur in you that is helping your shine in your ‘intraprenuerial’ job?

 

 

 

Be Yourself, Brand Experience, branding, business intuition, Career

Are you bringing your whole self to work?

Or let’s put it more fundamentally: are you fully self-expressed? Let’s say if you are bold in your expression – written, oral, professional – is it surfacing well for people to experience the real you at work?

Some of you may be humble and a bit subdued in your demeanor – but is your work persona blending appropriately with the organization’s culture and values?

This question kicks in at the right time, because as you’d know, globally, the workplace success hinges on people and culture.

Let’s first understand, what does it mean when a question like this knocks on your mind – bringing your whole self to work?

Isn’t it implied that we all are ourselves when we are working?

Not quite.

Here’s the way I see the answer: it’s about being the most real version of you: someone who could make quirks (better word, trying to improve every day), someone who could be vulnerable (and sometimes may not know the right answer to every question), someone who is humble (I like the way Adam Grant puts it, ‘humble narcissist’), someone who is naturally curious to reframe and redesign problems for better solutions, and someone who is courageous enough to take risks and hedge problems effectively with bold decisions and initiatives. But the most important facet of being your whole self is how well you define authenticity of your work approach, your personal brand and conversations.

I didn’t use the work moderate – as, in reality, we are in some way a bit extreme in the way our emotions engineer us to take decisions, personally and professionally.

While the answer sounds easy to write and fictionally digests in our imaginative mind, but how we actually put it to practice? How do we love our work and at the same time be true to ourselves for it to reflect in our career, communications and disposition?

Here are three ways you always strive be the real you, no matter what field/ career you are in.

  • Have a unified intention. Per the book ‘Book Yourself Solid’ by Michael Port, he aptly mentions about having conflicting intentions, which might hinder our growth in the long-term. For example, you might want to write a novel and please your spouse with its successful publishing. But in your subconscious your intent to write a book might conflict with how it will please your spouse and would await your spouse’s approval for it to be a ‘hit’ in your gut. So while you both intentions are noble but for it to gratify you, you have to holistically have an intention for the best interest of your book’s success. Which, then, would also please your spouse!
  • Purpose. Do what matters – consistently – and that defines your sense of purpose. Write your core strengths and go tunnel-like with them to create something lovable at work. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like some aspects of your job. To be candid: we never get an ideal job which we would truly define us at work. But we can always create what we love – and that is through cultivating our strengths of our work. And gradually, our strengths will begin to harvest a seed of purpose for also doing things that were not in sync with our areas of interest. The weight of purpose always trumps the dissatisfaction of overall work we feel when we are not quite ourselves.
  • Positive self-talk helps. What you narrate to yourself, consistently, is what you begin to display in your emotions, talks and work. And so, it’s very important to first treat yourself well before you begin to treat others, with care and empathy. Once you are comfortable with yourself, you naturally become comfortable with others as well. As a result, bringing your whole self to work would no more be tense, especially when you are aware of how you want to communicate with your peers, colleagues, and boss and people in general.

These are certain implied changes you can make internally – and you will be on your way to be the most productive, positive and purposeful in your career and life.

Brand Experience, branding, customer experience, performance

Performance Vs. Experience – What’s The Long-term Solution For Your Customers?

A lot has been brewing on the Web about what keeps your customers happy and satisfied. Companies work very hard to meet their business growth KPIs and are increasingly outcome-oriented so that their customers see some tangible, measurable results.

And a lot is skewed upon performance – it’s an action-oriented word, literally and figuratively.

Different stakeholders across business functions work together to create systems, processes, and technology for better collaboration to meet their customers’ business goals.

Which, as it turns out, is necessary to always touch the threshold of your customers’ expectations – after all, it’s all about managing customer expectations, if you want to be remunerated solidly for your services.

Since the global economy underpins more service-based offerings, how are we, as marketers and business owners, transitioning towards a more holistic imagery: of products, solutions, ideas?

Whether you are a salon owner, a dental clinic doctor,  a clothing retailer, a fitness coach running your own gym, a restaurateur, or anyone who is making a living by serving your set of customers – you are not just what you are, but you offer in your service menu: in a seamless, considerate, professional manner.

In a term, it’s customer experience, as a result of a seamless customer journey.

While being performance-focused makes you generally competitive enough to be pitted against your other industry firms, but exerting more on experience will make your solution/product deeper, immersive and consumable for your customers.

With that being said, here are some reasons why you should focus on customer experience than ever before, instead of pressing on the sometimes-stress-inducing word, performance, because:

You will be a coherent identity: a consummate brand. Aligning your experience with customer’s [both internal and external] journey – via effective content that espouses your company values, purpose and world-view, bold ideas – will collectively give you a solid foundation for business growth and long-term impact.

You co-create, instead of operating in functional silos and inadvertently competently with each other. Creating a customer experience that is predicated more on skills and talent – irrespective of the role and responsibility that you employees have – is the secret sauce to being collaborative and productive. Your customers can see through the consistency aspect clearly in their buying journey when they are employing your services in their business episode. Further, you foster creativity and create more agile teams that in sync with what your customers’ need(s) in their business context.

You are in a state of flow and not lurking on a number/ business goal deadline. As a matter of fact, when you are more engaged in creating something memorable for your customers, you solidify a deeper emotional and functional impact of your brand. Experience is the ultimate reward can give your customers when you feel you are part of their story: unique, personal and special in their own ways.

In sum: both performance and experience have their own significance depending on your customers’ journey. However, as Whitney Johnson mentioned in one of her podcast conversations with Tiffani Bova, ‘Experience is now the product, irrespective of what companies are selling’.

How are you doubling down on this tenet?