Brand Experience

My Takeaways From Entrepreneur India Summit 2019

A confession: I’ve barely been to any [networking] event in the recent past. And so, gracing EI Summit 2019 was indeed a delight. I met so many new entrepreneurs and startups that are brimming with new ideas and new ways to get funding, improve lives, have more visibility, and meet other entrepreneurial folks in the ecosystem.
My very own IIPM alumnus Avneesh Chabbra, the founder of BabySaffron, was of the panel speakers in the arena of family business growth discussion. I also loved sessions by Vaibhav Aggrawal, Partner at Lightspeed Ventures, among many others.
So, without further ado, here are my top 5 take takeaways from this immersive and engaging 2-day event.
  1. You’re not alone. Look around; you have entrepreneurs everywhere! Don’t feel scared when you’re all by yourself with a little voice echoing inside you that says, ‘You’re enough!’ As long as you have an idea and a passion to make things happen, even if if means taking a small step, take the plunge!
  2. Solve a problem. Taking a leap into entrepreneurship is extremely risky and difficult. No two days are the same. Especially when you can identify a business problem, go ahead and figure how how you can solve it with your unique gifts, talent and hard work. Having better problems can endow your ecosystem with smarter and effective solutions – which will not just improve your business unit economics but also improve your economy’s health.
  3. Build your brand. Focus on developing your brand when it comes to who you are, what you stand for, and why. This means you need to develop your brand voice in terms of your vision, mission, values, cultural DNA and your work principles. When you document your existence, it becomes easier to scale and operate.
  4. Trust yourself. Entrepreneurship also means failing a lot and reframing those failures into new avenues/ opportunities. Sometimes even when you don’t see the market ready for your business proposition, have the conviction to keep moving along. You need to have trust in your business value that will thrive in the long-term. Pre-prepare and be ready to navigate through failures and contingencies.
  5. Cultivate the founder’s mentality traits. As per the book The Founder’s Mentality by Chris Zook and James Allen, there are 3 key traits of the founder’s mentality – the insurgent mission (your focus and purpose and what differentiates you), the front-line obsession (ground level detail of your customer experience), and the owner’s mindset (having a bias for action, speed, efficiency, and an aversion to bureaucracy). When you infuse this founder-led mentality in your organisation, you create a strong sustainable competitive advantage for all growth stages.

 

All in all – a great event!

Looking forward to the next edition.

In case you attended the event, do share your learnings.

Until then, onward and upward.

Brand Experience, learning insurance

Your Brand Needs A Learning Insurance (Here’s How)

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Every brand today needs to constantly learn to adapt, sustain, and thrive. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a professional working in an organisation, or someone looking to start out fresh after a flailing business, you are ‘usually safe’ when you are learning along the way.

We all experience difficult patches in our careers and business at some point. But accepting these frailties beforehand and planning a succession from thereon is what our strategic imperative should be. Instead of ruminating of what didn’t work, you should think of how can you redirect yourself from your failure towards a new progression path.

Truth be told: this sounds easier than we think. But if we are firm in what we can offer to the world through our expertise or even evolving know-how, you’d always go north.

So, as the title reads, what does ‘learning insurance’ mean anyway? And how can we apply this perspective to our thinking complex, simply?

Learning insurance means you’re [financially] covered and progressively secured in your career as long as you invest in your personal and professional development.

When you learn more through others’ midway [and even starting] failure points, you can pivot accordingly.

That said, how can you cultivate a learning mindset and still be insured when you’re facing trying times?

  • Focus on learning outcomes. Instead of flubbing with your performance goals, focus on deducing learning outcomes through playful experimentation. That way, your curiosity- of exploring new possibilities – will help you stay driven even when you don’t see some conspicuous results. The good part? When you operate through your place of comfort-stretches, you’d see incremental improvements, which over a period of time will strengthen your performance in your business/ career. See from the lens of learning agility and you will learn to create value as per your market’s demand

 

  • Nourish and nurture your seeking system. Alive At Work by Daniel M. Cable talks about the amazing benefits of activating our seeking system– which is the dopamine circuit in our brain, linked to intrinsic motivation. When you activate your seeking system, you are fuelled with self-expression, excitement and curiosity that will keep you consumed in doing what you love. Your seeking system doesn’t just help you learn creatively, it also drives you to make art through your passion for your work. And this involves achieving your goals faster when you learn what you’re passionate about creating something meaningful, purposeful.

 

  • Read books [yes, paperback]. Don’t just read in your leisure time. Try and finish at least 2 books a week – related or unrelated to your profession. It can feel great and consumed when you read paperback books. Books can offer a new perspective and stretch your mind to think beyond your cognitive capacity. There is something magical about a fresh new book: it can make you think deeper and absorb you to delve into new thinking patterns. Books can also sharpen your business intuition, which in turn will make you solve complex business problems through clear and holistic thinking. And not to forget, reading books infuse you with new business ideas to grow and monetize your expertise.

 

How are you keeping your brand’s ‘learning’ insurance in check?

Let me know!

 

 

 

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.

Marketing Strategy

Your Brand Is Not Alone

Oftentimes the conversations you trigger about your brand starts with ‘I’. While it’s a word that speaks of initiative and drive – after all it’s you who has given birth to your brand. But, when we always roundup our brand talks with ‘I’, we also feel that opinion overshadows outcome (in some cases).

Now think of moments when you comment on someone’s post or content, and surprisingly, people understand your perspective, because you also think of your individualism as a plural.

This is where you don’t feel reclusive or a bit sidelined; in better frame of words: your brand is not in its contours of brand-speak. Instead, when you think like your audience – and your community in general -quite pleasantly, people relate to your perspective (which inadvertently speaks about your brand).

So reframe your brand’s positioning by thinking more like ‘us’, more like ‘how can I help my audience’, more like ‘how can I fundamentally ‘get’ my audience?’ And that’s when you relate and effectively respond to conversations.

Your ‘brand’ is not a shop; it’s a platform in itself for people to participate and create a better ecosystem that underpins your purpose. So harness the collective and blend it with your brand’s persona – this anchor spot should help you to stand out from the competitive brand world yet make your brand a part of your audience’s lives.

That said, there is also an audience that sits somewhere in the continuum of your brand’s journey from I to us: people who have contrarian opinions/ perspectives. That’s when you can seed in and also find some ‘grey’ points where you can park in the word ‘I’ with humility and empathy.

Remember: your brand is not alone. It’s just finding the right minds that can speak a language that is better than the two ‘I’ combined. Because, at some point, 1+ 1 can be greater than 2. We can outnumber, outshine and evolve better when voices meld – however only when we understand, relate and empathize with each other instead of going into the rabbit holes of competing and comparing.

Agree?

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.

 

 

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