Now that we have a couple of our introductory topics up, we can finally dive into something fun. We say fun because, today, we’re going to look at steps you can take right now to improve your small business. Also, at the end of this post is a downloadable PDF which can help you define your brand and draft your mission statement in less than an hour—for free!
Today’s subject is about alignment, which we feel is one of the most important elements that most business owners miss when collaborating with others on a project. Without alignment from the very beginning amongst everyone involved, any plan is set out to be a disaster—filled with unnecessary revisions, out of scope deliverables, extended deadlines, etc. You know what we’re talking about; everyone has been down this road.
The reason: people usually interpret what others say by putting it into context with what they already know. As humans, sometimes one person’s perception can differ from another even when we’re talking about the same exact thing; with just the slightest of misconceptions, any well planned action can be brought to a halt. This is why it is so important to address this issue at the very outset of any undertaking.
Below are 3 exercises that we utilize to help our partners—to help you—create a clearer blueprint for your small business and brand, and work through this stumbling block.
It’s nice to know your target market and their demographics, but that can only take you so far. What we’re talking about here is having knowledge of your customers’ deep-rooted needs and desires. A thorough understanding of how their life can be made a lot easier; what problems they’re trying to solve; what aspirations they’re going after.
Getting to know your customers at a much deeper level enables you to create products and services that are above and beyond of what is expected. It leads to a position where you can create value, and what you are offering is sought after instead of the other way around. Having an insight into this kind of information helps to determine the best direction for your product or service; it creates a funnel that results in an aligned objective that everyone understands and can act on.
“A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product. A brand is a persons gut feelings about a product, service or organization.”
The Brand Gap
How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design
By already having deep knowledge of who your customers are, defining what your brand is becomes more manageable. A whole post can be written about branding, but simply put your brand is what others perceive of your business not what you make out your business to be. With that said, you have absolutely no control over how people will think of your company. But you can position yourself in a place that is most advantageous.
Big agencies use long-winded procedures to outline a brand, which fits big corporations; for smaller brands we work with a leaner, much quicker model that creates the same results. We help define your brand by breaking it down into bite-size subjects that can be quickly described and emphasized—these are:
D. Emotional Benefit
F. Distinctive Trait
The culmination of the adjectives from each topic is a picture of what your brand is. It creates a mission statement, of which meaningful business strategies can be designed. Having a picture of what success is creates a clear path to follow and provides actionable steps in order to stay on that path. By looking at your brand’s individual attributes, you save time and energy in creating an objective roadmap.
Everyone is familiar in exercising goal setting, but not everyone is familiar in prioritizing. When business owners end up doing a lot of work yet aren’t any closer to where they want to be, this is the reason why. Priority, being key, is what creates results. Here at Part1 Collective, we help you define and prioritize your goals from the start; we do this by organizing them into three categories:
Most business objectives fall under one of these categories; by focusing on one specific category at a time, defining and placing priority on your goals is much more straightforward. Having an understanding of what needs to be done now, what can be done later, and what can be left out provides clear, time manageable steps where you can take action.
These exercises are only part of a wider range of methods within our discovery phase, but they are the most fundamental. They create the foundation needed that will set you up for success. By applying them in running your small business, you can create business strategies that are much more effective and reliable—because having a product or service and merely marketing the hell out of it simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
Now without further ado, the following is a link to our free resource: How to Define Your Brand & Draft a Mission Statement
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