Small Business Marketing Strategy & Process Development

Authenticity

Knowing Yourself – The Start of Your Success Journey

on April 26 in Authenticity, Clarity Through Strengths | 0 comments

I believe that success starts with knowing yourself–and defining your version of the word.  When we begin tapping into our authentic selves, we start to uncover what is unique to us. We begin to notice where we have deviated or fallen away from the path that is of our own design. And while perhaps different than what is expected, our idea of success–and our experience of it–is enhanced by our self-knowledge. When you step into knowing yourself, it is the beginning of the journey to owning and embracing your authentic self–and what you are capable of. This knowing is a huge key to capitalizing on positive contributions and appreciating what you can do for others. But knowing, owning, and embracing our authentic selves can be a challenge. There are barriers like competing expectations from within and externally. There are rules we have for others and ourselves about how we are supposed to show up. And some of us don’t want to do the work of self-reflection and discovery. Even for those interested in this process, life seems to have no pause button – when is there time to look inward, to ask the important questions? When we believe in the impact these efforts can have, we carve out the time to do it.  For starters, we are much better equipped to succeed when we operate from a place of knowing what’s important to us and what our natural talents are. A major turning point in life can start us on this path to knowing ourselves–and wanting more for ourselves. It may be an upheaval like a divorce, a layoff, or a health issue that propels us to reexamine what we’re doing in our lives. For me, it started with my cancer success story (which I’ll be speaking about on May 22nd). But major life changes are not the only reason to evaluate ourselves or “dream bigger.”  Many people simply acknowledge that they can raise the bar on their successes during the course of everyday life. They just need some clarity around what direction to take. This is also where looking inward and knowing yourself can provide the answers–and the necessary actions–for greater success. There are two steps that are important to this knowing – Knowing what...

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Building an Authentic Business as a Solopreneur

on March 29 in Authenticity, Small Business, Startups/Entrepreneurs | 0 comments

  As a one-person business, it can be challenging to define your brand if you haven’t tapped into your strengths, your purpose, your ideal clients, and your value proposition. Even if you did this foundational work in the beginning, if any one of these is “off” or changes, it can be hard to achieve alignment as an authentic business. Being aware of the shifts–whether they are within you or in the market–is continual work that is important but not urgent. Most of us are complex. Shaping our complexities into the right offerings (aka productizing our services) and an authentic and consistent brand is difficult to do on our own. We don’t always acknowledge or embrace our strengths and passions. We might have doubts around using everything we can potentially bring to the table. Plus, we have blind spots and distractions. We have to contend with confirmation bias. And finally we have limiting beliefs. In addition to being complex, we are providing value to complex people. We need to identify our ideal clients, understand them deeply, align our skills with their needs, and create messages that attract these people. Most often, solopreneurs or solo service providers (and sometimes even microbusiness or small business owners) feel like they must do all of this on their own! In doing so, they could miss the mark on any one of these outcomes. And in my experience, when solopreneurs are not seeing the results they expect, they don’t always solve the right problem. For example, people will say, “I need to market my business better,” “I need to get my Facebook handled,” or “We need new graphics on our website” and the list continues.  In many cases, they are assuming promotion is the answer. And throwing money at a solution before undertaking rigorous problem identification is a huge waste. Something I’m 100% against. I want to find the true problem–especially if it is foundational–and solve that. Sometimes solo service providers aren’t even aware that they need to revisit their foundations, but that’s a good first exploratory point in any marketing conversation. In 2013, I had a client come to me with totally different perceived (and mostly tactical) marketing needs. She was feeling the pressure of time-consuming marketing...

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Image and Authenticity: Are Image-Conscious People Authentic?

on February 29 in Authenticity | 1 comment

It’s a controversial question. I imagine in some cases, women in particular reading this may be protesting at the very suggestion. Maybe a better question is “What’s the opposite of authentic?” Is it artifice? Superficiality? Maybe. And if that’s the case, is focusing on image a small part of that?  I admit: I am skeptical about those who seem overly concerned with their appearances. Is there a connection between image and authenticity? I get that as women we are expected to pay attention to how we look. In many cases, we’re encouraged to look for deficiencies–and to cover them up. Men struggle with this, too, but they haven’t experienced the same societal pressures as women. In either case, one reason we might be image-conscious, regardless of gender, is we’re trying to “make up” for something we think is wrong, instead of allowing ourselves to accept what’s there naturally. For me, it’s about the reasons (and thoughts!) behind the actions. Makeup, nail polish, styling products–all potential signals we might be more concerned with image than substance. Does that mean I’ll never use them? No. Does it mean it I’ll be mindful about how and WHY I use them? Yes. I think it is important that people know when they see me it’s all about how I’m feeling in the moment. When I do use makeup, it’s minimally. More importantly, I’m not looking at flaws or covering up. There’s far more important work to do than sitting in front of a mirror! (I don’t even sit down usually if I’m going to put on makeup!) What matters to me is the intent behind the grooming. Not everyone who has a French manicure or a perfectly trimmed beard is obtuse. For me, the impression that someone might be “overly concerned” with image creates a lack of trust. This may just be a personal bias, but when I sense that someone is too invested in how they look–they have signs of the perfectionist with respect to “image”–I have doubts about their ability to be authentic. To accept themselves as they are. All this said, no matter what someone’s reasons are for showing up as they do, we can’t truly know why. We can only pay attention to our...

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What’s an A-Lister? Who’s on Your A-List?

on February 27 in Authenticity | 0 comments

As part of my authenticity journey, I’m grateful to have made so many real connections.  And since authenticity is the overarching theme of our relationships, it’s no surprise that some people are just naturally open, vulnerable, self-aware, and nonjudgmental with me.  We fall right in sync. When I find these folks, they are my A-Listers. The creme de la creme of authentic connections. I know that we can talk about anything, in confidence. We can show up without makeup and without judgement. And that we truly, deeply want to help one another. These type of people make up your A-List. I hope you have an A-List, too. Not just friends but professional contacts with whom you can show up as your whole self–and allow them to as well.  And on the off-chance you are missing an A-List or always have room for another A-Lister, you’re in luck: You may find yours at the next Certified Authentic Networker program....

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What’s Networking Worth to You? ROI Explored.

on January 27 in Authentic Networking, Authenticity, Small Business, Startups/Entrepreneurs | 0 comments

In talking to solopreneurs and microbusiness owners, I’ve heard many approaches to networking. Some people don’t like to spend money on it. Some think it’s a waste of time. Others understand and believe in networking as a valuable concept, but find the actual activity (or existing options) to be poor investments. Many have had mixed experiences with membership-based leads groups, but I’ve heard from a few raving fans. Some resent the pressure of “putting on a show” or projecting someone else’s (limited) idea of professionalism at networking events–and feel this is a major “expense.” What is networking really worth? Exploring Networking ROI Let’s look at the hard costs of networking first. In Phoenix, there are so many opportunities for networking events. THE place to go for event listings is NetworkingPhoenix.com. Here, you’ll find the most common event registration fees are $10-20, with the highest fee at $79. The average cost for a networking event comes to $39.50. We may also factor in gas, dry cleaning (if your idea of professionalism requires it), and, depending on the venue – food and drink. The value of your time (opportunity cost) may also be added. Now we might have an estimated cost of investment to plug into the traditional ROI formula: Gain from investment -Cost of investment Cost of investment GAIN is the hard part. Especially since traditionally this might be measured in volume–of business cards, interactions, meetings set, etc. But does that really represent GAIN? What we might measure instead is the depth of the relationships formed. But how do we put a value on the relationships we hope to create (or have initiated) at these events? This relationship value seems difficult to measure in traditional business terms for a number of reasons. Mainly, business deals or referrals don’t (always) happen automatically. So what kind of time frame do we allow for measurement? It’s not like email marketing, for example, in which you know the results quickly and there’s a window for measuring success. Specifically, in the first two days after an email is sent, 85% of open rates have occurred (Alchemy Worx). But, how do we factor time into this networking equation – particularly when someone we met long ago has now...

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