Where do you see your business in five years? How about in ten years?
Are you still at the centre of its operations? Are you speaking with every customer and handling all processes?
If the answer is NO, then now is the time to set up your brand to operate without you at its hub.
This topic comes up whenever someone asks if they should build a business brand or a personal brand. My answer always revolves around the level of involvement they wish to have (in the future). Do they want to remain visible? As the heart of the business? Or do they want it to operate independently from them? With other team members and processes taking care of customers?
If you would like to eventually extricate yourself from the daily operations of your business, then there are some provisions you can make now to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Let's get started.
How to Build Yourself Out of Your Brand
It can be difficult to back away from forward-facing business operations if you have been highly visible and involved. It can be utterly impossible if the infrastructure to move away is not in place.
No matter if you're looking forward to selling your business someday, staying in the background, or growing it so significantly that there's no way you'll be able to maintain contact with every customer, I have some tips for building a brand that you can scale yourself right out of:
- Name it Appropriately. If your name is Sue Smith, and you're building a business brand that will operate with a team at its helm, then your brand name should not include the words "Sue Smith." It should not include just "Sue" or just "Smith" (or anything that refers to you) for that matter. Give your brand a name it can grow into, rather than one it will grow out of.
- Clarify your Vision. This isn't about guessing or projecting where you'll be in five or ten years; it's about knowing…with a clear and present vision. It can be difficult to make good decisions and stay on track if you're not certain about where you're going. Plus, if you don't know where you're going, how will you know if you've arrived?
- Establish a Strong Foundation. If you spend time building a house without a foundation, the first wind storm that comes along with flatten it. Keep this in mind as you begin, focussing more on the strength of its foundation than on its outward appearance. For example, get your values, mission and vision in place before choosing brand colours and designing a logo. Otherwise, those visuals will never properly represent your brand, and your "house" will begin to lean.
- Visualise your Power Team. Even if you're doing it on your own now, that won't be possible for long. You're going to need a number of people, in a number of key positions, to make this brand run like a business. Create a vision board containing those key positions, along with descriptions of ideal candidates to fill them. Copywriter, social media manager, marketing director, Facebook ad specialist, customer service representative, sales person, bookkeeper, operations manager, personal assistant and CFO are just a few examples of positions you may need to fill.
- Forget about the HOW for Now. In the early stages, the WHAT and WHO are far more important than the HOW. The technologies and processes available to you years in the future cannot be predicted in this moment; therefore, just name your vision without worrying about how it will be implemented just yet.
- Name your Ideal Role. What role do you wish to play once you're able to fully remove yourself from day-to-day operations? This is important because you'll want to build your team around this business model. Will you be the CEO? Will you be head of the sales department? Will you oversee customer service or finance? Or, will you act as a consultant? You have the power to decide…and to decide now, in order to make it happen in the future.
- Set a Financial Goal. How much will your brand be worth in one year? How about in five years? Whatever number comes to you, add a zero to the end of it. You must aim high if you're going to show up every day and achieve something significant.
- Abandon Limiting Beliefs. This can be easier said than done; however, if you focus on what you'll need to achieve your goals, rather than those things that may hold you back, you're going to move forward with your business (and out of it) far more quickly. What energy level will be necessary to get through every day? And what type of diet and exercise regimen will make that possible? What types of habits and rituals will be necessary to get everything done? Without burning yourself out?
- Create Scalable Systems. When systems are in place, others can take over those processes and run the business when you're not there. Moreover, when those systems can be grown without detriment to their effectiveness, they can scale larger and larger, to support your growing business. Keep this in mind as you start, and choose systems with this type of potential.
- Develop an Intellectual Property Plan. Whose ideas will fuel the brand? Will everything bloom from your brain child (education, experience, beliefs)? Or will you bring in other experts to contribute to the entirely of your brand's intellectual property? Decide this early, so you can build your processes and team around your vision for the future.
- Prepare for Global Commerce. Into what countries do you expect to expand? Knowing this early can aid you in setting up financial systems that will accommodate all the necessary payment currencies.
- Build the Brand Based on your Lifestyle. When you build a brand, it should be constructed around the lifestyle you desire, with the understanding that your customers are there to provide you with the life you want. Do it strictly for the money, or strictly for your customers, and you will suffer. Believe me; I've been down this road, trading my time for money. My health suffered. My relationships suffered. Now I have it all, and there's no reason you should settle for anything less than that.
As you build your brand (to eventually build yourself out of it), remember to set it up so that you can bolt and unbolt features as needed. This is the time to put the basic infrastructure in place, so you can customise your brand as it grows.
Have questions about how you should be building your brand to achieve your goals? Then let's schedule a 1-Hour Intensive Brand Audit. I'll take a look at your brand vision, what you've done, what you're planning to do…and give you a plan for moving forward on the shortest possible path to those goals.