So you want to build a brand? That's remarkable, and I'm so impressed with you and proud of you. You're already ahead of the competition, because you know how important it is to build a brand—not just open a business.
There's only one problem: You don't have the capital to pay experts to enact every facet of your new brand building mission.
So what's a driven start-up owner to do?
You can do it yourself!
Yes, you read that correctly. You can work, in your spare time, to acquire the skills necessary for brand building. Everything from graphic design to marketing campaign implementation is within your reach.
Read on to learn how you can save money and enhance your own profile with skill building for brand building.
Choosing the Skills you'll use for Brand Building
I have been in branding for decades, and in that time I have seen brand builders take on tasks they weren't prepared for. I've also seen them farm out tasks they could be doing for themselves. Seeing these things shaped my branding methodologies and the ways I think about strategising to increase visibility and sales. Even more, my own missteps brought me to deeper understandings of what doesn't work, why it doesn't work and what would work better.
Does this mean you must endeavour to do every part of your branding strategy on your own? Absolutely not! What you do for yourself and what you delegate to others is completely up to you.
- A tasks are those things you love to do. You're good at them, they make you money…and no one in your line of business can do them quite as well as you do. In fact, you enjoy them so much you've considered offering them for free at one point or another.
- B tasks are those that you can do, and that must be done, but you're not crazy about them, you're not skilled in them and you rarely make money doing them.
- C tasks are the last things in the world you should be doing, they don’t make you money, they’re completely admin related, they are distractions to making money and are the first things you should farm out.
The beauty of this exercise? You can choose to complete every task for yourself, to delegate half your tasks or to contract everything out except the one thing you do best.
And the appeal of it? You can improve the skills you already have (and love), as well as pick up new skills you're interested in learning.
There's no better way to create a work day you'll love, to build a better brand and to increase profits.
Better Brand Building with Skills Acquired in your Spare Time
No matter how you choose to proceed, I hope you pick up at least one new skill (that you're interested in), to not only reduce your branding and marketing costs, but to broaden your personal and professional horizons.
Here are some options for expanding your branding and marketing skills, including formal education, webinars and independent research. The development of each skill will add value to your branding strategy whilst saving you money. Even if you contract someone to do the initial task for you, then learn from how they implement their skills and do it yourself for future projects, you're saving and growing.
- Psychology: Wouldn't it be great if you could get inside the head of every prospective client? To know what they're afraid of and quell those fears? To say the words that will put your brand foremost in their minds? And to crash right through objections…even before they can express them? How about content writing and advertising? How much better could you communicate through these media if you knew exactly what was going through the minds of your ideal customers? These are just a few of things you can accomplish with some general knowledge of human psychology. You don't need a degree—just a simple understanding of Psychology 101 will greatly improve the way you communicate with people, as will a healthy appetite for psychology books and articles.
- Public Speaking: This one was a game changer for me. When Miles left the business, I had a decision to make: Sell it or take over as front woman. I never really saw myself as the face of the business, but there I was, not willing to give up something that meant so much to me. And so, I connected with several world-class public speaking trainers (in the different areas of building a public speaking business) and my brand was transformed in more positive ways than I can count. Public speaking is absolutely necessary for creating personal connections with your audience members, and there's no better way to make a great, branded impression.
- Improv: Not what you expected to read? Most people are surprised by this, but let's think about it for a moment. The impromptu elevator pitch, the public speaking engagement that's running under time, the cold call that goes off-track, and the in-person networking event are just a few examples of times when improvisational skills can come in handy. You'll develop the ability to think on your feet and stay cool under pressure. Just imagine how it will enrich the impressions you make! Or, you can opt for our 8-Step Master Your Message System, which is perfect for creating your Fame Name, your 10-second, 30-second and 60-second pitches and preparing you for growth. Contact us for more information on how you can get started.
- Writing: Online content is essential to building a brand, and when you're able to create your own content, you can be sure that the language is branded and that your values are demonstrated there—AND if you learn to write well, you can make the best impressions. Let's not forget the value of becoming a published author. You will build your reputation and your brand's visibility, you'll establish yourself as an expert in your field, you'll create passive income and so much more. If you have even the slightest desire to write your own content, a copywriting course or two can boost your ability to communicate clearly, drive traffic to your online places and convert strangers to friends, friends to customers, and customers to long-term, loyal clients.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimisation is considered by many (at least those who don't understand it) to be a dark art. An online course in the latest white hat SEO procedures can boost your webpages' search engine rankings and get your brand found more often and by more of the right people. In the Brand Builders Club, you’ll find regular training on how to get your online positioning, Google ranking and visibility strategy working hard for you, even whilst you sleep. Get in touch to find out how you can get involved.
- Graphic Design: How cool would it be if you could create your own business cards, social media graphics, web designs and more? And professionally reproduce them? There is a lot to be learned about the power of colour, fonts, lines, shapes…however, if this is something that appeals to you, you can save tonnes of time and money by becoming your own personal graphic designer. In The Brand Builders Club, we'll show you how J
- Motivation: How much sh*t could you get done if you woke up stoked and ready to tackle everything on your list? There are some pretty impressive coaches out there, who know how to light a spark and teach you to fan your own flame, every day. I experienced unbelievable progress in this area by working with Norman Graeter of The Be Yourself Academy, who teaches his followers how to stay motivated when you have lots of goals to achieve.
- Organisation: Building a brand requires having a number of balls in the air at once, and if you're a highly disorganised person, this can pose a major problem for you. You'll find yourself dropping opportunities in order to pursue other opportunities…only to realise you've left all the right ones pass you by. Some people are naturally well-organised. Others need to be taught. This is something you can learn, and something you can use for highly progressive brand building.
- Photography: Humans are visual beings, and crave the stories that pictures tell. Just imagine if you could stop relying on stock photography and instead capture images that are not only unique to your brand, but that accurately communicate your brand's values. An introductory photography course will be enough to take you from blurry smartphone photos to vivid, high-quality images. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, there are great image libraries we can recommend that involve negligible costs per month and provide some pretty awesome images for using in blogs, brochures, social media posts and more.
- Web Design: Your website is your virtual storefront, and you need to capture visitors' attention within seconds of them landing there. The functionality and aesthetic appeal of your website says a lot about your brand, and it could literally make or break your company's online success. Very few brand builders create their own websites; however, there are platforms that offer loads of assistance and plug-ins, requiring only a basic knowledge of how coding works. I don't recommend platforms that 'do it all' for you, because most of them use templates which can't possibly meet your unique brand's needs. I would, however, highly suggest joining our 90 Minute Masterclass on How To Plan, Structure & Build The Right Website For Your Business First Time, so you know how to create a website that is ready for you to grow into, and that is highly functional and appealing to your ideal customers.
- Marketing: What separates a viral advertisement from all the rest? What captures the undivided attention of audiences? And what causes people to lose interest? These are answers that marketers have, and by studying the psychology and methods of marketing, you too can make the types of marketing decisions that gain visibility and recognition for your brand.
- Accounting: This is one that most business owners delegate to other professionals; however, if you're a numbers person, and are willing to farm out other tasks in favour of 'keeping the books,' then a course or two in accounting will benefit your business. I'll warn you, though: if you're going to pursue this, be prepared to check the numbers every day: money in, money out, funds in the bank, revenue-to-date for the month and year, overhead spending…you get the idea. This is no small undertaking; however, if you do pursue the accounting side of the business, you will have a daily glimpse into the effects of your work.
- Sales: This is one that almost everyone needs. What most brand builders don't realise is that there are lots of people out there who can teach them how to sell. On the softer side, you can learn from those business owners who are masters at serving…with the understanding that unparalleled service equates to sales. Join our 10-Day Sales Strategy Challenge to put the right structure in place for your sales strategy, which will enable you to become a brilliant salesperson through serving, not selling. One of our clients started her business, went through this training, and only two weeks after launch was converting at 200%!
- Social Media: There's so much more to social media marketing than throwing some random photos up on your timeline and then walking away. It's about relevant content, engagement and service. An introductory course in social media marketing might be enough to get your gears turning in the right direction. We recently delivered a 90-Minute Masterclass on How To Create A SMART Social Media System. Ask us for more information on how you can get your hands on it J
- Video Creation: Videos seem to do it all these days. They inform, they entertain, they sell…and without the knowledge about how to create videos that look professional, your brand could be left behind. There are loads of online courses available that teach brand builders how to create videos that accomplish all their goals.
- Body Language: This one supports psychology training, and is a little more specific. Whenever you're talking to people (whether in-person or through a live video app), they are giving physical cues that indicate how they're feeling, what they're thinking and more. Things like blink rate, pupil size, foot position, thumb position and other signs can give you the clues you need to win their allegiance or close the sale.
- Business: Just because you want to own a business doesn't mean you know how to start one, run one, grow one or sell one. A little (or a lot of) Business 101 can give you the edge you need to make the small decisions that end up making big differences. Andrew Priestley is an expert in business leadership, and he just happens to be my very own business coach who also delivers training at our quarterly events. Find out more at https://howtobuildabrand.org/vip-backstage-pass/.
- Self-Confidence: Brand building can be a roller-coaster ride of massive proportions, and can at times be scary, even for the most confident brand builders. Fear is a good thing; it indicates those areas where you need to push harder and pursue more. However, it can sometimes be difficult to believe that you've got what it takes, and that's where a self-confidence coach (or even just a class) can make the biggest kind of difference.
- Fashion: Is your clothing properly representing your brand? I'm not just talking about how you shouldn't be wearing ripped jeans to an important client luncheon; I'm talking about making colour and style choices that cement your brand in the brains of everyone you meet. A personal stylist can make massive strides for you in this area to dress you in the right way using your brand colours; showing you the best ways to convey your corporate values with the clothing, makeup, jewelry and cologne you wear. If you don’t know what your brand colours should be, consider taking Sammy Blindell up on her 1 hour Intensive Brand Audit
- Creativity: Too many of us are taught that creativity has no place in the business world—that business is numbers and that creativity should be reserved for the arts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creativity feeds innovation, and all businesses must innovate if they wish to compete. Connect with people whom you believe to be uber-creative and learn from the ways they open their minds and draw inspiration from the world around them.
- Language: When I moved to France to retire after selling my last business in September 2013, I decided I should learn French. I’m not fluent, but it sure did help with communications, both on a personal and professional level. It aided me in winning clients I would have otherwise been unable to communicate with. If your brand is expanding into other parts of the world, or if its base is home to a number of different languages, consider broadening your own linguistic horizons.
- Empathy: There's a reason some large companies require their employees to attend empathy training. Firstly, their lawyers probably insist upon it. Secondly, it greatly enhances those employees' interactions with customers and other team members…all of which builds the brand. Not everyone is born with a deep sense of empathy. You can, however, learn to pick up on cues and to be more conscious of others' feelings with empathy training. This will aid you in developing marketing campaigns (you'll know how your ideal customers feel, so you can speak to their emotions) and in all types of communications.
You can hire an expert to handle any one of these areas for you, and if you need references, I'm happy to point you in the right direction. If you're more of a DIY brand builder, and want to tackle any or all of them for yourself, I can help with that, too. Simply message me at [email protected] or connect with me on Facebook. I can point you in the right direction, where you'll find loads of resources and branding advice to support you as you grow.
Did you know that there's an expert for just about every one of these aspects of brand building in the Brand Builders Club? If you haven't heard about the club, it's the world's most effective online strategic brand-building mastermind and training programme for international freedom-focussed entrepreneurs of purpose-driven businesses. There are loads of networking, joint-venture and brand-building opportunities in the club, and they're all waiting for you there. Simply email [email protected] to talk about membership.