Style of Business


To be an entrepreneur, you must be…? How do you think that sentence should end? “Brave”? “Determined”? “Innovative”?

Truthfully an entrepreneur must be many things; more adjectives than five are required in order to call yourself a true and successful entrepreneur. However, we’ve selected five of the most common and essential traits required to either become or sustain yourself as an entrepreneur.

Risk-Taking

We often think of risk as a dirty word — in fact, isn’t it better to avoid risk altogether? This might be true in some areas of life, but in others the phrase “go big or go home” is one hundred percent true. Just like in gambling, sometimes a big risk results in a giant loss. Other times it means you get a big pay day.

Without that risk, no matter the outcome, there would be no chance for that huge success. The risk doesn’t have to be monetary, either. Sometimes taking a chance on the little things can pay off in a big way.

Hungry

No, not in the way that means you want to go out to lunch. This kind of hunger is for success, for knowledge and for recognition — maybe you’d prefer to call it “drive.”

A good entrepreneur knows that they have to keep learning, but a great entrepreneur is one that truly wants to. This kind of hunger is one that drives them to better themselves and take those risks.

Adaptable

Not everything will go your way all the time, and that’s not just a lesson for entrepreneurs to learn. However, it might be a lesson that entrepreneurs benefit from more than most. Sometimes plans fall through and an entrepreneur has to adapt to the sudden changes. Not every scheme will be executed perfectly, not every vision will be clearly seen and sometimes a completely foreign scenario works its way into the mix.

A great entrepreneur doesn’t give in to this uncertainty — they embrace it.

Responsible

Gone are the days of laying around on the couch and brainstorming about your big business idea — you’re going to be an entrepreneur, which means your life is going to drastically change if you want to make all of your visions realities.

Even though you’ll be your own boss, you’ll still have all the responsibilities that come with that position. It also means you’ll have to handle money, and hopefully lots of it, in a fiscally responsible way.

Gregarious

Sure there are ways to become a great entrepreneur as an introvert, but the more outgoing and personable you are? The better you’ll be at networking and selling your brand. Creating relationships among your peers and in the business community will be vital to getting your business recognized, and you can’t do that on a concept alone.

Businesspeople are usually outspoken, self-assured and promoting. They know how to charm and talk to people in a convincing yet personable way. This kind of attitude also lends itself to sales — without being gregarious, the sales funnel becomes a lot more narrow.

It takes a lot to become an entrepreneur. How many of these attributes do you have yourself?

New Self-Activation Strategies for 2017

by Keetria on January 11, 2017


The time to start motivating yourself was yesterday, but there’s still no time like the present. In short? While it was probably a better idea to already have been working on your self-activation strategies for the new year, there’s still time to do so right now.

Self-activation is all about motivating yourself without outside influences. No buddy-system, no bribes, no tools. Just you finding the will to do something and executing a plan. Why is self-activation so useful? It removes the crutches many other motivation techniques use.

While these techniques in and of themselves aren’t bad, they still require an outside influence to get you motivated. What happens if you don’t have access to your reminder app and you’ve run out of credit card account space to buy yourself that reward for being so good about your to-do list? When you know how to self-activate, you know how to get things done no matter the circumstances or environment.

In 2017, think more about being mindful and looking within yourself to achieve your goals. Here’s how to get started:

Reflect More and More

Part of being self-activating is to be mindful. In fact, mindfulness and self-activation often go hand in hand. When you’re more aware of yourself and your surroundings, you’re more likely to get things done. You face reality and see what you must do.

Many people don’t take the time to reflect on the lessons they’re learning all around them and throughout their lives. When something profound happens to you, do you actually take some time to absorb the situation, learn and grow? Part of being self-activating is learning from mistakes and pushing forward in spite of failure, and self-reflection can greatly help with that.

Start Scheduling

A schedule isn’t counterintuitive to a self-activating lifestyle, as long as it doesn’t become your source of motivation. Organization isn’t the same thing as activation.

Thus, helping yourself figure out what all you have to do and when to do it is crucial to keeping things organized and flowing on time. Clutter and disorganization can often lead to self-activation hindrance because they create a large roadblock. The more distressed your mind becomes, the less likely you’ll be to self-activate.

Nap More

Seems like the opposite of self-activating, right? While you may not be able to indulge in a cat nap if you’re part of the working class, entrepreneurs should take more advantage of their lax schedules and sleep more often. Napping is a great way to reinvigorate the mind and reset both your physical and emotional system.

We often find ourselves living from one caffeinated beverage to another, and we drink more cups of coffee than we sleep hours at night. This sets a disturbing standard — we’re exhausting ourselves. It’s hard to be self-motivated when you’re exhausted, which leads to motivational crutches and full on burn out.

Finally, be self-activating about your own self-activation. Look for more strategies and find different ways to motivate yourself. Before long you’ll be a self-activation pro.

Branding Mistakes You Might be Making Right Now

by Keetria on January 4, 2017

brandmistakesNot every branding idea you come up with is going to be a winner – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Branding swings and misses can teach you very valuable business lessons, and that’s something you should take away from all of your mistakes. Whether your sales are slowing down or you royally flub up a marketing opportunity, take the positive out of the negative: at least now you know what not to do.

That being said, this is only completely true if you know what you’ve done wrong. For instance, your sales numbers are indeed going down – but why? Without knowing this critical component of the problem, you’re still stuck at square one. This is why identifying these common yet devastating branding mistakes is crucial to your overall success in marketing.

Your brand is purposeless.

A sloppy brand indicates a sloppy business. While many assume that marketing is the cornerstone of every business, it’s actually the brand image – this image should be present in all aspects of the business, from every piece of content tweeted to every mock advertising graphic made in Photoshop.

Because of this, a brand is supposed to have purpose and be easily definable. If you can’t easily come up with a two-to-three sentence long statement about your business’ brand identity, you’re doing it really, really wrong.

There’s no set voice to your brand.

Think about your favorite character on television or from a film. You can identify them by their voice – which is to say, both how they speak and the things they say. Now imagine a completely different voice coming out of their mouth. It’s kind of jarring, isn’t it?

Consumers identify businesses in a very similar way, which is based on how they sound and the way they say what they’re trying to convey. This isn’t necessarily about getting the same voice actor for every commercial either – do you think the same voices have been featured in every Coca Cola add for the past 50 years? No – but the brand image has a certain style to it that’s consistent. That’s the voice.

All of your content and marketing should carry this voice throughout. Without a consistent brand voice, your ship is sunk.

You aren’t investing capital.

New entrepreneurs with new businesses are often squeamish about spending money – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. It’s good to be conscious of your budget, but remember the old adage? You have to spend money to make money? Sometimes it’s true.

While it might be a lot cheaper to come up with your branding ideas in your garage over a couple beverages with friends, let’s be real – the best branding ideas likely aren’t just going to fall out of the sky and onto the hood of your car or kitchen counter. Spending money on expert branding advice can be critical to establishing your brand as a whole.

It’s unnecessary to pour your life’s savings into branding, but consider this – you get what you pay for, so why not spring for a branding consultant who’s worth the money?

brandingtipsYou’ve spent a lot of time building your brand messaging stock…but is it actually doing anything for you? If you aren’t putting attention on what your target audience is and if your branding is actually reaching them. Branding and marketing can’t be created and just tossed out onto the Internet as a catch all — extra work needs to be put in to ensure that the content reaches who it will actually appeal to.

There are two obvious steps to making sure that your branding efforts aren’t in vain: deciphering who your target audience is, then using analytics to ensure that they’re being accurately reached.

Establishing Target Audiences

The first step in establishing your target audiences is to simply sit down and see what makes the most sense. What audience does it make sense for your brand to reach out to? A specific gender? Age group? Niche audience? Profession? The more specific you can be, the better.

Demographics aren’t the only area to explore, though. Sometimes you need to appeal to how someone thinks instead of who they are, and this is called a psychographic. This is marketing and branding strategies that appeal to someone on a more mental level than an obvious category. Areas like a person’s values or interests fall into this category.

Sometimes a target audience is more abstract than a specific subset of people. This means that your brand identity is more vague — it’s not like there’s a specific subset of people that Coca Cola or Walmart advertise to. While an individual ad might have a target audience in mind, the brand itself doesn’t have one set demographic.

Establishing a Brand Connection

Once you’ve established what your target demographic is, it’s time to reach out to them. Depending on who your demographics are, how you reach out to them and build that connection may drastically change. Many key demographics can be reached via social media, but which sites? Do you have a target demographic in mind that isn’t so Internet savvy, like the elderly?

Analyzing the Outcome

The best way to understand if your brand is actually connecting with an audience is to analyze the data involved with your branding and marketing to see if it’s working the way you want it to. Many social sites and blogging platforms like Twitter and WordPress have built in analytics tools that you can use for free or at a very low price. These are great resources! However, it never hurts to spend a little money on tried and true analytics software.

Analytics is how you determine if your plans are actually succeeding. Without analytics, you push branding content out into the world blind. How will you know if it’s successful? Is it failing? Is it succeeding?

The great thing about analytics is that it can get into specifics. If you do a branding overhaul and see your sales go up, your plan worked — but why? How can you execute this same plan again and again to better ensure future success? Analytics is worth paying for, and it’s worth paying very close attention to too.

4 Websites Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About

by Keetria on December 1, 2016

trepresourcesAs an entrepreneur, you’re likely constantly looking for resources to help you along your business journey. Those just starting out with a business, or those who haven’t even coherently decided on a business idea at all, need all the help they can get to inspire ideas, get organize and get started on solidifying their plans for success. You’ve likely already got a few webpages bookmarked, but what about these?

The following for blog links are all great for young or new entrepreneurs who need a little boost to help them along. Open up the links and bookmark them in your browser for safe keeping.

Inc. Magazine

It’s very likely that you’ve got a couple Inc. pages bookmarked already, or perhaps you’ve simple read a piece from this site before? If you’re only familiar with this website in name and aren’t using it to the fullest, you may want to reconsider how important this site is to you. Inc. is a large resource for entrepreneurs of all calibers – from new, naïve entrepreneurs that are lost as to what to do; to older, more seasoned entrepreneurs that want to brush up on the newest best practices. If you want business info, Inc. has it somewhere in its depths.

Social Media Examiner

Don’t neglect your social media efforts – in fact, that’s one of the biggest flaws beginner entrepreneurs make. In the past, social media wasn’t that integral to business, whether it just hadn’t been invented yet or the social marketing revolution just hadn’t taken place. In this age of modern technology, however? Social media is as important to your success strategies as waking up and working on your business every morning. If you want to know how to successfully use social media for your new or small business brand, look no further than Social Media Examiner.

A Smart Bear

Let’s look at something not so resource-filled, shall we? Sometimes the best thing for a young, insecure entrepreneur who doubts their potential is to hear from someone else who used to be in their shoes. Millions of entrepreneurs around the world are trying to succeed right now, but only a few truly make it big – one of these chosen few is Jason Cohen, author of the blog “A Smart Bear.”

After selling is last start-up company in 2007, Cohen bowed out of that aspect of the business community. However, he still catalogs his experiences and knowledge in this very successful business blog, filled with insights and helpful hints.

Forbes Woman

Female entrepreneurs have a very unique and specific perspective as compared to their male counterparts. While a female entrepreneur should have every opportunity afforded to her that other entrepreneurs are given, we all know that sometimes this isn’t the case. They must work harder and can potentially face very different hurdles, like sexism and patronizing attitudes in the world of business.

Forbes Woman is designed with the female entrepreneur in mind. While all topics aren’t exclusively geared towards female-driven issues, all of the blogs and pieces ARE written by professional women with experiences they want to share.

The 4 Big Qualities You Need as a Female Leader

by Keetria on November 25, 2016

womentrepsIt’s a man’s world – but women in business are steadily working to change that. Make no mistake that largely influential women exist, and have always existed, but women in a business setting often have to work ten times as hard to receive the same level of respect as their male peers, and female leaders are looked with a magnifying lens. In short, it can be hard to lead a team, a business or a project as a woman – but it’s possible, and you can succeed.

All leaders require key traits, but women need those and then some in order to gain the respect of their peers, employees and others within a business setting. These are the four biggest qualities you need to succeed as a female leader:

Stability

Men often see a woman who is emotional as unhinged, while also reacting to cool, calm and collected women with choice expletives. In many situations, you can’t win for losing – but that’s okay, because the task at hand is really what should be king.

A strong female leader is one that is emotionally stable, and this isn’t just to jab back at the peers who attribute weakness to moodiness. Any leader must be calm and collected, but female leaders have something more to prove in how they are even, resourceful and emotionally clear-headed when making decisions.

In short, they don’t crumble in the face of adversity – they overcome it and are better for it.

Purpose

To be a leader you must be a visionary, and this means creating an innovative plan and executing it with purpose. When a leader makes a purposeful decision, they’re showcasing many other important leadership qualities: intelligence, resourcefulness and power. To be purposeful is also to know how to communicate well – you can execute orders clearly and see your plans come to fruition.

Determination

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Women in business know this idea very well, but female leaders must internalize it. All leaders must be determined, but women should be driven by the determination to prove themselves.

Female leaders don’t have it easy, and in a perfect world they would only have to work as hard as their male counterparts. Instead, determination and the idea that they must use all their skills and resources to make it to the top is why we have the powerful women figures that we have today.

Confidence

Finally, all female leaders should exude confidence. A confident leader is a leader that people can trust, and they know that everything will go according to plan under a leader who is sure of themselves and their ideas. This is the most critical quality because confidence is what gets people to follow you – no one wants to trust in an unsure leader, male or female.

Also, female leaders will likely be questioned more than their male counterparts. While this isn’t a reality that is agreeable, it’s one that must be faced head on. A good leader takes their confidence and wields it like a shield – that’s how a female leader becomes successful.

4bigquestions
You have a business and you have a brand – how do you measure the success of either? When speaking about analytics, the numbers that prove we’re doing excellent or failing miserably in business matter a lot. They’re how we fix problems, adjust successes and plan our future.

But sometimes numbers aren’t enough. When it comes to branding, both absolute values and figurative ideas matter. This means asking questions that you can’t answer without hard thought. Much like your SATs, brand success strategies will have an essay portion.

The best way to figuratively assess your brand’s success is with this set of questions first brought up by Ignition Consulting Group founder Tim Williams:

1. What do we do?

Perhaps the most basic measure of branding success is asking the simple question of what you and/or your business do. This should be answered in a simple sentence; for instance “I’m Tamara Collins, event coordinator and speaker.” “Amteck Industries creates steel solutions.”

This simple answer should always be incorporated in your branding. Should your entire branding strategy be so simple? Not necessarily. But consider that the basis of any good brand strategy is to start with the basics and explain in some way your true business purpose.

2. Who do we do it for?

Next, consider your audience – who are they? Are they a general audience or more specific? Do you cater to men over women? Entrepreneurs over working class people? Who you’re marketing to will dictate the focus of your branding, and this also brings into question your success.

How accurately do you represent this audience within your brand? Based on your analytics, who most identifies with your brand? Does this answer match up with who you want to identify with your brand?

3. How do we do it?

Now assess your values, what makes you and/or your business unique and your methodologies. Sometimes how you perform a service is what identifies you as a brand.

Consider Subway – this is a sandwich chain where your food is made in front of you and served immediately when you pay, unlike artisan sandwich restaurants that don’t operate on such a fast-food style of serving. How the food is prepared separates Subway from other restaurants, and you have to find what it factor you have as a brand and utilize it.

When determining success, look at your current branding methods. How much do you focus on what sets you apart?

4. Why do we do it?

Finally, branding should always convey a mission statement – put simply, a sense of purpose. Do you aim to bring a better value to the table, or higher quality products? Did you simply bring your business to life to fill a hole in the market, or is it something you’re passionate about for personal reasons.

Why you do something is extremely important to a savvy consumer. A successful brand building strategy will always tackle this personal, edgy angle because it’s how you can easily connect with customers around the globe.

fitnessdontsWe all have dreams of getting fit, or we may even already be on an amazing fitness journey. No matter what step of the path you’re on, we all have ideas about what it takes to be fit. Some fitness myths are more well-known than others, like dieting alone isn’t how you become healthy. Others, however, are much more specific and not as discussed.

Whether you’re currently on your fitness journey or considering your options, keep these fitness don’ts in mind – in fact, you may have already feel victim to a few of them!

Never Skip Breakfast

Ironically, the most important meal of the day is the one we most often take for granted. We get up late, grab a granola bar and then don’t think about food again until a late lunch break. Those trying to lose weight may skip breakfast to fend off a few extra pounds, and it’s easy because it’s a meal you can almost sleep through.

This is a big no-no. Breakfast is a meal where we get most of our daily energy, and it’s actually the perfect opportunity to load up on carbs and nutrients you need for energy.

Don’t Aim too High

If you’re new to fitness, setting a realistic goal like walking 30 minutes every Saturday and doing 10 crunches before bed during the work week is actually a good thing. We sometimes feel like in order to get fit or lose weight we have to go to extremes and exercise until we pass out. Instead, building strength and falling into a routine are two of the biggest components of fitness.

Also, setting your expectations too high is a good way to fast track yourself to failure. You’re more likely to become disappointed and give up when you don’t meet your goals, but the truth is you never could have met them in the first place.

Don’t Focus On Pounds

Most reality shows about weight loss put a big emphasis on losing a certain amount of weight in a set span of time. This is actually very unhealthy – don’t do it. If your doctor tells you to lose 30 pounds, that’s fine; but your workout routine shouldn’t be a question of a math equation. Work on promoting better habits and changing your lifestyle instead of picking out a target weight number. Otherwise you might make it to that number and quit because your only motivation is out the window.

Don’t Compare Yourself

Everyone’s fitness journey is different, just like everyone has a different body type and weight threshold. You may not ever fit into a size 4 because your hips or big, or maybe your weight gain is a bad medication side effect – simply put, we all have different setbacks and experiences.

It’s important that we don’t look at others and measure ourselves based on their successes and appearance because we aren’t them – and we never will be. Fitness is something that’s very personal, and your failures and successes should be measured by your own merits, no one else’s.

reachingoutWhen it comes to our motivation in life we often look inward or focus on tools we use separately by ourselves. Even when you buy the motivational audiobook or research everyday positivity tips, you’re still going it alone on this journey – but why?

Sometimes it’s because we believe we need to be strong by ourselves and for ourselves, and this isn’t necessarily false. We all like to believe we’re the one person army we’re supposed to be, and even when we need help making it through we should still help ourselves over extending a hand and asking for it, essentially showing weakness to someone else.

The problem is that sometimes we can’t get motivated or stay positive on our own, and there’s no fault in that. Weakness isn’t admitting you need help, but it is being too scared to ask for it. Reaching out can actually be a great way to get – and stay – motivated, but you do need to learn how.

Friends and Family

First, consider your loved ones. These are the people who would do anything for you and would gladly help you when you’re down and out. This should be the first place you look for motivation when it comes to asking others.

Why? First and foremost, your loved ones are who you’re most comfortable with. If you share your fears and flaws with anyone, these will be the people who will accept you above all else. They’re also the people whom you have easiest access to.

Similarly, friends and family are also great tools to use on your motivational journey because you want them to see you succeed. You want to accomplish your goals and make them proud. There’s nothing worse than letting down a loved one, so you definitely have something to prove when it comes to being motivated.

Peers

Sometimes the best motivation can come from someone we aren’t as close to and that’s because they’re a peer. When you go to work every day and see someone doing better than you, this can either make you self-conscious or it can drive you to be better.

Reaching out to a peer is a good way to push yourself to succeed like they have. Ask them their strategies for success and how they motivate themselves. You’ll often find they’re perceptive to your questions because they appreciate being looked up to and seen as a success themselves.

How to Reach Out

It’s often seen as awkward to reach out, but that’s because we think of the scenario as if we’re reading from a script. Don’t open with “I’d like you to help me get motivated” – instead, be more specific. As mentioned above, ask for advice. When it comes to friends and family, ask if they’d like to do something related to the task at hand with you, like help you sort through receipts or jog every day.

Reaching out doesn’t have to be hard – it’s only hard because we imagine it that way. Take a chance and reach out. You’ll certainly be better for it.

brandmakeoverYou’ve likely seen a makeover montage on TV or in the movies before. An ugly duckling (usually a woman, sadly) is taken through a variety of wardrobe changes, hairstyles and other beauty training, usually emerging as a beautiful swan after the process is complete. On the big and small screens this process is hackneyed, but it’s something that can be extremely useful in the world of branding.

Giving your online brand a makeover is no small feat, especially if your brand is well established. Just remember – if the big dogs of business can reinvent their brand image, so can you.

Attracting Different Customers

Sometimes a brand matures or finds a new purpose in the business world. This isn’t bad marketing – sometimes it’s entirely necessary. No matter the reason, it can be hard to take on a new consumer demographic, especially if you want to include a broader audience without completely alienating the original consumers.

The solution here is to isolate the pain point most experienced by your newly desired buyer. Once you discover how to sell to this demographic, you’ll more easily discover how to brand yourself accordingly.

Reestablishing Brand Voice and Personality

Think about one of your favorite companies that has been around for at least 30 years. Do you think their brand voice was the same in the 90s as it is now? Even going back five years can show you a drastically different brand voice a business once held. Times change, and so must a brand’s personality and voice.

A big catalyst for this change is usually culture itself. Think about the year 2016 and how it is extremely shaped by pop culture and global headlines. The way a business speaks reflects that change, and your business must too.

A brand voice and personality doesn’t have to lose professionalism, however. Just because you’re aware of trends and current times doesn’t mean your company has to tweet and post like the average millennial on Twitter. Establish a voice that’s personable and a personality that is friendly and you’ll do just fine.

Upgrading Visuals

Many businesses need to be forced into 2016. What gives away their anachronistic ways? Namely their website and visuals. You can always spot a business that’s anti-modernism based on what their website looks like, and that’s a crowd an innovative business doesn’t want to be lumped in with.

One of the easiest ways to give your brand a makeover is to upgrade your website. Current site designs are minimal and svelte; they retain function while cutting out the fat. How does your current website stand up to the trends of today?

Competition Analysis

If your competition is undergoing a brand makeover, you may want to consider doing the same. Businesses that rebrand themselves introduce themselves to a new spotlight, and you could be left in the dust if your competition beats you to the punch.

Do your research. Does your competition have flaws? If so, what are they? When you compare your own company to your competition, who wins and in what areas? How can you fix this problem? Once you answer these questions, adjust your brand accordingly.