Style of Business

Branding takes finesse. It takes a fine eye, an understanding of the market and a savvy account of what consumers really want. You would think well-established companies had these bases covered…but the sad truth is that everyone has a blind spot.

If there’s one thing you need to learn from other businesses, it’s what NOT to do. You’ll find you learn a lot more from someone’s branding disasters than their branding successes.

Gap’s Major Mistake

One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that iconic logos probably shouldn’t be altered or tampered with. In the case of fledgling businesses, pick a logo that works and stick with it.

Gap did exactly the opposite of that in 2010. Despite being a company with a logo that’s iconic to the brand, Gap decided that some change was necessary moving into the new decade. They swapped their white-text-on-blue-square logo for black text on a white background with a small blue box. The new look was dated and out of sync with their image. In the end, the disaster cost them big bucks.

Bust Buy

Another company with an iconic logo, Best Buy, tried to change their image up in 2008. You may not remember the new look simply because it lasted for only a few weeks. Switching from their black text/yellow price tag look to a more minimalist design didn’t actually fare well for the company. The new design was clunky and didn’t utilize space well.

The lesson to learn here is always be aware of your design skills. If you aren’t capable of designing a winning logo, look elsewhere and don’t be ashamed. If even companies like Best Buy can have graphic design misses, you’re allowed to have a few too.

I’m Not Even Sure

Intrigued by that subheading? You might be even more intrigued by the actual logo itself. Without reading the text, what kind of company do you think would inspire this kind of squid-like disaster?

The reality is that Cottbus is a German city. The city, looking to rebrand themselves, created a contest that awarded 800 euros to the winner. This was the design that was selected, though the city soon realized their mistake. They’ve since rebranded after Internet users turned their new logo into the newest meme. What can you learn from this? It’s simple: don’t make obviously bad decisions.

If it Ain’t Coke…

…don’t fix it. However, Coca Cola has attempted to do this multiple times. While their can design changes have been welcomed more often than not in recent years, the iconic beverage company has tried over and over again to sell a new formula of their drink.

If there’s one thing Coca Cola doesn’t need to adjust when it comes to branding, it’s their product. They have a winning recipe, but of course any brand as old as theirs will want to switch things up now and again. Your takeaway is this: know what should change and what should stay the same.

Entrepreneurs live very busy lives. They go, go, go and never find the time to fully come to a stop. If this defines your own life, consider this: you can be just as productive while still having inner peace and a way to put your mind at ease when you do find some down time.

Many entrepreneurs might think this is ridiculous. A way to stay busy while still being able to relax when you need to? Preposterous! The truth is that it’s entirely possible thanks to one helpful technique: mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the ability to focus entirely on the present, and that’s in the most literal sense. Not the current day or the current week instead of a far-off to-do list. No, mindfulness means focusing on each second as it passes; being utterly and completely in the moment. It’s unrealistic to say you can always tune out your busy day, but practicing mindfulness gives you a place to escape when it’s time to put work down for the night.

But…how can you stay mindful and practice mindfulness when you have such a busy schedule to adhere to? I have a few tips that can make it work for you, no matter how packed your schedule is.

Skip the evening…go for a mindful morning.

Many entrepreneurs feel the pressure to practice mindfulness during the evening, right after they (maybe) finished up their to-do list. While this is the time when it’s most helpful to be mindful, don’t leap into mindfulness right after you round out your day. Instead, practice mindfulness when it’s easiest — during the morning.

In the morning, it’s a lot easier to clear your head. Right after you wake up, you haven’t thrown yourself into the thick of the day. At night, you’ve already got a ton of work thoughts swirling around in your head.

Set aside time for short breaks.

It’s not to say that you need to take whole 15 minute chunks out of your day to practice mindfulness. Instead, set aside little bite-sized pieces of time (like three to five minutes) to let go of all of your thoughts and slip into being in the moment. This can help to keep your mind sharp and focused during the day, and it also keeps your brain from going 100 miles per hour non-stop throughout the day.

Indulge the senses.

One of the most important aspects of mindfulness is, well, being aware of your mind and what it’s feeling. The best way to do this is to directly stimulate the senses as much as possible.

A great opportunity for this that doesn’t interrupt your schedule is your lunch break. Put aside your phone and focus only on your food. Savor each bite and catalog the flavors, smells and textures of what you’re eating. Is it cold? Is it crunchy? Does it make you feel nostalgia or bring up a memory?

Being in the moment means truly feeling every emotion and sense that passes through your body. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ve truly mastered mindfulness.

In this week’s podcast episode public speaking consultant and coach Pam Terry shares valuable information on why public speaking is such a challenge for most. The CEO and Founder of The In Demand Speaker and NOWW Media, she also discusses a few tips on how to overcome those challenges. Be sure to listen in. You can also grab Pam’s free must-have guides 7 Proven Steps and How to Easily Create an Award Winning Presentation on her website at For more information on how Pam Terry can help accelerate your public speaking game – visit her website or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Women are more powerful than you really know — but why don’t you know? It may be because female entrepreneurs aren’t exactly discussed in the mainstream. If you hear about one, it’s usually a puff piece…a sort of “look what this one woman can do!” type of segment or article that discusses what she’s’ accomplished in spite of being “just a woman” instead of in spite of all the hurdles women have to overcome.

The next time you’re worried about your own struggles as a female entrepreneur, look to these shining examples of female power.

Sarah Blakely

If you’ve ever tugged on a pair of Spanx, you have this woman to thank. Known as one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in business, her shapewear invention has earned her $1 billion in profit over the years. Thanks to her inventive mind and a need for better undergarment options, Blakely cut up a pair of pantyhose and created the most innovative underwear since the push-up bra. Since her iconic invention, Blakely has created a privately owned company and has diversified into jeans and yoga materials.

Mary Kay Ash

If you’ve never heard of Mary Kay Cosmetics, you may have been living under a rock. Founder of the iconic makeup brand, Ash originally created her company in 1963. Ash married at 17, had three children with her first husband and then divorced him in 1945. She founded her makeup company in 1963, one month after the death of her husband that she had intended to go into business with. Despite her situation, Ash persevered and established herself as an incredible entrepreneur.

Sheryl Sandberg

Don’t immediately recognize this name? You may have read her critically acclaimed book “Lean In,” or you might frequent the little social media site that she’s the COO of: Facebook. One of the things Sandberg champions is female empowerment and entrepreneurship. Sandberg loves giving back to the community, even when faced with extreme hardships, like the sudden death of her beloved husband.

Arianna Huffington

Signed on as editor in chief of The Huffington Post through 2019, Arianna Huffington is one class act. Creating a blogging aggregate turned credible news site, Huffington has paved the way for budding journalist and thought influencers by giving them a great and wide platform to host their content. Huffington has had her ups and downs throughout her career, but she’s definitely come back swinging every time.

Jenny Craig

It’s hard to maintain a steady place in the weight loss industry, but Jenny Craig has been successful at being on top since she began her eponymous company. If there’s one thing to learn from Craig, it’s that adaptation is key to staying alive in business. Her company has changed throughout the years, keeping current and up to date with weight loss trends as they shift and evolve. Since the company was founded in 1983, Craig has branched out from Australia to over 700 weight management centres around the world.

Before you lay down any solid ground work for your business, you have to come up with a brand. Why is this such a quintessential step? Because your brand is your business’ soul. It’s the personality that separates it from the rest of the crowd. Without a discernable, unique, vivid brand, your business is an empty husk.

However, creating a brand from scratch is a tricky task. No one ever said branding was easy, but it is rewarding…still, it’s only fulfilling if you know how to do it the right way. Otherwise you’ll have a lot of balled up scratch paper sitting haphazardly around you office trash can, covered in half-baked ideas that don’t go anywhere.

Like all artforms, branding comes from an idea — an inspiration. In order to cultivate that inspiration, you have to ask yourself these three important branding questions. If you don’t know the answers, you don’t have anything close to a workable brand.

Question 1: Why do you want to create this company or business?

This may sound like a simple question, but try to answer it in short-form essay format. It’s not enough to say “to sell stuff” or “to make a quick buck” even if those answers are true. No, branding requires something a little more raw and personal than that.

Say you want to start a business selling a new type of food tray for toddlers and infants. This might be your quick idea at a cash cow, but think of the brand itself: what does that type of product say to consumers? It’s a helpful product, meant to nurture infants and appeal to frustrated, tired mothers. This kind of branding image should be soft and maternal — maybe rounded and green in color.

Branding comes about when you truly get to the heart of why a business exists and what the product gives to people. This is the heart of any good branding schematic.

Question 2: How do you appeal to your audience?

Revisit the above toddler food tray example. For a product like this, the beneficiary is actually the mother even though the baby is using the tangible item. You’ll notice marketing shifts like this based on who the consumer is, not who the recipient is. Toddler’s TV shows appeal to both mother and child because both audiences consume the content, while only the mother is the true consumer of the feeding tray. In these examples, the toddler receives the product but the branding is different based on the audience.

You have to learn what your audience wants and how to appeal to them? Who is your audience? How does your branding work to identify with their needs?

Question 3: Does your branding leave room for growth and development.

Let’s look at that example one last time. You start out manufacturing baby trays, but maybe one day you’ll want to expand to include more baby-related items to your product line…does your current branding allow for this?

Products are products, but brands are brands. A good branding concept leaves room for expansion. Coca Cola isn’t just Coke Zero — the former is the branding umbrella, while the second is a specific product that can be branded.

Thus, it’s important to give yourself a general concept that leaves room for growth. Think of it as planning for your business future.

This episode contains my quick 2 cent spill on “Working with Friends.” There’s no one size fits all approach. You have to figure out what works best for you!

Brand strategies don’t create themselves, even though you wish they would at times. For new entrepreneurs, coming up with a brand strategy isn’t exactly easy. It’s one thing to take an existing brand, pick it apart and explain why it works…but coming up with your own branding workup isn’t always so easy. It’s much easier to work backwards than it is to work forwards.

Many new entrepreneurs looking to create their first start up make the mistake of doing the opposite — finding an existing brand, deciphering their success and trying to use these components in their own branding. It’s always best to be original — but that’s just one key tip for creating the perfect branding plan. Here are a few more to consider before putting the finishing touches on your newest branding schematics.

Understand What Branding Is

This is a common mistake new entrepreneurs make with their first business. They often think of marketing and branding as being synonymous, but they really aren’t. Branding isn’t just logos and a business’ website or slogan. These are part of a brand, but the most important aspect of branding is something intangible. It’s the essence of a business and it isn’t something you can necessarily pin down as one particular item.

A Brand Conveys Purpose

Look back on how a brand is intangible. Marketing is much more concrete in how it’s presented; from graphics to blogging content, marketing is a pitch that you can sum up quite easily. Marketing should also directly state the point you’re trying to get across. Something like “Our business can guarantee you a five percent increase in follower traffic” is directly related to marketing.

Branding, however, conveys an intangible purpose. It’s more so a “bigger picture” type of deal as compared to marketing. A brand identity puts a business in a certain position, like being formal or casual, being trend focused or best-practice following. Some business’ have brands that are more philanthropic, while others are profit-based.

Branding is Emotional

When you read a book or watch a movie, what’s playing out on the big screen or within the pages affects your brain in some way. It’s not about a direct ideological correlation — reading Romeo and Juliet won’t lead you down a naive and romantically disastrous road — but it’s instead about making you feel something. Branding works in the same way.

Except branding is supposed to lead someone to act on certain emotions. It plans an idea in someone’s head in a way that doesn’t require reason or numbers. A good branding strategy injects a business with an emotional edge that plays to a consumer’s feelings. Branding should make people feel like they belong, like they matter and like they feel connected to a business.

When you consider the emotional aspect of branding, what purpose your branding truly has and understand what branding really is, you’re on your way to a truly killer branding strategy.

A wonderful talk with Meiyoko Taylor – an Internationally recognized author, speaker and personal development leader. In this episode, we discuss one of the most common factors that hold us back – FEAR!

Meiyoko works extensively with people from all across the world, showing them how to take control of their life, find their passion, and unlock the greatness that is within. With his new book, “Find Your Amazing- 5 Steps to Transforming your life”, Meiyoko continues helps people unlock their true potential and create their own version of success, firmly believing that “When your passion, purpose, and talents are in alignment something “amazing” has to happen”. Follow on Twitter @MeiyokoTaylor.

It’s a well known fact that cardio-centric exercises should be a part of every workout routine, but do we truly know why cardio is so good for us? There are some obvious standard lines of thought you likely go to, like “it can help me lose weight” or “it’ll help tone my body,” but cardio exercise is much more than a diet supplement. Cardio activities can help to lower stress, strengthen your heart and lungs, help promote better sleeping habits, relieve anxiety and depression symptoms and reduce the chances of heart disease and cancer.

What if that’s not what’s really holding you back from cardio, though? You know the benefits, but you just don’t have time for lots of running or going to the gym for fitness training. The good news is that cardio exercises are actually quite simple, which makes them easy to do every single day — whether you’ve got 15 minutes of time to spare or a full hour.

These four cardiovascular activities are easy to do, don’t require lots of equipment and don’t take up much time. Do as many or as few as you can and you’ll still be on the right track to heart health and a slimmer waist.


The best thing about aerobics is that as long as you aren’t incorrectly stimulating your muscles, there aren’t many rules. In general, aerobics is simply movement that gets your heart pumping continuously, and there are a variety of ways to make that happen. Something like dancing can be considered an aerobic exercise, or step aerobics if you want something more simple. The point is that 15 minutes of continuous movement that gets your pulse elevated can be considered a cardio workout.


Kickboxing is best done in a classroom environment, but the beauty of the Internet is that you can learn pretty much anything online. Find some credible workout videos on a fitness site or YouTube and get to practicing! Kickboxing is an excellent form of exercise that can tighten your core, build up your upper body strength and can be used as self-defense in sticky situations.

Jumping Rope

Remember that playground game you used to love as a little girl in school? There’s no age limit to jumping rope, especially considering how great it is for your health. Put on some music and get on a flat, outside surface. No need to get fancy and play Double Dutch — just have fun jumping for a few minutes at a time. You’ll be amazed by how invigorating it actually is!

High Knees

You can get all of the cardio benefits of running while you stay inside — and in the same place! High knees only require that you lift your legs up as high as they can go while jogging in place. This exercise helps with flexibility, heart stimulation and builds up your leg muscles. It can be exhausting, but the long term results are well worth it.

5 Must Read Books for the Busy Entrepreneur

by Keetria on March 8, 2017

Reading shouldn’t be something that you give up because you’re an entrepreneur on the go. Sometimes we get so busy that we leave behind hobbies that we feel take up too much time, like going to the movies or reading. You may not be able to squeeze in the romance or spy novels that you used to love, but if you don’t want to lose the spark of love for reading, consider opening the pages of these five books about useful and entrepreneurial topics.

“Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” – Timothy Ferriss

This book is a long read, but it’s well worth setting aside the time. If you want a crash course on how to be insanely productive, buy this book and read it cover to cover again and again. Strategist and podcaster Tim Ferriss shares the productivity secrets he’s learned during his time interviewing entrepreneurs, and this book contains more than 200 different interviewees from “The Tim Ferriss Show.” Ferriss ensures that all of the insider tips have been applied to his own life, and they’re certainly tried and true.

“Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble” – Dan Lyons

A delightfully entertaining read, Dan Lyons has written a book about moving from his job as a journalist to a position at software marketing startup — HubSpot. This hilarious and insightful look at entrepreneurship and the inner workings of a startup company can both bring a smile to your face and make you reconsider where your life is going.

“Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” – Adam Grant

Our world isn’t dictated by those who keep going down the same old roads over and over again. The roads less traveled are the ones that contain the most beauty, and this is true for entrepreneurs who come up with new ideas. Adam Grant takes readers on a trip through how modern leaders can break the mold and truly explore the world as an innovator and creative, not a follower who sticks to the safer methods.

“The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms”

Founder of MindValley, Vishen Lakhiani knows a lot about life and how the mind works. In his book, Lakhiani flips the script on everywhere we know in his world — life, love, work and more. The book explores how our thought processes are are driven by rules, generational thoughts and old concepts of what success really is. This book isn’t just about changing how you think about business, but also how you think about societal constructs in general.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” – Daniel Kahneman

This is an “oldie but goodie” volume that any and all entrepreneurs should have on their shelves. Daniel Kahneman’s award winning book explores the two systems that make our minds work — one is fast and emotional, the other is slower and more logical. As a psychologist, Kahneman explores how both of these mind center’s shape our everyday judgements and how they apply to our lives in a entrepreneurial context.