Congratulations! You have successfully launched your business. You have likely experienced some highs and lows already, but you’ve made it this far. It’s a new year and the perfect time to evaluate where you are in your business and set your strategy for 2021.
Now that you have employees, you have processes and procedures and you are starting to be able to pull from your leadership skills. As the leader of your organization, your brand begins with you. You have the challenge of articulating your vision into a strategy that your employees or vendors will understand and your customers will feel. But how do you do this? Here are 4 things you can do today to begin creating the culture and the brand that you envision.
1. Know Yourself. Have you done a SWOT lately? Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is key for not only your business but you as a leader. Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks, offers excellent advice about the benefits of "curiosity to see around the corner and courage of conviction to execute your strategy."
2. Know your Why. As a leader, you want to inspire action. In 18 minutes, Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, will take you through the science behind decision making and the power of knowing you're why. Back to Howard Shultz, think like a marketer as a leader. Blend yourself and your why and you can build your brand.
3. Know Your Target Audience Isn’t Just Your Customer. The CEO of Starbucks discusses his vision and how he spends time educating his staff and his customers about the value of his product and the meaning of the brand, which is community.
4. Know Your Actions Are Louder Than Your Words. Now that you’ve been inspired by Simon Sinek and Howard Schultz. Get down in the dirt. Spend time with your staff and listen to them. Manage by walking around. Visit your business as a customer. As John C. Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
The new year offers a great time for self-reflection and strategic thinking so ask yourself a few of these questions each day. If I met myself, would I be the person I think I am? Why am I doing this? What value am I bringing to others – my employees, my family, the greater community? Do my employees smile when I’m not looking? What does the office look like when people walk in? Am I present when others are speaking with me? Do I listen fully until they are finished speaking and pause before answering? The answers to each of these questions influence your brand and your authenticity. “Authentic brands don't emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything the company does” ~ Howard Schultz. So, grab your cup of Starbuck’s and next week we’ll expand on brand.