Too many businesses subconsciously become replicas of others as they feel they 'shouldn't' or 'couldn't' be the ones to shake things up. But, why not?
Quite often it's not those with the most skills, but those with the most fortitude and willingness to walk tall in their own shoes that succeed.
Sometimes this is easier said than done and, for some business owners, it can feel overwhelming doing a job AND putting themselves 'out there' in order to keep that bottom line healthy. It is also completely normal to occasionally let the impostor syndrome sink in and want to retreat to the safety of the corner desk. All of us feel that.
However, simply by choosing to become a business owner, these people have already proved they have guts, and all of us know that those with guts don't sit in the corner for very long.
If you're currently feeling that impostor syndrome is starting to settle in, or unsure how to pull your business into it's full light - here are five effective recommendations to help reignite your mojo and step into the arena.
- RECOGNISE THAT YOU KNOW YOUR SHIT AND THEN COMMUNICATE IT!
In life, people don't know what they don't know and that is why you are in business in your chosen industry because you do know what they don't. Share your knowledge frequently and you'll position yourself as an leader in your space.
I've been in the branding industry for 15+ years and often assume things I shouldn't, for example, that all of my clients understand what a Brand Style Guide is and why it's useful. A lot actually don't. Share this knowledge, communicate the why and the how. You'll position yourself as a leader, help a bunch of people, and have the knock on the effect of attracting people to your business.
2. ORGANISE AN EVENT
The investment in an event doesn't just cover the few hours where guests attend it. The invitation that goes directly into invitees mail boxes, the follow up conversations, the interactions during the event itself, and the 'talk' that continues post-event are all elements which add value to your business and its brand appeal.
Don't fall into the trap of believing you need a spectacular 'reason' to host an event - stay clear on your objective, ensure it's something that people will want to be at, and look for follow-up leverage opportunities.
Examples where an event could be a great opportunity to bring your business into the light -
- Launching a product
- Educating the public on something new in the industry
- A night in relation to a theme or special date relevant to your industry
- A thank you to your current clients (and potential new ones)
- Celebration of new premises, staff, anniversaries
An event is also an ideal opportunity to expand your network. When curating the invitee list take some time to think 'outside the box' as to who outside your normal circle might find this useful. I also recommend inviting partners; you are more likely to get RSVPs, you have expanded your network just by association, and you never know who might be in that room.
3. USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS AS A VEHICLE TO DISCUSS WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, THE INDUSTRY, AND CLIENT SUCCESS.
Don't get caught up in just posting what is on trend or constantly re-sharing other people's content. This will position your business as a copy cat not a thought leader. Most importantly stay in alignment with your authentic business brand. If you assist just one business with one of your posts, you've got a new advocate. Think about building for longevity, not just 'flash in the pan' success (unless, of course, that is your business model).
4. GET YOUR BRAND LOOK, VISUALS, AND MESSAGING SPOT ON.
Size might not matter to some but looks, like it or not, invariably (and initially) do. We live in a harsh world and until we get to know someone deeper, we are swayed by our first impressions. This is not just the physical appearance of the person, but how they present themselves, what they wear, how they talk, mannerisms they use. The summation of these influence our decision as to whether we will 'bother' taking it to the next step and learning more.
This is no different in business. You may know or think you are the best in the industry but if your outward appearance (your brand, website, socials, customer service) does not reflect this on the very first impression, you are making it harder for potential clients to want to get to know you better.
In addition, from a psychological perspective, think of how you feel when you make a real effort with your own appearance. It elevates your confidence which, in turn, impacts how you walk, talk and feel.
If you get your brand correct from the beginning, the more confident you will feel to attract the people you wish to work with and the more time you will be able to spend doing what you love the most.
5. CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES.
It's so easy to focus on the negative and all the things you didn't do, the jobs you didn't win, how COVID-19 or the government or that aggressive competitor impacted your business (we could go on and on) but I think we'd all agree this is pretty useless to your business.
At the beginning of my career I heard a single statement that has stayed with me always. I can't remember it as articulately as it was said but it went something like "it doesn't really matter how today, yesterday or the week went - as long as you kept planting the seeds".
An email reaching out to an old or potential new client is planting a seed. Doing a social media post is planting a seed. Going to a networking event is planting a seed. Having a coffee with a long lost colleague is planting a seed. Listening to a podcast or reading a blog to learn something new, is planting a seed. Switch your thinking and celebrate the small wins and it will keep you motivated and mentally strong.
The reality of business success is that often its a marathon, not a sprint. You have permission to occasionally retreat to the corner, but more often than not, keep planting the seeds and thinking forward to the big picture.
Most importantly, have the willingness to step into your own light.