This is Where Your Branding Begins

I’ve heard those words many times, usually right before someone says something I’m not going to appreciate, like: “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to pay in full before you can pick up your car.”

Of course, there are times when it really is ‘just business’.

For instance, when I require payment for a missed session that wasn’t canceled in advance, that probably feels personal – especially if there’s a strong reason the appointment was missed.

In fact, this is why so many heart-centered entrepreneurs, like counselors and massage therapists, have such trouble with that idea. (And we work on that a lot.)

But it isn’t personal at all. It’s a business model that honors my time and protects my income. And because those boundaries are clear, it’s rare that this happens at all.

And yet…

It is personal in a way – but not about my client.

It’s personal to me.

A policy like that says that my time is important – but it also says that my client’s time matters too. It means that I take our work together seriously, and I want them to do the same.

Eventually, that expectation becomes part of my brand, as one of my core beliefs.

When you show up and do the work, things get better. Period.  

So your brand begins with your beliefs. And because your business is a perfect reflection of you, it will be personal.

Are you clear about the brand of your business?

Start by answering these three questions.

1. Who are you?

What does your name mean in the world?

Last month, I was invited to join the Forbes Coaches Council. The name alone represents so many things. Credibility. Recognition among peers. Longevity. Business success.

But the power of the brand, of that name, has developed over decades as the company became known by what it represents.

Credibility. Recognition among peers. Longevity. Business success. :)

Your name, or the name of your business, is just as important. It’s like the handshake your business has with the world. It says something about who you are, and creates the foundation for your entire brand presence.

What do you want people to thinkfeel or believe when they hear your name, or the name of your business? Do a little journaling around that idea and see what comes up.

That is the beginning of everything.

2. What do you actually do (for your clients)?

What difference do you make for those you serve?

One of my clients, Dianna Glandon of Above the Rest Balloon and Event Designs, is a master at this. Throughout her website, her printed materials, and even her conversations with potential customers, she constantly communicates what she does for them.

She doesn’t say that she decorates with balloons or hangs pretty fabric, though she does.

She doesn’t say that she creates fancy shapes or customized designs, though she does that too.

She says that she brings the Wow! factor to their events, and that she creates smiles.

Because that’s what she really does.

What difference do you make in the life of your peeps?

That, too, is part of your brand.

3. What does your business stand for?

This takes the first two questions and builds from there.

This is what sets you apart from others, defining you among your competitors or others in your field.

For instance, there are a million business coaches out there, but I’m one of the few who addresses head on, the fears that every entrepreneur has to manage.

And I’m the only one I know who will tell you not how to create courage or find courage, but how to claim (and work with) the courage you already have.

Because that’s what I stand for – a powerful belief in you, and what you are capable of (whether you’re ready to believe it or not!)

I’ve been on a deep branding journey for the past year, thinking and exploring about how my business wants to show up in the world, and these three questions started it all.

If you’re not clear about your brand, answering these questions is a powerful first step.

Photo Credit: James  on Flickr


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