10 Simple Keys to Building a 7-Figure Brand
24 Nov 2015
I want to preface this article by stating the following:
1. This article is not a shortcut to success; these are proven principles I used to build my first 7-figure company.
2. For any of this to work, you have to be willing to do the work.
3. Not every brand is meant to be a million-dollar brand. That’s okay–these principles apply to you too! And,
4. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. Going for a jog is simple. Being disciplined enough to do it every day…not so easy.
What I’m sharing with you are all lessons I learned from growing my first business–a multicultural marketing and design firm. In my tenth year of business, I finally hit that 7-figure mark that, according to Forbes, only 2% of women-owned businesses in the United States ever reach. But I took many steps to get there. In fact, when I first started my business, I began by taking on small contracts for designing logos, brochures, web sites, etc. Most projects were under $5,000. As years went by, I established a reputation for excellent work and great customer service. I learned so much about what it takes to build a 7-figure brand along the way. Here are the most important keys:
1. Get your mind right: Do the mental work to build your confidence so that you “act as if it’s impossible to fail.” Your mindset is the most important tool for success! I have my motivational YouTube playlists that I listen to during my work day and when I’m driving in my car. Because here’s the reality: Life will meet you at the level of your expectations. So expect to be successful.
2. Treat everyone you meet with respect and kindness. You never know when you will need them. The one principle I practice regularly is to be especially nice to administrative assistants, because most people aren’t. However, the reality is, they know all the comings and goings of just about everyone in whatever company you’re trying to land a contract with. They’re your best allies.
3. Network your behind off! Business development is the lifeblood to your business. As I was building my brand, I joined boards, volunteered in various organizations, and set a goal of four events per month to attend. It helped that I had a networking buddy to hold me accountable.
4. Be mindful of the company you keep. This includes clients, colleagues, and your connections–online and offline. In this hyper-connected age of the internet, those connections will help or hurt your brand. This is one reason why I don’t accept every LinkedIn or Facebook Friend request; I’m mindful of what my associations say about me. Birds of a feather…
5. Establish an excellent body of work and overdeliver. For people to want to work with you, they have to see that you can deliver the goods in a way that no one else can. When you do great work, it speaks for itself. You don’t even have to be there; however, you should be collecting client testimonials on a regular basis.
6. You have to look and act as if you’re already successful. Please, please no yahoo or hotmail addresses. Not if you’re trying to build a brand which people with money will take seriously. Invest in a professional website and marketing materials that represent your brand well. And just as importantly–dress the part. I love Barbara Corcoran’s story of how she landed major clients on a shoestring budget as she was building her real estate firm. She invested in one expensive jacket and wore it to all her important business meetings. She knew what we all need to understand: You can’t look like a “mom and pop” if you’re trying to play with the big dogs.
7. Be creative, consistent and stay visible: This is both online and offline. You have to continue marketing your brand and your business consistently. That old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” is truer now than ever with the myriad of choices people have to
8. Build a brilliant team and smart systems. If you want to build a successful brand, you have to plan for it and prepare a space for the blessing. This means that you should be working on building your team and establishing the right systems before you need them. Your team can include everything from other vendors, consultants, accounting, legal, administrative, etc. Take the time to interview, research and get the right people in your network before you actually have a project you need them to assist with. Then make sure you have the right infrastructure in place to manage your business.As the late Dr. Myles Munroe stated, “Preparation is the greatest act of faith.”
9. Have good mentors. Make sure you have one or several mentors along the way who can walk you through the process of building your business, and who can also help you avoid pitfalls.
10. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Be patient, but persistent. It’s important to stay top of mind with your clients and customers. As they say: “The fortune is in the follow up.”
Here’s in incredibly important BONUS KEY: All of these tips won’t matter if you don’t know and understand your target audience. Contrary to what you may want to believe, not everyone wants or needs what you have. Don’t waste your time and money marketing to the wrong audience. Get clear on your niche and then craft your message specifically to that audience.
Remember, it takes time to build a 7-figure brand. Stay focused, stay fearless, and stay on your mission. Someone out there needs your gift, your product, your service, to help them shine!
What are your thoughts on what it takes to build a successful brand?
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