Remarkable business calls for:
- creative ideas vs. mundane solutions,
- active involvement in developing your team vs. passive engagement, and
- uncommon focus on a vision that matters vs. scattered activity on minor issues.
Remarkable business makes no room for the lazy executive. When you evaluate yourself and your managers, where do you (they) fall? Are you willing to tell yourself the truth about your team? Are you willing to do anything about what you discover?
In “Is Being A Good Leader Good Enough?,” Yvonne DiVita provides a thought-provoking perspective that you may not agree with entirely, but that is sure to inspire you on some level. According to Yvonne, “You can’t be good or good enough or even great—you must be remarkable.” She says, “Remarkable leaders are focused on the unexpected. They anticipate the future, fully aware that past performance is no guarantee of future success.” I like this idea because it keeps us fully in the challenge of life and business, and that’s where the excitement and creativity is.
Some of us want to create things that never existed before or to solve what seems like an impossible problem. I call those problems opportunities. Some call them pains. Yvonne calls them challenges. She says, “Challenges come in the form of intrigue, mystery and hardship.” It’s so true. Opportunities cost. Hardships teach us something and mysteries reveal business-changing secrets. But only those who dig into them get the benefit. Yvonne says these types of moments “require fast thinking, a creative mindset and confidence.”
I want to know: Are you up to the challenge?
One of the largest areas of concern for small businesses is marketing. If we can’t get this right, then we can’t get the word out about our product. In “Why Influencers Matter to Small Business,” Ivana Taylor says, “We’ve been conditioned to think of celebrities as influencers because a single mention from them can set product sales soaring.” But with the Internet there are influencers—with loyal audiences—all around us. We just have to find them, and then build sincere and mutually beneficial relationships with them (Hint: give before you expect to get).
Ivana gives great advice on how to discover influencers, but what stands out to me is her take on how to become one. She says, “Actually becoming an influencer and being known for your expertise within a particular industry or subject area” is the key and “all it takes is persistence and strategy.” The first step to her strategy includes taking the time to “build your personal brand.”
Now, you may call the process of building your personal brand by another name, but the point is to distinguish yourself so that you are memorable for the right reasons. In “The Enduring Value of Brands,” John Mariotti says, “Brands are a shorthand name for a promise and a relationship.” And while he references large companies like McDonald’s and Google, there’s value for the small business owner. Your business stands for something, and if you are going to establish a memorable brand, then you will have to decide what that “something” is and promote it consistently.
John says to build brand value, you should “build a relationship, never break the promise of what a brand stands for, and that brand will last a long time.” As small business owners we can start with clear and specific baby steps:
- What is your name?
- Your tagline?
- Your logo?
- The problem that you consistently solve?
- And as John puts it, what is your “promise?”
Deciding on and establishing a brand takes effort, time and money, but with the Internet it’s not as expensive as it used to be. Knowing who you are and consistently promoting it in your online messages helps establish and move your brand forward. Ivana’s article, “Why Influencers Matter to Small Business,” has some links to help you address this.
Just remember: Creating a remarkable business takes remarkable effort in multiple areas, but why shouldn’t you and your company be up for the challenge?