It was an idea worth dreaming. You believed in it enough to put your money and your energy behind it.\u00a0 You believed in the business, in the needs, in the demand and in the solution. You built an organization and a team around that belief. Now it\u2019s time to do a little more. 2 PROMISES #1: \u00a0Will you keep your word? In Make a Promise and Keep It, Diane Helbig says: \u201cA promise speaks to who we are in our core. A priority framed as a promise is elevated on our commitment spectrum\u2014we feel a stronger sense of obligation to keep it.\u201d Diane speaks about the promises that we make to ourselves and provides a few solutions to help us be accountable for what we say we will do with our lives and businesses.\u00a0 But I do wonder why we\u2019ll keep our promises to a boss for a paycheck but struggle to keep our promises to ourselves for a lifestyle change and the freedom that comes with it? And if promises are as powerful as Diane says, then it\u2019s time to make one about your marketing. #2: Will you spread the word? Your business will not market itself. It\u2019s your job, or the job of the team you've built, to tell your story in a way that attracts and retains customers; to identify the problem and the people, then provide the solution. Ivana Taylor, in 13 Marketing Activities You Can Do for Less Than $20 A Day, offers a simple marketing promise for you to keep. In fact, it\u2019s the first marketing action that every small business owner should take. Ivana says to \u201cdevelop your message and an offering.\u201d You need to \u201cresist the temptation to get out there and sell without having a clear marketing message and an offer.\u201d She explains that ignoring this step will make you \u201clook desperate, and people will run away from you instead of running toward you.\u201d Effective marketing can be a game-changing event for your business. But the promises you keep to yourself as well as the way you spread the word about your company are not the only things that impact your organization. 1 PRINCIPLE #1: How will you lead? Character is what you do when nobody else is looking. It\u2019s the decision to lead with integrity. The ability to make the tough choice. To market the truth instead of a lie, to be direct instead of hiding, to do what needs to be done because it\u2019s right--not because it\u2019s popular. And as John Mariotti points out in The Struggle of Doing the Right Thing, a leader must choose to handle business with a standard of integrity no matter what. It puts me in mind of the lessons we were supposed to learn in grade school--to be our own person, to operate above the influence of others, to go it alone. The truth is, if you can\u2019t do those things, you\u2019ll find yourself leading by consensus. But your business needs you to stand for something, to believe in something, and to offer a standard of integrity. How will you lead?