Recently, while being interviewed for an article by Hub Staff, the reporter’s questions gave me reason to pause.
His questions made me think about where I’ve struggled at times as well as how we’ve grown, and continued to evolve as a business.
I told the reporter that running a business is a lot like navigating a ship through uncertain waters. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing and the business model works like a charm. Other times, you need to anticipate the wave and tack in one direction or the other to avoid getting wiped out.
While I’ll be revealing more about this in the coming months, today I wanted to share some of the things which I believe have allowed our business to consistently grow and expand.
Here are (4) things you can do to increase your credibility and keep your business on course:
1) Define your values and be authentic. Often you are told to deliver what your customer wants. While this is true, it’s not just about attracting clients with bold promises. It’s about boldly proclaiming what you believe and attracting clients that line up with your authentic beliefs and values.
I take an analytics –first approach. Testing and analyzing the data of different product offerings, services, pricing, and so on is something which helps me to decrease the uncertainty about the direction of my business. I am passionate about and deeply committed to this approach. I also have a belief that my clients want to decrease their uncertainty too. After all, less uncertainty reduces stress and increases your chance of success. Right?
What are the values you feel passionate about and are deeply commited to?
2) Align your personality and brand personality. As a business owner, YOU are the face of your company. If you try to be something you’re not, people see through that, lessening your credibility. However, when you align with your personality, it strengthens your credibility.
PPC for Small Biz focuses on analytics. This approach not only lines up with my values and who I am, but it is something that oozes out of me. My clients are loyal because they can see we are deeply committed to this approach which saves them thousands of dollars by allowing them to test ideas, price, copy and other data for a small investment rather than spending tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) developing an idea or product that won’t sell.
Our approach which lines up with my personality gives us an advantage because clients can see it’s important to us that they have peace of mind and get a return on their investment (ROI.)
Is your personality and brand compatible?
3) Be consistent. When you are unwavering in your commitment and messages, it breeds credibility. Once you define your values and align them with your personality, your messaging needs to stay consistent. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you can’t expand your product or service offering. It’s just that your expansion should line up with your values and personality.
Personally this is something I question in my own business on a regular basis. For instance, the majority of our business over the years has been managing Google AdWords for small businesses. More recently we’ve started supporting large enterprise level clients too. At first I wondered if this expansion lined up with our messaging and brand. But here’s the thing. My real brand personality isn’t just about doing PPC for Small Businesses. It’s about taking an analytics-first approach. It’s about being personally committed to my customers to help them get the best results I can. And that doesn’t change no matter what size or type of company it is.
Are you being consistent in your messaging? Are you conveying the RIGHT message?
4) Make sure new products and services align with your personality. New York Senator Chuck Schumer said, “In today’s competitive economy, to stand still is to die.” Whether you agree with Schumer’s politics or not, this statement is true. I once read, people don’t ask, “What’s old?” they ask, “What’s new?” To keep people engaged and interested, you have to keep making new offers.
Product offering is another area I frequently question. What can I offer that is consistent with my brand personality? I’ve comfortably expanded into offering BingAds, Yahoo Gemini, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook because these easily relate to and align with my core offerings.
But I’m continually evaluating how we should proceed and what direction we should take with our product and service offerings. I’ve realized that I may have limited myself more than I need to because I wasn’t considering that my REAL personality is an analytics-first approach, not my original core offer which is PPC for small businesses.
Do your new product and service offerings line up with your brand personality? After examining your brand personality closer, could you offer something more than you are now?
Keeping a small business afloat –especially during difficult times isn’t always easy. However when you embrace your personality and values… convey consistent messaging and product offerings…and are authentic… you’ll find your credibility rises and attracts more and better customers. Which means it will be much easier to not only stay afloat, but stay on course to grow your business.
Take time to consider these questions. In thinking about your answers, you may just find you surprise yourself. Plus, making your business more closely align with your values and personality, you may find you enjoy your business more than you ever have before.
Here’s to your online success!