How Leaders Can Find Work-Life Balance with a Powerful Brand

It’s an all-too-common problem for many solo entrepreneurs, business owners, and bootstrapped startups. It’s harming families and tearing apart marriages. It’s the cause of many sleepless nights and restless thoughts. People write books to help solve this problem and stores can’t keep them on the shelves. This problem isn’t age-specific, gender-specific, or restricted to a certain location or industry.

The problem? Work–life balance.

Finding a balance between your work and your life seems like chasing a carrot on a stick. It feels like an impossible goal, one that will never be reached. We live in a world where the first thing people ask when they meet is, “what do you do?” Our society has put so much emphasis on how “successful” you are or what your job title is. So, it’s no surprise that entrepreneurs are focusing more and more time on their business and less time being with their loved ones or enjoying other activities.

Sadly, a majority of the American workforce are dissatisfied with their work due to a lack of work-life balance.

What exactly is a Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance is a concept related to how you allocate your time, energy, and mental focus into various parts of your life: work, family, health, personal growth, friendships, etc. Finding a healthy “balance” of all of these aspects to your life is thought to lead to a wholeness of life – meaning you have a better sense of belonging, purpose, and happiness.

For business owners specifically, this balance is extremely hard to find.

You likely wear many hats. As a business owner, you’re not only working one job, but you’re probably working the equivalent of two, three, or even more jobs. So finding this balance can seem nearly impossible.

Are you out of balance?

As business owners, how many times do we catch ourselves sitting at the dinner table with our family thinking of client deadlines, upcoming bills, troubles with employees, or where your next lead will come from?

If you can’t allow yourself to be present with your family or friends, you’re probably out of balance. If you feel too tired or mentally taxed to read a book simply for your enjoyment, you’re probably out of balance. If you’re constantly checking your email because you’re worried that you may have missed something or that an emergency may have occurred while you were away, you’re probably out of balance.

How Can I Find Balance?

There are some ways that we can make the work-life balance feel more manageable. However, don’t expect to be perfect in your efforts. Here are some ideas you can start trying:

  1. Prioritize Social Time with No Agenda. Spend time with your family and friends for no reason other than just enjoying time with them. Do your best not to talk about your business. Talk about life, hobbies, dreams, interests, sports, politics – anything but your work.
  2. Be Flexible with Your Schedule. Create your own definition of balance. Maybe balance for you is enjoying time in the morning alone while you read a book. Maybe it’s leaving your office early every Thursday afternoon to spend time with your kids. You own your business, you make the rules. Create your own schedule.
  3. Unplug and Relax. Be present with yourself and others. Turn off your phone. Leave your laptop at work. When you’re with others, or alone with yourself – be present. There’s a never-ending stream of emails, calendar invites, meetings, missed calls. Don’t worry, they’ll be waiting for you and you’ll have time to take care of everything later. As much as possible, keep those moments away from your business sacred.
  4. Work smart. In this day in age, there’s a buzzword floating around the world of business and entrepreneurship – hustle. Typically this word means to work hard all hours of the day and night with a relentless and never-ceasing drive to grind away in an effort to grow your business. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time for “hustle.” However, what’s better than working hard and working a lot? Working smart and being extremely effective.

This idea of working smart vs. working hard isn’t a new one and is extremely important as you are seeking a work-life balance that is sustainable. However, most business owners don’t feel like they have the tools or know-how to work smart. This is why a strategic foundation for your business is so important. A brand strategy will bring alignment throughout your business, and allow you to run your business in a smarter way.

5 Ways That a Brand Strategy Leads to Balance

1. Clearer Focus Will Require Less Mental Energy

A strategic foundation will narrow your focus so that you aren’t wasting time on things that don’t matter. You’ll have a better idea of why you do what you do, how you will accomplish it, and where you should be spending your time and energy. By doing this, you’ll free up your thoughts allowing you to be more present with your family and friends outside of your workplace. You’ll be more deliberate in your efforts, and begin to see how you can spend your time more wisely on a daily basis.

2. Spend Less Time & Energy Worrying About Decisions

When you have a clearly defined vision and values for your business, decision-making is simplified. Many decisions, big and small, become easier because you have defined guidelines in place. These guard-rails provided by a brand strategy will continually bring you back to your roots and ensure that you’re always aligned with your core values and always consistent. When decisions are easier, you aren’t as drained with the day-to-day of your business – giving you more mental energy to spend on things you enjoy outside of work.

When decisions are easier, you aren’t as drained with the day-to-day of your business

3. Empowered and Engaged Team

One of the best ways that a brand strategy will help you find a work-life balance is how it can help empower and engage your employees. Studies show that employees who are more engaged perform better, are more committed, and more loyal.

Although your brand is at the forefront of all your marketing efforts, it is also displayed throughout your team – from the receptionist answering phones to the service technician out in the field. Smart branding means that your team members will have a complete understanding and ability to confidently deliver on your brand promise. When your team members are engaged and empowered, this means they will often take on more responsibilities and be brand ambassadors for you.

This allows you to delegate with more confidence, freeing up more of your time to do other things you love.

4. Better Results from Marketing Agencies You Hire

The beauty of a properly built brand strategy is that it enhances everything that you’re currently doing. It’s likely that you’re doing some marketing; whether you’re doing it on your own or you’ve hired a marketing agency to do it for you. For most business owners, the reality is that they feel like their marketing efforts aren’t as effective as they could be. In fact, we recently did a survey and found that 100% of business owners feel that their marketing efforts aren’t effective.

A brand strategy will give you the confidence to know that you’re sending the right message, with the right look, and talking to the right people. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression. When your marketing efforts are performing well and you’re seeing great results – it puts less stress on you outside of your work.

5. Customers Working for You, Brand Evangelists

What’s better than getting a new customer? Getting a new customer from a past customer referral.

When you are doing great work and have a great brand, people take notice. When you are relating to people on a human level, people will listen. Knowing your customers intimately is a vital step in the brand strategy process. When you truly know your customers, their desires, their fears, and their goals – then you’ll be better equipped to turn them into brand evangelists.

When you are relating to people on a human level, people will listen

Having a free workforce of past customers who gladly refer their friends, family, and colleagues to is a great feeling. This is one other way to make your business run stress-free and create a brand that you’re proud of.

It may seem impossible to find a work-life balance, but it’s worth the effort. However, I can assure you that not having a strategic brand will greatly hinder your efforts and set you back tremendously.

The only thing stopping you from building a more strategic brand is you. At Longitude°, we have developed a streamlined process that will help accelerate your growth and help you reach your vision for your business. Smart business leaders everywhere are loving BrandGPS, and you will too. Want to talk with a Brand Guide? Request a meeting today.

Here’s Why You’re Getting Beat by the Competition

The most profitable companies in the world make huge investments toward improving their brand and reputation; often spending millions to get it just right. Yet for many small businesses owners, branding is an afterthought. Why is this?

In this article, I’ll dispel some common misconceptions you may have about branding that could be harming your business. You’ll also learn about how a brand strategy (like the ones we develop through our BrandGPS™ process) could be one of the best investments you could make for your business.

Your Competition Is Winning, Here’s Why…

There’s a disease of misinformation spreading throughout the world of business. It’s plaguing small businesses and startups from every industry. If not caught early, then it could do great harm to your business.

Your competition thrives on your ignorance and they want you to stay misinformed.

Your competitors would prefer that you continue doing business as usual – fighting the uphill battle and constantly spinning your wheels. They don’t want you to be privy to certain best business practices, tricks of the trade, innovative ideas, or powerful marketing tactics. As brand guides, we see the results of this common complacency on a daily basis. Yet, more often than not, this disease can be cured through some education and awareness. With knowledge comes power.

Could You Be Misinformed?

The following statements shine a light on the fact that many people have a flawed understanding of what a brand is and how a brand strategy can benefit virtually every business. If you’ve found yourself saying any of the following statements, there’s a very high chance that you could be misinformed – and quite possibly doing great harm to your business without knowing.

MYTH #1: “There’s no clear ROI to branding.”

TRUTH: The fact is, there is plenty of examples of how proper branding, guided by a professional branding agency, can have a great return on investment. We’ll mention a few below.

MYTH #2: “It’s a nice-to-have, but not that important.”

TRUTH: There’s ample evidence to show that a brand strategy is not just a “nice-to-have” for your business, but a necessary step. If you view branding as just a decoration, or an “optional add-on” it’s time to step into the 21st century and stop running your business like you live in the 1950s.

The climate of the marketplace has changed, and consumers have changed with it. It’s not enough anymore to just say that you have the best prices or best quality stuff. Consumers are smarter and more engaged than ever. They will judge you based on how you look, what you say, and what you do. If any of those three pieces aren’t aligned, then you’ll be ignored.

You need to connect with consumers, not just talk about how awesome you are. They need to know who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and believe it. Developing a strategic brand should be one of the first steps in almost every business.

MYTH #3: “We just can’t afford it.”

TRUTH: In reality, you can’t afford to not have a brand strategy. But if you are an existing business, and truly don’t have any funds to invest in growing your business – then that could be a huge indicator that you need a brand strategy. A brand strategy can be one of the most important investments you make into your business. Implementing these principles, standards, and guidelines for your business can make you more profitable; making the initial investment of hiring a professional brand agency seem small.

MYTH #4: “We can hire ACME Agency to design a logo for half the price.”

TRUTH: This could be one of the most common, and most troubling misconceptions that surround branding. This antiquated idea is plaguing the world of startups and small businesses. Many people believe that spending a few hundred dollars to hire a logo designer will provide the same benefits as a going through an in-depth, comprehensive brand strategy process like BrandGPS™ – This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Investing in a brand strategy and professional brand identity is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Benefits of Branding

Your brand is the public’s response to how you look, what you say, and what you do. Without a brand strategy and professional brand identity, you’re probably missing 2 out of 3 vital pieces that make for a great brand. Implementing a brand strategy and brand identity (like the ones we provide with BrandGPS™) provides a ton of incredible benefits, uses, and tools to help your business grow – like crazy. The list below is not complete by any means, but will give you just a taste of some of the benefits you can expect after improving your approach to branding.

1. A Customer Magnet

People really want an easy connection to the brands they love. A great brand is a great reputation. It lets someone know they can trust your business to deliver the best services or products, all the time. You brand bridges the gap between your business and your customers; strengthening their resolve to do business with you. Often times this can increase metrics for your business such as conversion rates, or average order value.

2. Customer Loyalty Sky-rockets

Great and intentional branding is one of the most effective ways to increase customer loyalty. When people have a memorable experience with your brand, they will remember your brand, not only your product or service. People put their trust in brands, not products. So if your brand can connect with your customers emotionally, and build trust, chances are you’ll have a customer for life.

3. Your Message Connects

If created well, a brand strategy and identity can provide an incredible channel of communication with your audience. Your brand can inform people about your company’s value, your defining message, and unique characteristics. Things like these will help consumers connect to your business, and easily be able to identify your products vs. your competition’s. It’s important to know your customer intimately. What drives them? What motivates them? Once you find this out, design your brand strategy and identity accordingly – and growing your business is almost inevitable.

4. You Look Like a Better Choice

Do consumers know what sets you apart from your competition? Believe it or not, most people won’t just pay you money because you say that you do the best work, you provide the best quality, you’re the most affordable, and you’re just plain awesome. A real brand strategy will give you the right messaging to clearly communicate the value of your offering. Without this positioning statement, your business will just fall into the sea of a thousand competitors. A well-thought-out brand strategy will set your brand apart from the crowd, and even if the competition tries to copy you – it will just further establish and solidify your value in the consumer’s mind.

5. Who Doesn’t Like More Money?

If I offered to give you an additional 23% revenue this year but asked you to give me a small fraction of that amount in return, what would you say? You’d say yes; it’d be a no-brainer. It’d be absurd to say no.

Yet this is exactly what many businesses are doing every single year by not investing in a brand strategy, and getting consistent with their approach. Brand consistency is extremely important, and a pillar of any solid brand strategy.

There have been studies that show brands who are consistent can experience a 23% increase in their revenue, on average. That’s a pretty crazy stat, isn’t it? How would it make you feel to see your revenue increased by 23%? It’d probably feel pretty good, right?

Think about this for your own business. Ask yourself the following:

  1. What do I estimate my revenue to be over the next 12 months?
  2. Multiply that number by 0.23.
  3. That’s how much money you’re throwing away each year by not implementing a brand strategy and maintaining a consistent brand.

So for example, a business making $100,000 annually will lose $23,000 per year by not having an effective and consistent brand strategy in place.

There’s a Better Option

The news is in. You need a brand strategy for your business. If your business doesn’t have one or the one you have is ineffective, get in touch with us.

We’ve worked with many very sharp, forward-thinking owners and entrepreneurs from a variety of industries; guiding them through our 4-step brand development process called, BrandGPS™.

Over the course of 4-6 weeks, we help you establish a solid brand strategy for your business; helping bring alignment to your business goals and marketing efforts. It gives you the right look to attract more ideal customers and ensures that your brand is sending the right message.

What this provides for a company like yours is a clear and consistent connection with people, and quite frankly this often means an increase in your profits. It comes as no surprise to us that many of the business owners we’ve partnered with have expressed that BrandGPS™ is the best investment they’ve made for their business.

Communication Without Connection

Great communication should create a connection, not just relay information.

con·nec·tion – a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

com·mu·ni·ca·tion – the imparting or exchanging of information or news.

People don’t communicate through words alone, but primarily by emotional exchanges.  This is why branding matters and is so important to businesses.

Studies show that our brain makes judgments about what someone is saying based on their “emotional tone” or rather: body language, eye contact, facial expressions, how distracted they are, and the tone of their voice. We make these judgments before our brain even begins to interpret the meaning of the words we’re hearing or seeing.

1. Connection Makes for Better Communication

As a business owner, you need people to hire you, buy your product, or service; but if you’re only focused on convincing people to buy your stuff,  you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Great businesses focus on truly understanding their customer’s perspective, needs, and desires – doing their best to build a connection with them. If you only focus on your communication technique or savvy marketing campaigns, you can certainly fail to connect with people. Even worse, you could even communicate that you are disingenuous; causing even more harm to your reputation.

Too many businesses start trying to communicate before they ever try to connect. Here are just a few downsides of communication absent of connection:

  • People are turned off by you before they ever give you a chance.
  • Your logo or brand identity conveys a different message than you want. People view you as 2nd-class, the cheapest option, a low-quality business, or just don’t understand your business at all.
  • You invest a ton of money in a marketing agency, or on an ad campaign and don’t see any ROI.

Improve your emotional awareness towards your customer and the right words will follow, but it won’t work the other way around.

When you genuinely care about your audience, you will feel more connected to them. And when there is a good connection, good communication comes naturally. Being disconnected makes for poor communication – and no tricky marketing techniques or big budget ad campaign will change that.

2. Connection Fosters Trust

When a customer doesn’t feel connected to your business, the use of communication tricks and techniques makes them feel manipulated. The more you try to over-communicate, it will make it worse. A person will likely feel that there is a hidden agenda; they’ll believe that your goal is not in their best interest, but rather you’re attempting to get them to do what you want.

This is not a good place to be at as a business owner. But all too many business owners find themselves in this position. Your best chance at building healthy relationships with your audience is to do everything you can to connect with them in ways that don’t seem forced. Subtle ways.

Are you building a connection with your audience? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the first impression they have of your business?
  • How does your logo make them feel, or what does it tell them about your business?
  • Do they believe that you truly understand their needs and desires?
  • Are you engaging in a way that’s familiar and comfortable to them, or does it feel forced?

 

A great brand strategy will create a connection.

 

3. Refocusing Your Business

To begin making a better connection to people start by refocusing. Don’t focus on how to get someone to do what you want.

Rather focus on…

  • Listening to people, not just talking about how great your business is
  • Being genuinely curious to learn about people, their perspective, their troubles, their desires
  • Ensuring that you understand their motivations
  • Improving your product or service to provide people the most value and features that they really want

Remember, you must convey that you care about people and that you truly care about providing them an immense value. If you fall short of this, your connection to them will be lost – what you say to them won’t matter, they won’t care about how awesome you say your product or service is, and your message will fall on deaf ears.

Great communication should create a connection, not just relay information.

In Conclusion

Forget about convincing customers through tricky communication methods. Get connected with your audience right now. It starts with truly caring about people, and beginning to see that your brand is not just a logo or a catchy tagline – It’s your reputation. It’s how you make people feel.

Connecting with your audience will help you to communicate better. More importantly, you will show people you care – which will increase loyalty to your brand.

You will actually experience what it means to have a great product or service that helps people, rather than just talking about it.

 


Want to Make a Stronger Connection?

Find out how BrandGPS by Longitude° can help your business grow. Learn More

 

 

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