Survival of the Fittest

B.E. gives you the tools you need to help ensure the success of your venture

Johnson
What is a brand? According to Melissa D. Johnson, founder, president, and CEO of Velvet Suite Marketing Consulting Group L.L.C. (www.velvetsuitemarketing.com), a Cincinnati firm that assists clients in building brands, a brand has the courage to position its core value in an uncommon way that leaves an invaluable mark.

“Coca-Cola, the Rockefellers, IBM, and Magic Johnson are all product/services or people/brands that have made an imprint on society,” explains Johnson. “They have created longevity through job creation, community engagement, and generational wealth.”

Johnson believes that everything about you and your business speaks volumes about your brand. Here, she offers tips on developing and building a solid brand from her book, Brand ME! Make Your Mark: Turn Passion Into Profit (Ambassador Press).

1 Discover your value. Your business is an extension of your brand. Johnson recommends conducting a branding audit and exploring the attributes that you are consistently and constantly reinforcing across all touch points to your audience. Identify any room for improvement.

2 Know your audience. Business owners must have an intimate understanding of their audience. “Maintain ongoing communication with your audience,” says Johnson. This may include a two-way newsletter, which lets you maintain contact, give valuable information, and gain insight. “[All of this] will help you refine your approach and strategy.”

3 Focus your position. Johnson recommends you first identify the one thing that you want to be known for and then develop a compelling position statement that will allow you to reinforce it.

4 Pursue partnerships. “Creating powerful partnerships is a great way to elevate your business as well as expand your offering,” says Johnson. “Dedicate one day a week to developing and nurturing relationships.” Sort contacts into three areas: project sourcing, marketing and media, and strategic alliances.

5 Pass on the legacy. Johnson says that our ultimate goal is to leave a legacy with our distinct brand mark. Some key questions to ask: How do you want to be remembered? What are you doing now to protect your brand for the future?

GROWTH
Knowing is Growing
Five strategies to develop you and your business
By Erinn R. Johnson
“Let me tell you why people don’t reach their goals,” says Andrew Morrison, “They don’t reach their goals because they don’t believe that they’re going to reach their goals.”

As founder and president of the Small Business Camp (www.SmallBusinessCamp.com), a New York-based entrepreneurial training, coaching, and marketing services firm, Morrison helps entrepreneurs get themselves–and their businesses–in tip-top shape. Here, Morrison shares some of his tools of the trade courtesy of his audio CD, 27 Keys to Growing Any Business in 90 Days ($20).

1It’s all in t
he pitch. An elevator pitch is your commercial; it sells others on what you do. Quick, in 30 seconds: Who are you? What does your service, product, or business offer? The pitch includes: your name, the business’ name, the problem that your product or service solves, past clients, and how the listener(s) can be of a support to you.

2The proof is in the package. How the business is presented–from logo to Website to product presentation–matters. “Once

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