Protect the Brand. This is one of my business mottos. Recently, I heard Amy DuBois Barnett, Editor-in-Chief of Ebony Magazine and Steve Harvey say the same thing. I’ve gotten accustomed to many people not having any idea of what I was talking about when I say it, so it was truly refreshing to hear other people with the same perspective. So many people call themselves entrepreneurs, but they don’t understand branding and why it’s essential to do so in business. With the exception of myself, I don’t know anyone else doing exactly what I’m doing, the way I’m doing it. Some people are doing a few of the things I do, or do one or two things I do, but no one does everything I’m doing. Therefore, my competition is almost non-existent. However, that’s not the case with other business models. Particularly businesses that are considered traditional. Almost every business has a competitor and a lot of them have learned the same basic techniques for operating their businesses. Although everything you need to open, operate and expand a business isn’t in a book, a lot of the steps and instructions are. I’m sure that we can agree that anyone can follow steps and instructions written in a book. But if that’s all that was required, a lot more people would be successful at it. Statistically businesses still fail in the first five years.
As a result of the availability of basic business operation techniques and information, many people can start a business. Because all the books reiterate and all business students are taught that the most important thing in business is to make money, this further establishes an atmosphere of competition. Everyone wants to make money. Not everyone wants to make a difference. Not everyone wants to become a brand. But I’ve learned that doing the latter will help improve your chances of the former. If you own a restaurant, your competition could set up shop across the street from you. If you’re a caterer, your competition can be a larger restaurant that decides to expand its business and begin offering catering to its existing customers. And let’s just say for argument’s sake, that their food isn’t even as delicious as yours and their prices are higher. In spite of that, next thing you know, your profits are dwindling. The next thing that comes to your mind is “What are they doing, that I’m not?” Well, if that competing restaurant is Red Lobster and you own a Shrimp Shack, what do you think it is?
It’s the branding.
When you operate a business that is traditional you have to establish yourself as a brand, not just a business, in order to set yourself above others. Businesses eventually go out of business; brands become icons. Becoming a brand takes time and is often more work than just starting a business. For me starting my business was a sign from God, combined with talents I possess and knowledge of how to complete the appropriate paperwork from previous experiences I had in business. It has taken me four years to get where I am so far with The Super Woman Brand. I expect it to take me another four years to get where I want to go, although I’m told that I won’t need that much time, because with every decision I make, I’m branding myself and my business. If something doesn’t enhance what I want to do now or what I want to do in the near future, it can’t be included in The Super Woman Brand. If an idea or business relationship doesn’t allow me to establish myself or further myself in an area that I want to operate in, it can’t be included in The Super Woman Brand. When you brand yourself, you’re developing business practices and standards, not just appealing to what everyone else wants you to do. It’s requires that you are bold.
Set yourself apart with your brand
I must be doing a pretty good job at branding because there are other people attempting to use The Super Woman Brand by calling themselves Super Woman or Superwoman Productions. I don’t consider them competition, because I’ve already had a head start in developing The Super Woman Brand and they don’t do the same things that I do. I’ve accomplished a few things and they are all positive. I’ve been in a national publication, I’ve been interviewed several times locally on radio and in print, I have credits to my name and a good reputation. So, whether they are a stripper or claim to be a playwright, they aren’t hindering The Super Woman Brand. In fact, if someone attempts to find them, they find ME instead because I am EVERYWHERE on the internet and that is expanding into other areas of media, including television and movies. Google me and see firsthand what I mean. Someone told me these other women are only attempting to use The Super Woman Brand because they want to be ME. Imitation is the best form of flattery. I must be doing something right.
Discover and establish your brand
What do you do that sets you apart from your competition? Find that element and brand it. Use it to market yourself, your business, and catapult your dream. Don’t strive to just become a business person and make money. That’s mediocre. Mediocre doesn’t grow. Strive to become an icon. Strive for growth in your industry and not just for the money. The flower doesn’t dream of the bee; the flower blooms and the bee comes. It’s more rewarding longterm. It becomes your legacy. It leaves something for others to aspire to. It’s a blueprint for others to follow. It’s part of that dash between the day you were born and the day you die. Just keep in mind that becoming a brand is a lot more than filling out the appropriate paperwork and putting up a website. It takes time, effort, resilience and creativity. One day other people will want to be YOU and do what you do also.
Become a motivating factor to those who come after you.
PROTECT THE BRAND