One of the hardest questions for an entrepreneur is to answer ‘What makes me or my business unique?’. It is sitting down, doing some soul searching while you actually want to be busy with your product. The question is, as you will experience, essential for selling that product. But even more important, it is what keeps you going as an entrepreneur. Being real brings you the vision and passion that is needed for success.
“We spend the first 20 years putting parts of ourselves into this bag we carry on our backs and the rest of our lives trying to get those parts out.” Robert Bly
It works for companies defining their brand as much for people discovering their personal brand. It is not easy to have an honest look about what makes you who you are. As a business you can have a dark side to take into consideration. Your Kryptonite so to speak. The difference between an experienced entrepreneur and a first time startup is for me the knowledge that is taken into the process about what does not work. Let’s say: Time for a little honesty.
Nowadays it is almost mandatory to be ‘green’. So working on that is great, being aware and review your processes for eco-friendliness. Off course you support the environment! Then when it is time to define my brand values, I would have loved to put that alongside the other expressions I want to use to express the essence of what I deliver to clients. But I simply can’t.
How can I wear the mask of a eco-friendly when I love to fly by plane, eat more meat than needed and buy my coffee without a reusable cup? Yes, I recycle paper but I do not deliver that extra bit that is needed to grant myself the value of green. Being honest.
Choosing brand values is not about what I want to be as an entrepreneur. It is what I deliver.
What do you tell your clients about what you offer? As an entrepreneurs you want to sell, and it needs some experience, as I learned, to ask realistic amounts of money for what you deliver. So why pretend in your communication to be cheaper than you are? Same idea goes for time. You are wearing a mask that is quickly visible to clients. Taking it off, being proud of what you have to offer builds loyalty but also an even more valuable asset to your company: Your personal motivation as an entrepreneur.
More to read about Authenticity in this blog “It’s Not Easy Being Real” by Mike Martin.