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7 business tips no brand should overlook

No matter what industry you are in or who you serve, these seven tips will help you to improve your business and get ahead of your competitors.

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Getting down to business

No matter what stage a business is in, there is always room for improvement, hence your reading a business news site at this very moment. You’re looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage and earn fiercely loyal customers that will last a lifetime and spread your brand message.

Below, Libby Gill offers seven business tips based on her experience as the former head of communications and public relations for Sony, Universal, and Turner Broadcasting and her current role as CEO of Libby Gill & Company, an executive coaching and consulting firm.

The era of shameless hype

TIP #1 It’s not hype: every business – and business owner – needs a clearly defined brand.

Even in this era of shameless hype, some business owners still debate whether it’s worth spending the time to craft a well-defined brand. Why, they wonder, if they consistently offer great value to their customers and clients, do they need to go to all that trouble and expense? If they do a good job, won’t people find them?

As much as we’d like to think our prospects will simply discover our products and services, they truth is they have lots of options – and most of them are just one click away. It’s essential that you build a brand that artfully articulates your value across multiple platforms, like your website and marketing materials. If you don’t strategically create the brand you want your customers to remember, you run the risk that the world will simply assign a brand to you. Your brand is your destiny and if you fail to define, refine and manage it, you do so at your peril.

Make it sticky

TIP #2 Names are important, choose carefully.

Even if your business already has a name, you may need to name a project, workshop, team, blog, book, or just about anything else. Some things to keep in mind when attempting to choose a name that will stand the test of time include the following. Clearly sum up the value proposition of your business in your name, like Freelancers Insurance Company. Make your name “sticky,” that is catchy and memorable like Virgin Airlines or Zappos.com (a play on the Spanish word for shoes, zapatos). Keep your name as short and concise as possible, and make sure that it works in print on your website or letterhead as well as it does when spoken.

Crafting your brand’s promise

TIP #3 Take the time to hone your brand promise.

Learning to appropriately – and gracefully – articulate the value you offer clients and customers is nothing short of an art form. But if they don’t recognize what you bring to the table, you put your business at risk. It’s worth taking the time to craft a brand promise (also called an elevator pitch or value proposition) that explains what you do, how you do it, and for whom you do what you do. Here’s an example of what I mean, followed by a simple formula you can use to hone your brand promise:

Libby Gill helps organizations like ABC-Disney, eBay, and Wells Fargo,
create cultures of bold leadership that consistently deliver on their brand promise.
(Your name) helps (your core customer) learn / create / build (outcome).

Throw in a little bit of science

TIP #4 Engage your customers in a multi-sensory brand experience.

Scientific research shows that brands that engage multiple senses create a richer customer experience than those that don’t. There’s a reason that Starbucks – with its familiar green logo, smells, tastes, and even sounds – makes an emotional connection with its customers the minute they walk in the door. While not every business can take advantage of all the senses, consider the look, feel, sound, sights and smells of your brand rather than just picking a color and calling it a day.

Encourage collaboration and creativity

TIP #5 Maximize your physical space for greater effectiveness and engagement.

Whether your business functions with cubicles or corner offices, it’s important to consider how the environment you create affects both customers and employees. Studies show that most workers are involved in “head down” endeavors for approximately half the workday, so be sure to provide plenty of task light, privacy, and white noise. Alternatively, you should provide shared spaces that allow for different uses including large group meetings, project or team tasks, and small conferences. Casual spaces such as cafes, lounges, and even game rooms – far from being a luxury – can foster camaraderie in a relaxed setting that encourages collaboration and creativity.

Beware of invisible competitors

TIP #6 Competition comes in a variety of forms.

While most business owners recognize direct competition – that is, those companies offering products and services that feel a similar need as theirs – they frequently underestimate the indirect competition and completely overlook the invisible competition. While direct competition to McDonald’s would include Burger King or Arby’s, indirect competitors could include everything from cooking at home to going on a fast food-free diet. Invisible competitors are, by their very nature, the most difficult ones to spot.

These are the competitors that don’t look or feel like competition, and may not be obvious at first glance, but still interfere with the prospect wanting to buy from you. They can include: customer fear where a prospect gets cold feet or is continually distracted; new challengers who pop up ready to poach your customers; and, worst of all, fading customer relevance. The best way to combat the competition is to stay customer-focused, service-driven, and improvement-oriented. In other words, never rest on your laurels.

Know who controls the purse strings

TIP #7 Don’t underestimate the power of the mom consumers and Millennials.

Moms make or influence more than 80% of buying decisions. And college-aged Millennials, despite their youth, currently have a combined $40 million in discretionary income up for grabs. Significantly, Moms and Millennials are most loyal to companies that support one cause for the long term. They want to see the impact – right down to the specific actions – an organization has made to help solve a social or environmental problem. If you are ignoring the power of these technologically savvy and uber-connected groups, you’re missing the two biggest segments of decision-makers and influencers out there.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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Business Articles

25 quotes on renewal for the New Year

New Year, new you (or so they say). If 2017 has you feeling tired and not like yourself, these 25 quotes on renewal will light a fire under you. #Inspiration

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It’s that time of year

With each New Year comes a new sense of renewal. Renewal of hope, renewal of goals, and renewal of inspiration.

It can be difficult to keep in the mindset of actively pursuing hope, goals, and inspiration. But, to keep in said mindset, we often look to successful people who have blazed the trail before us for advice.

25 quotes on renewal

1. “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

2. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

3. “Find something you’re passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child

4. “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

5. “You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” – Marianne Williamson

6. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

7. “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

8. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

9. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

10. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

11. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

12. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

13. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

14. “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn

15. “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
16. “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci

17. “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

18. “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy

19. “Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams

20. “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking

21. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

22. “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

23. “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

24. “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” – Bradley Whitford

25. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

So, as 2021 looms closer and closer, remember to keep the aspect of renewal in mind. We all, theoretically, are receiving a clean slate and should not take that for granted.

#NewYearRenewal

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Business Articles

117 inspirational quotes for a prosperous new year

(BUSINESS) Ring in the new year with these 117 inspirational quotes to get you motivated to take next year by the horns.

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Inspirational quotes for your new year

Whether looking for motivation in your personal or professional life, one can find inspiration in the volumes of words spoken and written by those that have come before us, no matter your goals for the coming year. As we wrap up this year and anticipate success and prosperity in the next, and we set our goals for the coming year, may we all commit to turning the corner, not only economically, but through our attitudes.

To see inspirational quotes by subject, click any of the links below, or continue to scroll to view the entire collection:

  1. 12 quotes to inspire success in your business
  2. 21 quotes to inspire achievement of your goals
  3. 10 inspirational quotes for leaders of any industry
  4. 9 inspirational quotes depicted typographically
  5. Succeed by following your passion: 10 inspirational quotes
  6. 19 inspirational quotes on the art of negotiation
  7. 11 inspirational quotes: getting past professional adversity
  8. 25 motivational quotes to kick off another year

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” – Zig Ziglar

“All lasting business is built on friendship.” – Alfred A. Montapert

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” – Henry Ford

“A project is complete when it starts working for you, rather than you working for it.” – Scott Allen

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” – Peter F. Drucker

“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.” – Lee Iacocca

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael Leboeuf

“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You’ll be an old man before you know it.” – Al Lopez

“It is difficult, but not impossible, to conduct strictly honest business.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch

“I do not believe a man can ever leave his business. He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night.” – Henry Ford

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein

“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Difficulties increase the nearer we approach the goal.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reach, don’t adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.” – Earl Nightingale

“Not every end is the goal. The end of a melody is not its goal, and yet if the melody has not reached its end, it has not reached its goal.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.” – Zig Ziglar

“You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.” – Mark Victor Hansen

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Anthony Robbins

“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.” – Walt Disney

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Stephen A. Brennan

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” – Earl Nightingale

“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” – Orison Swett Marden

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Larry Elder

“A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee

“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.” – Denis Waitley

“You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

“Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers, or your clients and customers.” – Les Brown

“We are built to conquer environment, solve problems, achieve goals, and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve.” – Maxwell Maltz

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.” – George Orwell

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.” – Lao Tzu

“No man can stand on top because he is put there.” – H. H. Vreeland

“Leaders who win the respect of others are the ones who deliver more than they promise, not the ones who promise more than they can deliver.”- Mark A. Clement

“What chance gathers, she easily scatters. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“One of the things that may get in the way of people … is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it.” – Jack Canfield

“If you want to be successful in a particular field or endeavor, I think perseverance is one of the key qualities. It’s very important that you find something that you care about, that you have a deep passion for, because you’re going to have to devote a lot of your life to it.” – George Lucas

“Chase your passion, not your pension.” – Denis Waitley

“Never follow your dreams. Follow your effort. It’s not about what you can dream of. That’s easy. It’s about whether or not it’s important enough to you to do the work to be ready to be successful in that business.” – Mark Cuban

“There is no greatness without passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.” – Anthony Robbins

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Follow your passions, believe in karma, and you won’t have to chase your dreams, they will come to you.” – Randy Pausch

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.” – Mark Victor

“A strong passion for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means.” – William Hazlitt

“During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.” – Brian Koslow

“Negotiation in the classic diplomatic sense assumes parties more anxious to agree than to disagree.” – Dean Acheson

“The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.” – Howard Baker

“This is a classic negotiation technique. It’s a gentle, soft indication of your disapproval and a great way to keep negotiating. Count to 10. By then, the other person usually will start talking and may very well make a higher offer.” – Bill Coleman

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy

“Don’t bargain yourself down before you get to the table.” – Carol Frohlinger

“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of a diplomat.” – Robert Estabrook

“You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.” – J. Paul Getty

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people half way.” – Henry Boyle

“The worst thing you can say is ‘I want $X for this job,’ leaving no opening for negotiation by the other side. Better language is ‘I hope to earn between $X and $X.’ That gives the other party more flexibility.” – Bill Coleman

“If you come to a negotiation table saying you have the final truth, that you know nothing but the truth and that is final, you will get nothing.” – Harri Holkeri

“If you are planning on doing business with someone again, don’t be too tough in the negotiations. If you’re going to skin a cat, don’t keep it as a house cat.” – Marvin Levin

“Never forget the power of silence, that massively disconcerting pause which goes on and on and may last induce an opponent to babble and backtrack nervously.” – Lance Morrow

“The single and most dangerous word to be spoken in business is no. The second most dangerous word is yes. It is possible to avoid saying either.” – Lois Wyse

“A negotiator should observe everything. You must be part Sherlock Holmes, part Sigmund Freud.” – Victor Kiam

“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” – Sir David Frost

“Anger can be an effective negotiating tool, but only as a calculated act, never as a reaction.” – Mark McCormack

“It’s a well-known proposition that you know who’s going to win a negotiation; it’s he who pauses the longest.” – Robert Court

“Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person.” – Harvey Robbins

“The truth is, unless you let go…unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

“Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it too long. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.” – Og Mandino

“There is no failure except no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” – Joel Osteen

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” – Karen Ravn

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Pamela Vaull Starr

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” – Diana Scharf Hunt

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

“Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms, carry out your plan.” – Paul J. Meyer

“Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest of most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.” – Anthony Robbins

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” – George Sheehan

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Today’s patience can transform yesterday’s discouragements into tomorrow’s discoveries. Today’s purposes can turn yesterday’s defeats into tomorrow’s determination.” – William Arthur Ward

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

“To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” – Bernard Edmonds

“Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller

“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” – Marie Curie

“Life is a challenge, meet it! Life is a dream, realize it! Life is a game, play it! Life is love, enjoy it!” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba

new year's inspirational quotes

new year's inspirational quotes

new year's inspirational quotes

new year's motivational quotes

new year's motivational quotes

new year's motivational quotes

new year's motivational quotes

new year's motivational quotes

new year's motivational quotes

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Business Articles

So you want a raise? Let’s discuss negotiations

(BUSINESS) Insight on the when, the why and the how much when asking a boss for a raise.

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We’ve all been there, sitting across the table from a boss, posed with the questions how much?

And if you haven’t been there, maybe it’s time for you to ask for your first raise ever.

Money is still one of the most taboo subjects to discuss.

Because of that, employees often have no idea how much their coworkers are making or if they’re being paid an equitable rate compared with others in the same position across the industry.

So how should you ask for a raise, when should you ask for a raise, and when you do — how much more should you ask for?

Paysa, a business blog, conducted a survey that may help employees understand what their managers expect when the two of you sit down for that conversation.

2,000 American managers and non-managers answered a smattering of salary based questions and provide a broad look at what employers expect when having dollar sign sit downs.

The best reasons to ask for a raise according to over half of those surveyed is if you’re doing excellent work, or if you’re taking on more difficult tasks at work.

That means if either of these things happen, you really should ask for a raise.

Understand your value, and try to monetize it. It can only help. The worst reasons to ask for a salary increase are if you don’t like your job (okay, duh) or if you think you’re employer can afford it. These both seem like skeezeball reasons, so even if they are the reason, try to avoid telling your boss that.

So you’re doing excellent work, you like your job and you’re confident in your place in the company.

How much should you ask for?

Of those surveyed some were in managerial positions with the ability to grant raises, and some were in non managerial, non raise-granting positions. Surprisingly their answers varied greatly.

When asked how much of a raise is too much to ask for, almost half of managers answered that over a five percent increase is too much.

Non managers overwhelmingly recommend that you should ask for the amount you feel you deserve, no matter the percentage (about 46%).

For more info check out Paysa’s infographic below. They split up the answers based on participants managerial level, so depending on who you’re talking to – whether she’s a middle manager or an owner – you can know what they’ll expect.

Other info from Paysa’s survey include how often to ask for a raise (no more than once a year) raise requests and grants based on gender and industry, and reasons why most people don’t ask for a raise (employers indicate that requests will not be granted).

You can check out their full blog here and study up before you send a “can we talk?” email to your manager. Which you should totally do, guys.

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