3 Excuses Not To Be An Entrepreneur

Blog No Excuses 6.20.18Have you been thinking about starting your own company, but are afraid of making the leap?

Every successful entrepreneur was scared. You have a choice. You can let your fears hold you back, or you can let those fears fuel you to do whatever it takes to succeed.  Complacency is the enemy of achievement. Fortunately, the fear of not achieving your dreams can drive complacency away. You just have to decide you’re more afraid of not trying than of not succeeding.

Being an entrepreneur takes courage, passion and a crazy commitment. You have to pick yourself up when you hit low points. You need to be your own cheerleader and seek out mentors who will also be cheerleaders. You must push through the roadblocks. And, to retain your sanity, you need to celebrate achievements.

Doubting is normal when you become an entrepreneur. But don’t give into the doubts. Here are three excuses some people use to give up before they’ve even given themselves a chance to get started on their entrepreneurial journey.

Excuse #1 — I’d have to quit my job to start my own business

Wrong! Every business will have an initial start-up phase and unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll need to keep money coming in to support yourself and fund your business.

I know … you probably dream of telling your boss that you quit. But leaving your current job won’t seem so satisfying when you’re scrounging for dollars to keep your dream afloat. And, if you’re thinking about starting a company just so you can tell your boss to “take this job and … well you know what,” you’re not starting with the proper mindset.

Excuse #2 — It’s not the right time

This excuse reeks of procrastination. And procrastinators typically aren’t successful entrepreneurs. There may never be the “perfect” time to strike out on your own and start a business. You can always find some reason not to move forward. But, to be successful, you need to put one foot in front of the other and not look back.

There is never a perfect time to start your own business. Yet, anytime is the perfect time to start your own business.

If you have set a goal; understand what need your business is filling in the marketplace; have analyzed your competition and why they’re succeeding or failing; can confidently articulate your unique selling proposition; and are able to identify your target audience and motivate them, you’re prepared. It’s the right time!

Excuse #3 – I need to find funding first

Entrepreneurs are masters of the art and science of accomplishing more with less … less money, less people, less time, less everything.

You will never, ever have “enough” cash or capital or funding. If you don’t have enough money to launch your business the way you plan, then change your plan.

You can’t always control what you have, but you can control what you choose to do with what you do have.

You Have A Choice

If these excuses are stopping you from being an entrepreneur, you have a choice to make … are you going to allow them to stop you or are you going to toss them aside and push through to achieve success?

Want people to listen? Avoid these 3 clichés!

Blog Feb STOP 2.2.18Have you ever been in a meeting and thought, “What the heck is that person talking about?” Me too. This usually occurs when I hear one of the following clichés.

  1. Let’s Take It To The Next Level — What exactly is the next level? At a branding workshop I recently conducted, one of the participants was a guy who owns the largest antique dealership in the state. After the conclusion of the workshop, he approached me and said, “I need to take my business to the next level. What do you suggest?”

I was stumped. What the heck is the next level for the largest antique dealership in the state? I asked if he wanted to expand geographically. Nope. I asked if he wanted to expand his business offering to include interior designer services. Nada. I asked if he wanted to expand his social media presence, to which he replied “I don’t think businesses should use social media.” Arrgh!

I asked what he wanted to achieve by taking it to the next level. “To make more money,” was his response.

I indicated that branding, content marketing and social media were my areas of expertise and I wouldn’t be able to assist him in his quest to reach the next level. “Why would you turn away business?” he asked with surprise. Really?

Just stop using this phrase and ask for what you really want.

  1. Let’s Eat The Elephant One Bite At A Time — Eww! I don’t want to eat an elephant one bite at a time or at all. I get that this phrase means to break a large task into smaller ones. But, whenever I hear this phrase, my mind conjures up disturbing images of people in a jungle somewhere sitting around a dead elephant . . . they all have forks. Then, my mind starts to wander. Who killed the elephant? How was it killed? How did these people get forks?

By this time, I’m not listening to the speaker. The meeting ends, everyone gets up to accomplish their “bite” of the task. I go to the ladies room to splash cold water on my face in an attempt to stop thinking about dead elephants.

How about we just stop using this phrase? 

  1. I Need To Marinate This Idea — What? Am I in the right place? I thought this was a meeting, not a cooking class. I look around and notice no one is wearing an apron. Whew . . . I am in a meeting.

People use this phrase to indicate that they’d like to think about an idea privately before discussing it further with others. I get it. But, “marinate?” I marinate steak before I grill it. I marinate chicken before I sauté it. Sometimes I marinate vegetables before I grill kabobs. And, it’s OK if other people are in the kitchen when I’m marinating. This cooking technique does not require solitude.

How about we stop using this phrase? In fact, let’s just stop using cooking phrases in business meetings . . . unless, of course, it’s a meeting about cooking. No more “noodle it around,” “stew about it,” or “boil the ocean.”

Say What You Mean! — Many clichés were once a fresh, creative way of expressing a popular thought or common idea. But because of excessive use, these phrases have lost their originality, impact, and even meaning.

YES! That’s The Best Image For Your Content

Blog Best Image 1.18.18Did you know that 90% of the information our brain processes is visual and it’s processed 60,000 times faster than anything you read?

We’re constantly being bombarded with images. Yet we’re able to process thousands of images because our brains are always trying to figure out what we’re seeing. Recently, neuroscientists at MIT discovered that the human brain can process images the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds. That’s even faster than I scroll on Facebook!

But when it comes to remembering, not all images are equal. Some stick in our minds as if they were set with super glue and some just slip out like random thoughts.

Images can Increase Memorability and Sharing — Image memorability is an interesting subject. Well, it is to me since I’m a behaviorist and I find these types of topics fascinating. At this point, you may be thinking that an article about images might bore you to death. But, keep reading … there are some things you should know about images to help you create memorable and sharable social media and content marketing posts.

Emotions Engage — Emotion is the driving force of sharing.

A recent Harvard study evaluated what causes marketing campaigns, and their images, to go viral. Data indicates the most shared emotions are: admiration, interest, amazement and astonishment.

When selecting images, use those that evoke emotions. The more intense the emotion, the more likely we are to remember it.

The best way for your business to engage people and motivate their behavior is by building emotional connections with them.

Make it Relevant! — The images you use must align with your brand. Don’t turn away from your brand guidelines for memorable images that aren’t relevant to your brand or your audience.   Aim to use impactful imagery that stimulates emotions and are contextual to your brand.

Color is Important — The way color is used in an image contributes to the emotions you feel.  A recent study from Georgia Tech examined over 1 million Pinterest images and looked at the color trends between the highest and lowest shared images. The results? Red, purple and pink promote sharing . . . these three colors drive visceral emotions in both men and women.

You’re probably wondering which colors were shared at the lowest spectrum … drum roll, please. The least shared images used green, black, blue and yellow.

Your Content Needs Images! — Using images is a natural way to get people’s attention. It’s the perfect motivating force to encourage sharing. Just make sure the images you select are emotional, contextual to your brand and relevant to your audience.

 

Tips For Brands To Engage Baby Boomers

Boomers 3Boomers account for $230 billion in sales of consumer packaged goods and account for 70% of the nation’s disposable income. Your brand needs to engage this generation to be successful, but as Bob Dylan sang . . . “The times, they are a’changin’.”

How can your brand engage Boomers? By understanding the values and behaviors that motivate their decision-making and aligning them with the digital age.  Fran Lytle, a Behaviorist, Brand Strategist and Co-founder of Brand Champs shares tips to help brands engage Baby Boomers in this Architect of Change radio interview.

What You Can Learn From Shonda Rhimes About Branding

#TGIT

Since the 2014 TV season began, Thursday is referred to as #TGIT, (Thank Goodness It’s Thursday), because ABC has given the 8pm – 11pm time slots to 3 incredibly popular Shonda Rhimes shows.  Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder are killing Thursday night ratings.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, these shows have given ABC its highest-rated Thursday night in 5 years.  Ignore the NYT’s article that declared Shonda to be an “angry black woman.” Ms. Rhimes is an extremely talented screenwriter, director and producer.  She knows how to engage viewers and she uses a human behavioral insight to do it…Motivational Drivers.

4 Motivational Drivers — People’s behaviors are pre-cognitively driven by 4 Motivational Drivers . . . “Belonging,” “Power,” “Freedom” and “Fun.”   We need to feel these in our lives or we’ll become depressed.  The #TGIT shows take us through these feelings from 8pm until 11pm each Thursday.  That’s why they’re so popular!  Let’s take a look . . .

Start #TGIT With . . .

TGIT#2For those of you who don’t know, (where the heck have you been?), Grey’s Anatomy is a medical drama.  ABC describes the storyline this way, “The doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital deal with life-or-death consequences on a daily basis.  It’s in one another that they find comfort, friendship and, at times, more than friendship.”

The show appeals primarily to the Motivational Driver of “Belonging.”  Secondarily, it appeals to our need for “Fun.”  Admit it, how many times have you danced it out with Meredith & Cristina? And, ahem, there are other types of fun going on in the lives of the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.  You know what I mean.

Next Up Is . . .

TGIT#3Break out the really good red wine!  It’s time to watch this political thriller that stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope.  Olivia dedicates her life to protecting and defending the public images of the nation’s elite by keeping those secrets under wraps.  She doesn’t just fix problems.  She fixes people.   Now, that’s one powerful gal!

You guessed it.  Scandal appeals primarily to the Motivational Driver of “Power.”  But those of us who watch, know there’s an underpinning of “Fun” in each episode.  It’s fun to figure out how she’s going to fix the situation.

Finish #TGIT With . . .

TGIT#4

This suspense-driven legal thriller stars Viola Davis as criminal law professor and defense attorney, Annalise Keating.  She’s brilliant, passionate, creative and charismatic. She’s also everything you don’t expect . . . sexy, glamorous, unpredictable and dangerous.

This drama appeals primarily to the Motivational Driver of “Freedom” because its storyline keeps us wondering if her students and her clients are guilty or innocent.   Our opinions change from episode to episode depending on Annalise’s actions in and out of the classroom and courtroom.

As in most of Shonda Rhimes shows, this one offers up a dose of “Fun.” We experience this as we try to figure out what’s going on and speculate on the outcome.

#TGIT Appeals To All Motivational Drivers — Wonder why viewers enjoy Thursday night’s 3 Shonda Rhimes TV shows?  By watching, they’re experiencing all 4 Motivational Drivers.

Motivational Drivers And Your Brand

TGIT#5

So, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with your brand.  Wait for it…by embracing this human behavioral insight, your brand will be able to develop strong relationships with people – for many seasons.

Here’s Your Branding Assignment — Gather your marketing team, order in some pizza and grab a large Post-it-Note pad.   Yes, carbs and the large pages that stick to the wall will make this easier.  Post 4 blank pages on your wall.  On the top of each, write 1 of the Motivational Drivers.  On each page, post how your brand taps into that specific Motivational Driver.  Keep posting until you run out of “hows.”

Be honest when posting . . .  this is not a creative writing assignment.  Most brands don’t appeal to each Motivational Driver equally.  When you’ve completed this exercise, step back and look at the wall.

Which page has the most posts?  This is the primary Motivational Driver that your brand taps into.  Which has the least?  Your brand doesn’t really appeal to this Motivational Driver.

Assignment Dos and Don’ts

TGIT#6Let’s say your company is an accounting firm.  This category typically doesn’t appeal to “Fun.” It’s OK . . . this is a category issue, not a brand issue.  However, you may feel compelled to post something here and might post something like this . . . “You’ll have fun when you collaborate with our accountants.”  Buzzer sound!  Really?

But, let’s say your accounting firm conducts fun outings for your clients . . . you take them into NYC around the holidays to see the Radio City Christmas Show.  Now, that’s fun . . . post it on the “Fun” page.

The point is, the more Motivational Drivers your brand appeals to, the more likely it will be to develop long-term relationships with people.  But, don’t force it!  Shonda accomplished this through 3 #TGIT shows.

Now What? — OK . . . now you’re going into analysis, strategy and execution mode – the equivalent of being a screenwriter, director and producer.

If your brand taps into more than 1 Motivational Driver, which page has the most posts, which 2nd and 3rd?  This will guide you in your communication hierarchy.  For instance, if “Belonging” has the most posts from this exercise, your web and social media content should lead with this Motivational Driver.

Take a look at all of your marketing communications.  Do you see, read, hear the Motivational Drivers that your brand appeals to – in the proper order?  If not, your marketing team needs to get to work.

Are there Motivational Drivers that have the least posts, but you’d like to appeal to them because it’ll provide a fruitful competitive space for your brand?  Then, brainstorm.  Think creatively!  What can your brand do to appeal to those Motivational Drivers?

The Motivational Drivers exercise will help you structure and order your brand’s content and imagery.  It also helps identify pre-cognitive behavior drivers that your brand isn’t tapping into.  This should lead to discussions regarding whether your brand should and, if so, how to make that happen.

Human Behavior & Your Brand — Your brand needs to motivate people’s behavior.  It’s a no-brainer that embracing human behavioral insights will help you succeed!  I’ve got to go . . . time to watch #TGIT.

Fran Photo 2014

Fran Lytle is a behaviorist, brand strategist, author & co-founder of Brand Champs.  Fran develops brand strategy, emotional brand storytelling, content marketing & social media programs that engage people by applying psychology & human and gender-specific behavior.  She specializes in developing & implementing marketing-to-women programs. Contact her at fran@brandchamps.com connect with Fran on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.

 

5 Tips To Engage Moms With Content

Blog2Photo1 Your Brand Needs Moms – Moms are powerful consumers responsible for $2.5 trillion in annual U.S.  spending.  And, the mom market is continually self-renewing.  According to eMarketer, approximately 4  million babies are born in the U.S. each year . . . 40% are to first-time mothers.

Moms Want Brands To Understand –  Yet, only 20% of moms feel advertisers are doing a good job connecting with them.  Another 70% indicate marketers aren’t focused on moms in their advertising and 30% report seeing ads that offend them.

Moms Want To Be “Connected With” . . . Not “Sold To” –  So, it’s no surprise that a recent study, conducted by ContentPlus, indicates 70% of moms prefer to get to know a company or brand through original articles rather than ads.  And, according to the Custom Content Council, 61% of moms indicate they feel better about a company or brand that offers relevant content . . . and, are more likely to purchase from them!

Embrace Behavioral Insights To “Connect With” Moms — You’ve probably noticed a lot of advice being bantered around about how to develop engaging content.  However, to engage women and moms, your brand needs to embrace behavioral science.

5 Behavioral Tips To Engage Moms

By embracing female gender-specific behavior, your brand will pre-cognitively engage moms.  This list of 5 tips are “must haves” to develop a motivating and engaging content marketing program for moms.

1.  People First.  Tap into moms’ orientation toward people as the most important aspect of their lives.  Let moms see, hear and read stories about people and situations from people she’d like to have relationships with.

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Dove’s Sisterhood campaign on Facebook engages moms because it taps into women’s and mom’s highest personal value of establishing and nurturing relationships.

2.  Help Others.  Moms want to help other people.  If your brand shows her you help others, she’ll bond with you and tell her friends.  Make it real.  Make it honest.  Don’t do it just for publicity . . . she’ll sense phoniness, (women’s intuition), and walk away from your brand.

According to a Cone Cause Evolution study, 92% of moms want to buy a product or use a service supporting a cause and 93% are likely to switch brands to support a cause they care about.  

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P&G continues to develop strong relationships with moms by helping children around the world through their Children’s Safe Drinking Water program.

 3.  Respect Her.   Moms want your brand to listen to them and respond to what they’re saying.  Remember when you were younger and your mom told you to respect other people?  Well, today’s moms are demanding that brands respect them.  Respect moms by understanding them and their needs.

This can only be accomplished by listening to moms!  Conduct research and listen to their conversations on social media to hear what moms are talking about.

Target listens, and responds with respectful programs.  Through the Blogger Project, Target discovered that moms want to use more natural products.  The Result?  Target curated a collection of brand name products that are cleaner, fresher, safer & smarter . . . Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target.
Target listens, and responds with respectful programs. Through the Blogger Project, Target discovered that moms want to use more natural products. The Result? Target curated a collection of brand name products that are cleaner, fresher, safer & smarter . . . Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target.

4.  The “Girlfriend Factor.”  Moms enjoy being with other moms – their girlfriends.  It keeps them healthy, happy and sane.  Did you know that when women are faced with a stressful situation, they don’t experience the same “fight or flight” behavior as men?  Women will huddle with girlfriends, which biologically decreases stress levels.

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Moms like to hear from other moms. Disney knows this . . . that’s why they’ve created the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

5.  Make Her Laugh.  Doctors agree that laughter can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even help improve memory. Funny videos account for some of the most watched videos on YouTube. Parenting comedy has risen in popularity with countless blogs, videos, books and TV shows all aiming to provide some humor on the subject.

Moms, in particular, are stressed and at times feel overwhelmed about their role as a parent. Use laughter to connect with mom and give her a quick break in her day.

Here are a few tips for taking the comedic plunge . . .

Know your brandIs your brand all about making mom’s life easier? Or, maybe your products allow her to make healthier choices for her family? Bringing out the humor in everyday situations is a great way to connect with mom. Know your audience to make it meaningful, and keep on par with your brand to stay relevant.

Provide support — Comedy helps a mom realize she’s not alone out there and it’s OK to make mistakes. Motherhood is a journey with never ending lessons along the way.

Keep it tastefulDon’t go overboard with anything too extreme or raunchy – you don’t want to risk alienating moms over a joke gone wrong.

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Check out the American Express Tina Fey “Yogurt Facial Rejuvenation” spot in their #EveryDayMoments campaign — a great example of how to make moms laugh!

Mom, Mom, Watch This!   All moms have heard their kids shout this phrase repeatedly when they’re trying to get mom’s attention.  If your brand yells, “Mom, mom, watch this!” it will alienate moms.  Instead, get mom’s attention by embracing these 5 behavioral content marketing tips.

Fran P4W copyFran Lytle is a behaviorist, brand strategist, author & co-founder of Brand Champs.  Fran develops brand strategy, emotional brand storytelling, content marketing & social media programs that engage people by applying psychology & human and gender-specific behavior.  She specializes in developing & implementing marketing-to-women programs. Contact her at fran@brandchamps.com connect with Fran on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.