We hear an awful lot today about "branding yourself" and "self marketing" until it's almost become an overused cliche. As women in business who are interested in developing our marketing strategies and building strong connections through the Empowered Network group, have we stopped to think about the way we are branding ourselves?
As with any perception based concept, there are always two views involved. There is the way we'd "like to be perceived" as a business woman, and the way in which we actually are preceived by others. With this in mind, the first step to self branding, is honesty. Take a deep breath and answer the following questions:
- How many deadlines have I missed recently?
- How many appointments have I canceled?
- How many instances of miscommunication have there been between myself and my clients or business partners?
- How many times have I been a "no show" to an event or an appointment?
- How many times have I promised my services or assistance and then pushed it aside?
The above questions, if answered honestly, can serve as a gage to provide insight about your reliability level. If you have been missing appointments, meetings, deadlines, and breaking promises, it won't take long until you are viewed as an unreliable and unprofessional individual who doesn't take their business seriously. If this is the case, you may be missing out on many business opportunities as well as referrals.
Fortunately, it is possible to recover from even the worst business image, if you are sincere and make a conscious effort to change. Here are the steps to help you go from having a wishy-washy image to being the picture of a strong, reliable business woman.
Step 1. Just admit it. Everyone hates excuses. If you have blown it in the past, simply admit it; especially if you are looking for another opportunity with a client or business contact.
Step 2. Learn from your mistakes. Who hasn't made mistakes? Many of us juggle the duties of parent, spouse, business owner, professional business woman, and run our households as well. Nobody said it was easy but over time, a balance must be met if we are to be successful.
A quick recovery from mistakes is key. If you are constantly late for appointments, find a different system for keeping track of them. Maybe you just need to leave ten minutes earlier. Part of being a successful business woman lies in having the ability to constantly evaluate your strengths and recognize your weaknesses.
Step 3. Your word is an extention of yourself. This fact will never change. Dependability must be your number one priority in business. As the old Woody Allen saying goes, "80 percent of success is just showing up." Often times, a much less qualified individual will get the business...Why? Because they are reliable.
So, how do you become more dependable? By taking your own word seriously. Choose your words carefully. Don't be quick to make committments. It is best to promise less and deliver more. Pleasantly surprise others when you go above and beyond.
Historically, leaders who have a reputation for keeping their word have become extremely powerful. The bottom line here is pretty simple. No one wants to hitch their wagon to an individual who can't be trusted.
The more you honor yoru own word, the more you will become empowered as a business owner, a leader, and even as a role model. When you walk in this type of integrity, you don't have to spend your time branding and marketing yourself. Your reputation will proceed you wherever you go. Isn't that what we want as successful business women? Pretty simple stuff, isn't it? Keep your word, follow through on your committments, honor your word. Take this advice and you will find that your business will explode, right along with your reputation.