Thursday, March 18, 2010

Establishing a Brand: Your Core Strength

Brand, What does this have to do with business? If you are involved in the world of fitness and exercise, I'm sure you are familiar with the term, "core strength." In anatomy, your core is the base or trunk of your body. If you've got core strength, you have control, balance, and proper support of your spine. Core strength affects overall athletic performance and the ability to reach and and hold difficult yoga positions. The stability gained through core strength is your center of power.

So, what does this have to do with business? Everything. Your business requires a strong core or base of power in order to ensure its long term success. How is this achieved? By establishing a very focused and defined vision of exactly what your business is about.

If those words sound like I'm speaking a foreign language, or if you just don't quite understand, that's okay. Let's break down the three key elements that define your "core" business.

Key Element #1: Who is Your Target Market?

Understandably, your first step lies in deciding who you want to reach. When making this decision, honestly ask yourself the following questions:

Do my potential clients have a need or desire for my service or product?
Is the market large enough to support my business?
Do my potential clients have the ability to pay for my service or product?
Can I reach my potential clients in a cost effective manner?

If you can answer an undeniable yes to these four questions, you can move forward. Keep your product or service as simple and niche oriented as possible. Successful branding isn't all about reaching the masses. In fact, the opposite is true. The more focused and niche oriented your business becomes, the more business you will have. Why? Because the more defined you are, the more of an expert and authority you are in your particular niche. You, in turn become much more valuable and personally relevant to your industry.

A good example of successful niche branding is Starbucks. They carved themselves out an entire culture based on a cup of coffee. Who would have ever thought? Coffee used to be the pot of black bitterness that the waitress walked around with, endlessly filling your cup for a mere fifty cents. There were two choices, regular or decaf. Now you've got caramel cappuccinos, white mocha frappes and everything in between. Once company took a niche market to a whole new level.

When you are thinking of your niche market, decide how you will seperate yourself from the pack. Based on your core strength, what you can offer that noone else has? By targeting your business to a few specific markets, you will set yourself apart from the competition as well as economic uncertainties. Like the old saying goes, do one thing and do it well!

Key Element #2: Find a Need and Fill it

With so many businesses and products readily available, it is difficult to find a niche opportunity that is not being filled. They are still out there, though. The classic road to success is to "find a need and fill it." Look to your present customers and begin to listen to what they are saying. What are they asking for? What would they like to see? These can prove to be wonderful insights that can spark ideas and opportunities that realistically fill a need that is out there.

Maybe you wont find an unfilled niche, but what about a poorly filled one? This is quite common. Remember, the more specialized you become, the less competition you will have. Do one thing and do it well. You can always expand after you are established.

Key Element #3: Stick to What You Know

Have you ever heard the saying, "Do what you love and the money will follow? The phrase has been around for years, mainly because it's excellent advise. If your area of interest lies in food preparation, don't look to brand yourself in the flooring industry. It just doesn't make good sense.

Keep it simple. Usually, the answers you are looking for are right in front of you. Take what you already know and already have an interest in and just expand on it. Let's say that you are a vegetarian, and you also love to exercise. As a hobby, you spend much of your time volunteering as a personal trainer, gaining personal satisfaction from seeing others achieve their goals. There are areas of interest and your niche. You can market this as a business for yourself. You could brand yourself by offering vegetarian meal plans that are specifically designed to fuel a highly athletic lifestyle. Are you catching on?

Bottom line here: Don't reinvent the wheel. Take what you know, what you love, and what you are good at and simply expand on it. The secret to establishing your brand and your core strength are right in front of you.

If this post has helped you to gain an understanding of your potential business success, stay tuned --there are more insights to come. The launch of my new book will take place in the next few months, and until then I will be giving you a preview throught these weekly blog posts.

With each post you will come away equipped with real tools that you can put into action immediately. The book will be absolutely packed with real life experience, testimonies, and tools you can use for maximum business success. It's not just a book, but an actual step-by-step guide to business success, covering everything from personal branding to product ideas. I've got your success on my agenda!

Joann Frazier, Business Consultant
President & Founder of Empowered Network
Member of NAWBO, ASTD, and SBRN


Anonymous said...

Branding is one of the most forgotten but most important facets of any business. Good points - looking forward to your book!
Mike Cathell
Founder, New Horizons in Networking