Tag Archives: passion

Missionary Zeal

If you lack passion for your business, it’s time to give some thought to why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Missionary zeal is essential for business owners to ingrain into their company or organization.  It becomes the defining element of their corporate culture, the reason for your existence.

150px-USS_Benfold_DDG-65_CrestThere is an excellent book on leadership by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff called It’s Your Ship and sub-titled Leadership Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy.  Abrashoff created the best ship in the United States Navy by realizing that the destroyer he commanded, the USS Benfold, was more than “his” vessel.  It belonged to every sailor on board and the standard military protocol of command and control was less than ideal as a management technique.

The captain found that the more every member of the crew knew they had ownership of their ship and that he cared about them and their role on it, the higher the level of performance could be expected from everyone.  His vision was to reinforce that the ship’s mission was combat readiness.  Pure and simple.  That vision was communicated with the expectation that every sailor on board was important to achieving that mission.  It was, without a doubt, their ship!  The fact the USS Benfold became the best damn ship in the Navy proved his approach.

Does that same missionary zeal apply to your organization?

Do your “sailors” feel as though they can help accomplish the mission?  Do they even know what the mission is?  Do they care?  If they don’t, the reason may be that they don’t believe you care about them or what they do.  Do you listen to their suggestions?  Do you implement those recommendations, or sweep them under the rug?

More importantly, do your sailors understand the corporate mission?  Do you, as the business owner or CEO, convey your vision for the company’s success?  If you are unsure or unclear, it may be time to seek professional counsel and re-visit your corporate culture.  It’s okay to embrace change if it is warranted.  Insanity has been defined as continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result.

Your mission needs to clearly define your reason for existence, cutting through all the verbosity.  Are you in business to provide a service or a product to consumers?  Or to make money?  It should be both, but if you answered “Yes” to only making money, you need an independent third party to help you figure out how to do it.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand



Are Your Employees Engaged?

We’re not talking about whether they’re getting married.  We’re writing about how involved they are in their work.  A recent column by Anita Bruzzese in USA Today, which was also reprinted in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, struck a chord with us and, in our opinion, relates to marketing yourself and your business.

One of the more intriguing items in the column was that a Gallup survey found that 70% of workers are not engaged or actively engaged at work.

The piece delves into the concept that a large percentage of people have a job just to pay the bills and would rather be doing something else.  Think about your employees for a minute.  They may be doing an excellent job, in your opinion, but deep down they’re thinking about what they would rather be doing.  Heck, they may already be doing it and hoping for a big break so they can leave you behind.

Bruzzese writes about Tama Kieves, an attorney who quit her legal practice to pursue her passion as a writer.  A friend “got her thinking: If she was so good at something she didn’t like, imagine the success she might have doing something she loved.”  It took some time, but eventually a publisher made Kieves an offer for her book, speaking, and coaching opportunities.  The law career became an item on her resume.

If you ask your employees whether they are satisfied with and challenged by their work, what are the odds you’ll get a straight, honest answer?  They will, in their own mind, at first question why you’re asking.  Then they will wonder whether they should tell you what you want to hear or the truth.  Keep in mind, they may be one and the same.

Ask about their hobbies and what they like to do with their free time.  You may discover a latent talent you can encourage and, in turn, nurture their love of a paycheck from your company.  You may also discover a true passion that may lead to an eventual departure from your company.  Think of the option that incorporates their passion into your business model; it may be a whole new line of products or services you never thought of.

The gist of Bruzzese’s column, in relation to your employees and marketing your business, is that you must find ways to ensure they are engaged with what they’re doing.  We have often seen excellent sales people get promoted to sales manager and wind up failing miserably.  They are good at selling face-to-face with customers or prospects, but lack the drive to effectively engage with other sales people.  They’d rather be out on the street instead of pushing people, and paper, around.

Perhaps it should be part of your hiring process to determine what your candidates are most excited about and if they are passionate about coming to work for your company or if they like the wage and benefits package.  Where do they feel they could make the greatest contribution to the corporate mission?  Your challenge, obviously, is getting the right fit and sustaining the engagement and the resulting productivity.

There may also be a time when it’s worth spending a few minutes (perhaps an hour or two) to reflect on where you are as well.  Bruzzese’s column cites some points at the end from Kieves that stimulate such self-reflection.

When you think about that 70% ratio from the Gallup survey, it’s easy to understand why so many workers are not engaged.  Teenagers working in fast food restaurants are only there for a paycheck and because they were unable to find any other employment.  You may find a rare case where they aspire to management, but their career path usually leads in other directions.  Take that out to virtually any industry or business and chances are the percentage of 70% disengagement holds true.

Since they’re now no longer with us, I can admit that I hated mowing my grandparents’ lawn.  I would do virtually whatever I could to find an excuse or disable the lawn mower to get out of the job.  Ever wonder how many accidents at work happen because the employee is unhappy and wants to do something else?  There are professionals who can help you ensure that you do everything possible to engage your employees.

Next week we’ll spend some time on the impact social media can have on your business.



5 P’s of Business Success

Your definition of success is different than mine.  Is the wino who scores a cheap bottle every day less successful than the sales representative whose achieves the goal of 10 sales in a week?  It comes down to how you define success.

Success KeyWhen it comes to owning and operating a business, defining success is still a personal choice, although there are certain keys that can clarify the definition.  Here are five “P”s:

  1. Passion.  One of the first elements Brand Irons considers when taking on a new client is how passionate you are about your business.  The passion gets you up in the morning with eager anticipation for what you can accomplish during the day.  It motivates you to bring enthusiasm to every decision you make about the business.  It energizes your employees and that passion for your vision goes right through to your customers.  That passion for your enterprise sends you home at night encouraged by the results and excited about bringing it back tomorrow.
  2. Plan.  Various research projects have illustrated that people, especially business owners, who set goals and write down their plans are far more likely to succeed than those who feel goals and plans have little value.  Take some time to think for a few minutes:  Are you working in your business or are you taking the time to work on your business?  Working on your business means you do some research, study your competition, talk to your customers and personnel, and develop strategies to enhance your bottom line.  Try a different tactic and measure the results of how it worked.  Consult with professionals and others in your field who have been successful in their endeavors.  Think about things.
  3. Perform.  Your passion conveys a sense of urgency that follows the path you’ve laid out in your plan.  Another critical element is to execute the strategy, which means you and your people have to perform.  Your customers have expectations.  They believe in and trust you.  They know what to expect from your products and/or services.  It’s up to you and your team to make it happen and fulfill those customer expectations.  That’s why it is essential you stay in touch with your customers.  Get to know them and their needs.  What are they looking for, and is your company meeting those needs?  How can you enhance service?  Are there other products you could provide to help them solve their problems?  Do what is expected of you … and then do a little more than that.
  4. People.  Whatever your business, whatever you market, and whether you have employees or it’s only you, everything you do involves people.  Your customers are people; human beings with needs, wants, and wishes.  Your employees are people with a need to feel appreciated, who want to have value and make a contribution, and wish to be treatly fairly and honestly.  Your success in business is therefore wrapped up with people.  That means you need to establish and sustain relationships with these people, especially your customers.  Always remember that without customers – who are people – you have no business.
  5. Place.  The adage that it’s all about location is true, to a degree.  If you operate a restaurant or a retail establishment, your place in the community can be a critical element in your long-term success.  The same holds true if the primary place where your business is located is on the Internet.  If your web presence is old, stagnant, and hard to find, even the most elaborate website is a poor location.  Keep your place looking sharp.  Your parking lot should be as safe, clean, and comfortable as your place of business.  Your website should be up-to-date and your social media current and professional.  Remember, marketing is about perception.  If your customers think your place looks sloppy, that perception could reflect on your products and services as clearly as crystal.

Brand Enthusiasm

Creating enthusiasm for your brand begins with you.  The consciousness you want consumers to have about and for your product or service flows through you and your company into the marketplace.

The energy and creative power of your actions are essential for your business, products, and services to permeate and imbue the culture you want to build around your brand.

A basic energy level is one of acceptance.  Acceptance as it relates to marketing your brand means you are content with the position you have and get by with doing what you need to do to establish and maintain market share.  You may have an audience that is aware of your brand and supports your products and services, but the energy level is low.  Unfortunately, a majority of businesses generate this basic level of energy about their products and services.  It is due more to a lack of understanding of how to take it up a level than it is the desire or willingness to add to the bottom line.

If you ramp things up a notch, the energy level turns to excitement about your products and/or services.  The energy you generate because you are enjoying what you are doing makes every aspect of your business come alive.  Your joy shines through in the activities of the day and, as a result, flow through you to the people and customers around you.  People enjoy being around you and your glow reaches out through a deep sense of being alive and finding great value in every moment.  That feeling of excitement is contagious and when people are excited about you, your products and services, the cash register rings.

The acceptance energy level is a basic requirement for being in business, while the level of excitement is the minimum requirement for developing your brand.  They are unlikely to guarantee great success or broad brand acceptance, but without them the chances of failure certainly increase.

enthusiasmWhere the energy level for your brand needs to, and must, be to grow and sustain your brand is the level of outright enthusiasm!  This is where you have taken your excitement for your brand and developed goals you want to achieve that are measurable, smart, and within reach.  These goals convey your vision for the brand and your enthusiasm.  Dedication to achieving those goals adds intensity and super-powered energy to their pursuit.  You bring the creative power of the universe to bear and generate a tsunami effect for your products or services.

Your enthusiasm engulfs others; your employees, your vendors, your customers, your prospective customers, and the general public.  When you meet obstacles with enthusiasm, like a massive wave you either go around them, encompass them and they move with you, or they are washed away.  You become unstoppable as long as you have that enthusiasm, remain motivated, and are one with the universe.

Creating the enthusiasm for your brand begins with your goals for the brand, which should be dynamic and connected to your market.  Then the energy you transmit must flow in such a way as to inspire and enrich people’s lives so they, in turn, are swept up in the enthusiasm for your brand.

An exceptional resource is Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth:  Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, that has proven valuable in determining successful approaches to marketing your business when you read it from that perspective.  Tolle also wrote The Power of Now!

The Bible also has a great viewpoint to consider, from Mark 11:24:  “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

If you need help on how to build your brand, contact Brand Irons at (920) 366-6334.