• Writer for DDI on Medium

Well Yeah, Focusing Will Seem Unproductive When You're Desperate: When Founders Cut Corners.

“Let’s just finish it with bamboo and collect our money!”

Desperation, like all things has characteristics: It's impatient, lacks depth, and often leaves its host at the mercy of bad decisions. The moment ‘needing to make money now’ becomes the impetus behind how you want people to perceive your services, the conversation stops being about the needs of your ideal client and starts being about your needs only. Don't be fooled, see the self-centeredness in all its gore.

It's common when you’re in the ‘it’s all about me’ frame of mind, to create a ‘fig-leaf’ for your conscience because you know you’re choosing to fill your pockets over being of service to someone who decided to trust you. So it's only natural to tell yourself things like, "The move is necessary for the longevity of my business," when in reality, it’s necessary for your desperation. Well, guess what, when you cut corners in any shape or form of your branding, it becomes the measuring stick for others to judge how deep the care you claim to have for your clients goes. Remember, branding is also an experience. That’s why questions like “what do you stand for?” exists. But many local founders, despite claiming to care about their clients, drop the ball on the experience they curate for them on account of being more focused on taking their money. If we met for the first time and all I did was talk about myself without considering enquiring about your needs, wouldn’t you determine I’m pretty self-centered? That’s precisely how a founder cutting corners appears when they ...

1. Create Popular Content Without First Defining What They’re Known For.

The assumption that being known for one thing means you’re selling one thingis the reason local founders are rushing to tools like Google Trends prematurely. They see focusing the service they provide as a financial hindrance rather than a way to help their clients easily retain what they do. But if you’ve ever felt overlooked by someone for a project, you would appreciate why focusing is important. It’s not an excuse on the person's part that you weren’t top of mind. According to scientific research, the average person can only retain 150 meaningful connections at once. Beyond that, you’re a non factor. This further emphasizes why it's so important to get to the point: leverage the story that matters online and offline.

When you opt for money over being of service: one minute you’re helping an underserved market accomplish something specific and the next you’re spreading goodwill to all men. The story becomes distorted and the listener tunes you out.

Another thing that shows you’re cutting corners is ...

2. Using Ugly And / Or Poorly Shaped Images

When you’ve done the leg work to help people expect a certain level of visual quality from your work, it’s your job to deliver on that promise all the time.

When I first started using social media to market my services, I didn’t know about the standard sizes for images. Thankfully, I learned quickly and it’s now one of many things I always consider before creating content for any platform I’m using.

What about you?

Are your images yours? Is it a priority that your images be sized according to the appropriate platform’s guidelines? Do you consider the lighting, composition, atmosphere and posting sequence of your shots? What about the specific messages your images punctuate? Do you have a message? How about the specific fonts and colors your visual brand typically uses? Are your thoughts in either of these places, or did you make yourself believe no one cares about those things?

User-experience is only important when your ideal client is the priority. “Start where you are” my foot. You better learn quickly and be ready for your close up because that’s what professionals do. If you’re making excuses, then your heart was never in it. And if that doesn’t convince you that your priorities are off, perhaps the next topic will.

3. Having A Lopsided Relationship With Marketing

We’re in business to make money, yes, but there is a specific part between the marketing activities and earning money that is missing that needs to happen first, when you provide a service, and that’s kinship. Kinship is a type of bond all successful service-based marketers have socially with all the ideal clients they’ve ever onboarded. According to how intimate you are with the problems your ideal client has, you’re able to build that into your visual brand and shorten the time it takes between you introducing yourself and them wanting to work with you. If all you give them is 15 minutes of your time per week, logically, your content won’t make money. On the other hand, becoming acquainted with those you serve doesn’t happen by chance and it’s not easy. You have to be purposeful in how you go about building that relationship.

How do you think these articles happen? I designed a process that helps me extract the intel I need to fuel my writing (which I happen to love doing by the way) and by extension, organically understand and connect with the people around me. I once had a client share how someone enquired about the person who designed their website, to which they (the client) replied “to work with her you need to think a certain way.” Think of her comment in the context of a blind date: would you knowingly recommend someone who you know is the wrong fit, to someone you care about?

Insight into someone's likes and dislikes is an intentional part of building meaningful relationships. I certainly don’t recommend her to people who aren’t ideal because I’m cognizant we share similar values.

My point is, no one ever successfully builds anything specific without a blueprint. Everything has stages and a process for a reason: one thing supports the other and so on and so on. Skip it, and there are always consequences.

I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB

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