Are you looking for ways to grow your business and don’t know where to start? Or perhaps, that business project is in the planning stage, and you need a how-to guide to take that first step? Whatever brought you here, I know you have questions on your mind about how to keep your business on track and scale it further. Well, keep reading because I’m going to share a presentation that I made before an audience at a real estate conference. Not a few people came up to me after this presentation to tell me they’ve learned a lot and want to know more.
But first, we have to know what branding is and why it is important in business. Your audience gets to know your business through your brand. Your customers recognize your name and logo, experience your services but what will make them like and trust your company so that they will support your business for the long term? You have to offer high-quality products and have excellent customer service while some companies spend high dollars on advertising. But sometimes, no matter what you do, you feel your business is not getting very far. This is where branding comes in. You have to set your brand apart from the others. You have to place your business ahead of your competitors and make them choose you. But how?
Let’s begin to answer that question. Here are some techniques that we’ve done to make that happen.
Define Your “Why”
The why is the story that tells the reason you’re doing your business. Beyond profit and income, what motivates you to do your business? Your why is the mission and vision behind your business that defines and represents your brand. Your why represents who you are and what you stand for. It tells the history, purpose, and values that you hold dear when it comes to your business told in a narrative that pulls your audiences and makes them feel emotionally connected.
Our why is helping families adopt children. If you’ve been listening to the show, you know that it is our mission to help fund adoptions and help other families be able to go through the process of adopting. We’ve been through the process three times with our own kids, and it is difficult. It takes tremendous amounts of energy and determination, but it’s so worthwhile. It is so worthwhile and meaningful. But, what most people don’t know is that the cost of an adoption process could be staggering – upwards of 40 to 60,000 dollars. This is where our commitment remains. We’re very passionate about helping other families in the process as we continue to set aside funding to enable them to give new homes to kids who need them. Our why has defined our business and given us that push and that desire to keep going when times get tough. If you don’t have that strong why you’re not going to be as committed. You’re not going to have what it takes to make it through some of those valleys. You’re going to need that strong narrative in your entrepreneurial journey.
Tell Your Story
Now that you have defined your why, talk about it and tell your story in your business relationships and outside that circle. What does storytelling have to do with my business, you ask? A lot. There is power in storytelling because people love hearing stories especially the ones that make them feel alive and inspired. “Stories spark the emotional side of people’s brains, and we value stories over anything else,” says John Bates, founder of Executive Speaking Success. It is in telling your story that you’re able to form an emotional connection with your audience and customers. Your story can catch the attention of your listeners that can turn into leads then into customers or investors then into loyal customers and devoted investors.
It’s a big thing to have to talk to people, right? You have to learn how to carry on those conversations and stand out in some way. One way that I have done that is through talking about our why. Talking about something other than business, other than our next multifamily deal made me more memorable to clients and potential investors. They could immediately hear the passion in my voice, about helping families with adoption because we’ve been through the process ourselves; that it means a lot to us and now, it means something to them as well.
If a person talks to 50 people about multifamily investing in a couple of days at a conference, guess who they will remember among the 50 when that person gets home? It’s unbelievable when I would go call them following up after our conference, and they would remember me and my story. It really is a game-changer. When you share yourself and allow others a peek into your personal side, the more they will become familiar with you and feel that affinity or bond that was formed by the shared knowledge of your story. The more they will trust you and be drawn to you. With the trust and confidence that you’re building among your target audience, the easier it will be to promote your business, build a strong reputation and retain your clients and investors.
Take Your Commitment to the Highest (Deepest) Level
Yet, simply knowing your why and telling your story is not enough. How far or how deep are you willing to commit to getting this business up? Before launching my own podcast, I asked industry leaders who had their own shows about the hardest part for them to keep their podcasts going. Every one of them said that it’s so much work. It is back-breaking, demanding, exhausting work. Every week, it is a struggle to get the interviews done, the notes written, the show produced and released on various platforms, the next guest scheduled and so on. There’s simply too much work to do, and they were doing a weekly show. So, I took it to another level and chose to do a daily show.
Most people who are ultra-successful in the syndication business had to make big sacrifices. I liken them to a Navy SEAL’s commitment. Navy SEALs are intensely committed to their mission. There must be no hesitation as it could cost other people their lives. They jump out of the back of an airplane, their lives held by a parachute on their back, freefalling down to this large body of water. It’s an audacious, death-defying level of commitment. I spent a year in Iraq in the military and have personally witnessed the same level of commitment and discipline needed to carry out a mission.
I want you to think about that in your business. Do you have that level of commitment? That’s what it has taken for me. That bold and daring level of commitment to get started in the syndication business and ultimately be successful in making this business happen. If you don’t, it’s just not going to work.
Launch Your Thought Leadership Platform
Thought leadership is a marketing approach that establishes you as a leader, an expert in your field whom your audience trusts as being competent and credible. Your goal is to express ideas that show you have expertise in a particular field or industry. A platform, online or offline, enables you to do that.
An online platform could be a blog, a YouTube channel, or a podcast while offline platforms include hosting meet-up events, book publishing, public speaking. There are different avenues of creating a thought leadership platform. Find the ones that you’re most comfortable with. If you are terrified of having a podcast and speaking in front of people, you could start with a blog. What’s important is to develop your niche before you develop your thought leadership platform. Who is your audience? Who are you going to be speaking to? What topics would they want to hear?
My own thought leadership platform, the Real Estate Syndication Show daily podcast has helped me to brand quickly. As a thought leader, I was there to answer my listeners’ questions, help them find valuable insights from the resource persons we have on the show. It is about getting my voice out there for people to know who I am, learn my why, recognize my brand and put their trust in my business.
So, commit and get started with your platform now. Start small. Remember: 1,000 true followers are so much more valuable than having 10,000 followers that don’t even know who you are. Value the 1,000 who know and trust and like you. They’re going to follow you. They’re going to watch your every show. They’re going to listen to every podcast episode. They’re going to buy your book as soon as you put it out. They’re going to be at your events. Ultimately, those could be your investors and partners in business.
Get Ready To Build Your Team
I always get asked how I’m able to do the seemingly impossible work of a daily podcast. I tell them — it’s all about the team. When I chose to do a daily show, I knew from the beginning that I could not produce them by myself. I’ve even had doubts and hesitation but it’s really a blessing that my mentor then advised me to build a system. Build a team and you can do it, my mentor said. So, I did.
I brought together people to do tasks crucial in the production of our shows. I created the team even before we launched the daily podcast and had 60 shows recorded by the time the first show was released. That way, when somebody on the team had a problem or we got behind, we didn’t miss a day. I allowed time for our team to improve, expecting that there are going to be problems. We’ve improved and we’ve grown in the last three years having completed over a thousand shows with more in the pipeline. I’ll mention again that it takes an exceedingly high level of commitment to do that many shows, to stay focused, to ask good questions, to be involved just so I can bring the most value to my listeners.
So, how do you start your podcast or your thought leadership platform? Hire key staff, get support from your team, and get your system running.
Keep A Trusted Mentor By Your Side
The value of having a mentor in any industry can never be overemphasized much less in the real estate setting. So, where was my mentor in this journey of scaling my business through branding? In every step of the way, I’d say.
You know that mentors give encouragement and help keep us going when things get challenging. They can look at us and tell us where we need to improve where we often cannot. Mentors are going to help us avoid the naysayers. They are our sounding boards with whom we can bounce off ideas and ask for honest opinions. So, yes, it is important to keep a mentor within reach as you work toward your goal. It eases your load knowing that there is someone you can trust and who has your best interests in mind.
Don’t overcomplicate it. Ultimately, there’s only one step to take – your first one. If you sit back, before you know it, three months have gone by, six months have gone by, and you haven’t done anything. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. So, lay it out, get it started, and you’ll see, it’s going to get better.
I get calls every week about developing a podcast or questions from people wanting to start a podcast. Yes, I’m happy to help. We’re also helping a few select people brand themselves and grow their platform as we have. If you’re interested in that, we’ll be happy to talk to you. You can email info@lifebridgecapital and reach out, and we’ll schedule a call.