How often do you Google your name and company name to see what’s out there? Once a month? Once a week? Everyday?

Recently one of my clients had his account hacked, and we spent two days trying to clear it up. Well, not really, the tech team spent two days clearing it up. It just so happens that the hacker accessed his website and added two files that were loaded with viruses. We think they were there for about a week before they were noticed. Fortunately, Google noticed it when they were indexing the site and they put one of those big, blaring red labels that says “WARNING, THIS SITE MAY LOAD YOUR COMPUTER WITH A VIRUS” – Not good for a brand, eh?

The site was down for a day while we investigated and identified the files that were added, and went through line-by-line for the code on the other pages, and removed the malicious content. His site is now up and running again (oh, and I didn’t charge him for that either, another BE lifetime perk …)

The entire situation made me think a bit more though about what’s out there and what we need to be mindful of with our brand reputation and how we each are very vulnerable to technology, even when we use it powerfully to serve others. There are many services that will monitor your computer, servers and other business assets remotely, but if you aren’t yet ready for that level of support name sure you hop over to Google as often as you can and see what’s out there with your name on it. If you see anything malicious, respond immediately!

Have a Brandtastic day!

I haven’t checked email much lately. It seems my inbox has been inundated with special offers and sales and luring deals to get me to buy something that I don’t need from someone who’s “clearing their shelves” and doing a new year clean out.

I get it. Holidays are a good time to have a sale. People are in a spending mood. I’ll admit that I’ve even waited for the holiday season before making some purchases because I knew there would be a sale. BUT… as much as the holidays boost income at the end of the year, which is usually a slower time for most industries, what really keeps a business healthy is consistent sales.

A few weeks ago I had my monthly meeting with my book keeper and we reviewed our numbers. In a couple of weeks we’ll meet again to review the entire year, but one thing I’ve noticed over the year is that I do the same things over and over again to get that revenue in the door and to keep a steady stream of new people noticing me. Here are a few:

1) Online Engagement – Now for me there are a lot of things that I do, from a weekly newsletter to social media to guest interviews and teleclasses. The most consistent of these for me is the newsletter. It builds trust, and by having that newsletter go out every single week I have subscribers call me and say, “Hey, I’m ready to work with you and I want to get started tomorrow”

2) Live Events – I make it a point to attend live events every month but the real turnaround came when I started hosting my own live events. I initially started because I wanted to get a pulse on the business climate in a different area of my local community and it proved quite fruitful. Fabulous, actually. So now I do this more and more. I’m scheduling 6 live events next year, and may be expanding to do the same event across the U.S. I haven’t figured that part out yet, but I’m looking into it, so who knows, I may be hosting one in a city near you soon.

3) Availability – If you call me, you’ll probably reach me, but even if you don’t you’ll reach someone! I’m one of those people that gets a bit irritated when I call a new company and get an answering machine. I may call them back again in a couple of hours but that’s not always a guarantee. If I DO call back in a couple of hours and still don’t reach anyone, chances are I move on to the next provider on the list. I lose trust when I can’t reach someone, at least a receptionist, and not surprising, I’ve had sooooo many clients and prospective clients tell me “I can’t believe I can reach you on the phone”

My tips are simpler than you thought, aren’t they? Yep, it really can be that simple. Start with these tips, look at your business and figure out where your holes are in these three areas, and I know you’ll see an increased ROI as a result.

Any tips you can offer that have helped you with consistent revenue? Share them with me and others in the comments below.

I mentored Veronica into winning 1st Place at RTC’s Plan and Pitch!

Last week I had the privilege of volunteering with Rising Tide Capital, a great non-profit business building organization here in Jersey City. Last year they hosted a business pitch competition and I was the winner, walking away with $1,500 to use for my business. This year I was a volunteer helping Veronica Saunders to pitch her business and she tied for 1st place too!! I feel myself passing on a legacy of achievement and influence.

If we don’t make an impact in what we do, and only do it for the money, it really is a disservice to those around us. We should all leave a legacy. What’s yours?

Veronica’s business, Flowers 4 rent, creates beautiful floral arrangements for special occasions using silk flowers. Because the flowers aren’t live, she’s able to serve a community of people that have allergies, want flowers out of season, want to save costs or have last minute needs. The first time I wore her flowers I didn’t even know they weren’t real! That’s how great they look.

Veronica will be building her brand soon, and as she does I’ll be sure to let you know how you can connect with her. Have you ever used silk flowers for an event?

Have you ever had a thought that you believed was just brilliant, immediately followed by the thought that you are “probably not the only one that thought of it?”

This exact thing happened to me just a few minutes ago. As I was on the train with Darren thinking of ways to serve more people and give them a bigger BANG for their buck I thought of creating a brainstorming session… and just as I was thinking “brainstorm” I thought, oh, yes, BRANDSTORM!! That’s the ticket.

I hopped online super quick (I had to wait until the train arrived in the station because there is no wireless service underground, to see if anyone else ever had this same epiphany. Well, yes, they did. There’s a website, and well as many, many other companies involved in branding that use this term.

DARN!! Another one bites the dust. For a moment, I considered just going with it, because it’s a super cool name, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single time, do you? But upon further thought, I realized this just would not work. Another company had the insight and speed of execution (something I talk about in the Brand Excitement System) to coin this term. I love it. Love them. Wish them the best of success. Wish I thought of it way before today but I didn’t so it wasn’t meant for me.

Have you ever encountered the same? I imagine everyone has, and maybe it’s just not meant for you. So God is telling me to keep at it, move ahead, and wait to capture the original description. Can I still move forward with this service? yes, absolutely. Will it lose affect because of the name? No, not much. Will I be able to think of an equally amazing, original description? As Carrie Bradshaw would say “Abso-freakin-lutely!”

Stay tuned, and be sure to read the details of this program in tomorrow’s ezine 🙂

(so I’m dying to hear you share your million-dollar-already-taken ideas below, comments please)

Last night I guest host for Loren Fogelman’s Business Success radio program and my guest was Julye Augustine, founder of The Global Adventure Academy. On the show we discussed how she took her youth programs from an idea to international appeal with programs in 5 Countries.

Julye and I have been friends for years but it was still inspiring to hear her passion for this program and how she built the success from the ground up. Even though hers is a non-profit, she gave some great tips and insight that for-profit businesses can use when trying to expand. I even made her share some of her secrets with us and they will save us all a LOT of money!

To listen to her show, click the link below:

If your online marketing material conjures up an image in your mind that just doesn’t fit who you are, it’s time to reevaluate. It’s likely that you’ve been trying to model your approach after someone else and you haven’t given your peeps the benefit of knowing you, learning your approach, discovering your ideas or connecting with your personality.

So, what’s the solution?

The easiest (and most sustaining) one is to be yourself and let your personality show through. For instance, if you are writing a blog entry as the rain is strongly pounding at your window and it is “a bit chilly outside” share that. When you pull the curtain back your image will be your own, not one you have crafted that will change from day to day depending upon the influence of others.

Many people talk about branding online. The basic principles of branding are to decide on the reputation you wish to deliver and what message you want to drive home.
While some people could write a book on how to brand your business, there are really only a handful of factors to consider – your reputation, your mission and your promise. The purpose of a brand is to craft something that will stick in the minds of people and help them to remember your business.

Creating and building a strong brand does not mean you have to compromise your true personality. In the world of business, retaining your personality and your identity will take you far and help you stand out in branding your business. You’ll be much happier with the long-term effects of your business growth if you don’t try to be someone you are not. Be yourself and have fun.

Have you ever found yourself straying off of your authentic path? We all have. How’d you redirect and refocus? I’d love to hear your comments below:

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