5 things I learned in 2019 …
…for success in 2020…If you’re anything like me, you’ve been planning for the new year ahead. But in our rush to move forward, we can all be a bit guilty of not stopping and reflecting on the success we’ve achieved in our business, and what we’ve learned over the last 12 months.
So before the year is out, I’m asking you to take a moment. What did you achieve this year? The highs and lows? What did you learn? Write it all down! Now share it.
The real value in what you have learned or success you have had is in paying it forward…
I’ll kick off. Here are five key lessons for business success in 2020 that I learned this year:
1: Get – and stay – out of your comfort zone
In Autumn 2019 I graduated from the 10-month Dent Global KPI programme. The course multiplied my workload. It pushed me way beyond the realms of comfort many, many times (they don’t call it a business accelerator for nothing!). But I reasoned that if I didn’t follow the plan, it would be a massive waste of my money and everyone’s time.
For example, I really struggle with being on video. I am at heart a private person and my own worst critic, so I’ll confess to you that doing video makes me want to run and hide. I am tentatively embracing it, as they say it is the future. At least, each new video gets a little easier (or so I tell myself).
I’m also speaking at more events. Now I actually love speaking live (if you want me to speak at your event about all things brand and branding, get in touch!), but I know public speaking is one of those things that a lot of people fear. This year I have spoken at events including those for Shifts to Success, HSBC, the Westmont Enterprise Hub at the University of West London, the Travel Forward expo (for the travel industry, on brand loyalty) and various co-working spaces including The Workary, Launch 22, and WeWork.
So take a course, speak at an event, accept a new role…do something that scares you. The day you get comfortable and complacent is the day you stop innovating and growing. So make it part of your plan to get, and stay, out of your comfort zone in 2020.
2: Give as much free knowledge and value as you can
Don’t keep your expertise and knowledge to yourself or only for paying clients. A massive game-changer for me on the Dent course was the idea to give as much advice as you can to help others for free. Sharing what you know raises your profile, increases your reach, garners brand fans and people will trust you more…maybe even think of you when they are ready to spend.
You can share your expertise in blogs, videos, webinars, groups, talks or podcasts. Give, give, give and you will position yourself as an authority and thought leader in your field.
Partnerships can also expand your reach and influence. My partnership with Shifts to Success, as Brand Mentor continues. I’m really looking forward to 2020 and meeting the new cohorts. Since I started working with S/S I’ve helped name almost 20 of the delegates’ businesses so far (all for free, a ‘perk’ of being on the course), and they get discounted branding services too.
This year Westmont Enterprise Hub at the University of West London asked me to be a Business Mentor. I’m honoured to be able to pay it forward in 2020 and get the chance to inspire a new generation. (They have also kindly offered to host my book launch which is very exciting!)
3: Influence follows Assets
Dent is big on business owners investing time and money into assets so you can scale your business without you having to physically do everything yourself. So what did that mean in real terms for me?
- Brand guidelines. I know, the irony of a branding agency without these! But it was ‘all in my head’. Three years later, the rebrand and new brand guidelines meant others could also produce assets for the company – e.g. a slide deck, social media posts, notepads and a splash page for the book (more of that later). We formalised our brand values. This created so much clarity for everyone. It even made it easier to get rid of someone who didn’t align with our values and turn away business for the same reason.
- A brochure (download it here). We produce brochures for our clients all the time, so wasn’t that enough to showcase what we do?! Actually, no! The clarity I got for my business after producing our own brochure was incredible. Plus, in networking situations, people see us as more ‘together’ and professional when they hold something real and tangible. I suddenly ‘got’ the power of the brochure. And no, print is not dead.
- Our Brand Assets Health Check – a fun, free ‘scorecard’ quiz that will help business owners assess how their current branding is performing and where they might be able to make changes. Take the quiz here – I’d love to know your score!
- A slide deck that really demonstrates the importance of brand, branding, an understanding of my clients’ problems and how I can help them – hence having great content for my talks.
- Branded notepads, a gift for clients with a cheeky proclamation on the front.
- A splash-page to promote my book (www.letsgetvisiblebook.com)
- A book! I actually wrote a book! 42,000ish words! I’m a little bit in shock. Let’s Get Visible! is a summary of all things brand and branding, expertise gathered over my 25-year career. It promises to help business owners and entrepreneurs get brand clarity, stand out in their industry and supercharge their business growth. Writing the book also gave me immense clarity, not just on what I do and why, but how. It helped me structure what was intuitive experience into a replicable formula (the VISION process) that I can now teach to others. Clients also love that there is a structured process they can follow and get involved with.
4: You CAN’t DO IT ALONE
If you want to grow your business, and achieve success in 2020, resist the urge to try and do it all yourself. That way lies madness.
“There’s no such thing as a self-made millionaire”
OK, I’m nowhere near being a millionaire, but I’m often asked how on earth I found time to write the book, be all over social media, grow the business and be a mum and wife to my little family.
I laugh and say I don’t sleep much. It’s true. I know that’s not great for my health. My personal target was to get the book done before the end of this decade. That was writing AND designing it, so I needed to focus. Sleep got put on the back-burner and, for a couple of months at least, the number of clients I took on had to drop. It meant turning down quite a few socials as I couldn’t do wine + book + work + kids. (One upside: I lost weight!)
- Unwavering support from my wonderful husband, Andy, who basically took over looking after the kids and most household chores at the weekend after I’d let them slide in the week.
- Amazing help and support from my team, who picked up the slack where they could (and thanks to Jade for my social media presence!) as well as my designers, Sara and Sam.
- I learned that I need someone to make a promise to and not let down. So I joined publishing maven Lucy McCarraher’s ABOO Circle. A call to arms for women business owners to step up and even the stakes, share their knowledge and get published. In the business book world figures are currently 70/30 for male/female authors. Joining the ABOO Challenge was yet another investment, but I treated the spend as a ‘bet’ with myself. I painted myself a vivid mental image of throwing that money down the drain if I failed to write the book. Lucy was one of the most awesome coaches I’ve ever worked with. When I was deep in self-doubt, and at my lowest, in tears, thinking I couldn’t do this, she was there with words of encouragement. She was there to talk sense, kick my arse and drag me out of self-doubt whenever that demon reared its ugly head*. Firm but somehow nurturing at the same time. Lucy, and my fellow cohort members on the ABOO group and the team at Rethink Press (her publishing company) – thank you SO much for your words of encouragement, advice and help. (*And writing a book does all of that, believe me!)
5. You gotta be in it to win it
This year I was thrilled to win the Women in Business 2019 Rising Star Award. Despite me not knowing the results until about a minute before this pic was taken, it was an amazing night and awesome to celebrate (even being shortlisted) with my team.
I’d won awards in my corporate life but I had always either been entered by my company or nominated by a colleague or client.
I’d not won anything in my four years of owning my business. So what was my secret for success that made this time different?
That was it!
So put your fears aside and whatever it is you want to achieve – you just have to get in it to win it!
Before we sign off, I wanted to thank all our customers who have supported us this year – thanks to your support, we managed to gift, on your behalf, 32 meals and 10 beds for homeless people on Christmas night with CRISIS and Centrepoint
Wishing you a Merry Christmas, plus health, happiness and every success for 2020 and beyond…
Sapna Pieroux’s book Let’s Get Visible! shows you how to get brand clarity, stand out in your industry and supercharge your business growth. Get a free sample at www.letsgetvisiblebook.com
If you need help with your branding, book a free Brand Clarity call with here and let’s see what we can do…