Whitney A. White is CEO & founder of Afara Global and creator of the transformational coaching program, Take Back Your Time.
Many of us like to fantasize about achievements in the form of big moments. Play in the Super Bowl. Win an Oscar. Delivering a visionary TedTalk about your popular product launch.
What we don’t often think about are all the hours of turmoil, sacrifice, and work that are often required to achieve something great. Unfortunately, too often we put the cart before the horse, focusing on the image before going into the content of the company, the product or the audience itself. I know because I learned this lesson firsthand.
When I first launched my innovation company, Afara Global, I was focused on all the wrong things. I had a website, business cards and fonts all custom made for my brand.
You may be thinking, “Wait, aren’t those things necessary for a great company?” Maybe one day, but I didn’t have any clients yet. With no money coming into my business, all my branding materials were just for show.
So what are some ways you can make sure you put the business over the brand?
1. Focus on your ideal customer.
In the early stages of your business, it’s critical that you focus most of your energy on understanding your ideal customer. You need to understand the competitive landscape you operate in and what differentiates your solution from the other options your audience may be considering.
Before you start building the perfect website, branding materials, and social media strategy, build an in-depth understanding of your ideal customer’s needs and what they’re most willing to pay for. Otherwise, you are holding yourself back from taking action that will ultimately give you a better return on your investment.
2. Perfect your solution.
Go back to basics: what is the specific pain point you are trying to solve for your target audience? How can you reach your audience through imperfect action to build traction and close sales?
By shifting your focus to the actual operation of your business, you’ll see where time, energy, and resources are most needed to build a profitable business.
In my coaching business, I found that the initial investment of my time was best spent developing a highly effective curriculum and continuing to test and iterate until I felt confident in my product. Ensuring you have a high-quality product that truly addresses your ideal customer’s most pressing pain point is critical before branding material can come in handy.
3. Sell like crazy.
When it comes to my work with Afara Global and my coaching business, I see selling like crazy portion like a freak. I know the work I do impacts organizations and people’s lives, so I’m not afraid to introduce myself to those who could benefit.
I really started to see traction in my businesses when I made sure my personal and professional networks knew about my businesses and the pain points I was solving. I also started developing thought leadership to share through social media, blog posts, speaking engagements and workshops I hosted.
So take a break from designing the sleek website for your business and reach out to someone in your area who you know could benefit from what you offer. That is the real key to building your business.