How Your Money Story Impacts your Business Success

Did you know? By the time you are 7 1/2, your money story has already been imprinted on you. 

And it’s either fueling or hindering your business success. 

What is your money story? It’s your relationship with money. It’s how you view it as a tool or a weapon. As scarce or abundant. How well you budget, plan, save and invest. 

All formed when we were kids, watching our parents and those around us.  

As an entrepreneur (heck, as anyone who earns a paycheck), your relationship to money is the single greatest indicator of success and profitability.  

Your money story impacts your success more than how many clients you have, how much revenue you generate, your experience/awards/accolades, or…how good your brand and marketing are. 

Today, Certified Money Coach Debbie Page explains how and why to uncover and adapt your money story so you keep more of the money you make. 

If you don’t already know her, you’ll love her! Debbie is an internationally recognized and award-winning entrepreneur, business coach and advocate for women’s economic independence.  She is recognized as a leading authority on cash flow and profitability for women in business and guides women to keep more of the money they make.  

For over two decades Debbie has worked with women and money and has acquired, scaled and sold two businesses of her own. Her clients achieve stunning success with profitability because of her commitment to accountability, execution and the systems and processes that create sustainable and scalable businesses. 

Watch this lively video interview now if you want to be more profitable and keep more of the money you make! And gentlemen, this video is just as applicable for you, too. 

YouTube video

Highlights include: 

*“You could be doing all these things correctly – marketing plans, sales calls, touch point plan, etc. – and still have no money in the bank. It’s a really unhealthy place to be.” (3:40) 

*A phenomenal example of a client whose unhealthy relationship with money, formed in childhood, led to underpricing (5:15) 

*How the entrepreneurial mindset and the way we handle money in our personal lives is so intertwined. (10:07) 

*“As entrepreneurs we are not trained how to run our business; it will default to the relationship we have with money.” (12:30)  

*Why our money has energy – and how that impacts out ability to create mindful money practices in our personal and professional lives. (13:26) 

*How small shifts in your language can make a big impact (16:02) 

*The small and significant steps you can take to achieve your money goals (17:49) 

*How Debbie’s “zero balance” shocker years ago was her wakeup call and affected her success mindset from that point on. (21:13) 

*What’s your daily money mantra daily? Here’s Debbie’s. (24:09) 

*Why just a healthy money story is the start, but it’s still not enough – the first step you can take (27:11)  

Grab a pen and soak up all of the wisdom in this video. My fave takeaway? 

“All the wishing, dreaming & pretty vision boards isn’t gonna do anything. If I’m not working the hustle muscle, I’m never gonna get it. Marry MINDSET with EXECUTION” – Debbie Page. (TWEET THIS!)

Connect with Debbie Page and learn more about her services and coaching: 

What’s your brand position? 5 moves you can try

What do yoga, the Kama Sutra and brand strategy have in common?

It’s all about the right positioning. (Tweet it!)

When your brand finds the right position to attract the right target customer, it’s like star-crossed lovers meeting in the rain at the Eiffel Tower. It just works. There’s connection. There’s magic.

But what does “positioning” really mean? And how do you land on the right position for your brand? Positioning is not just about ensuring you speak to the right buying drivers of your ideal customer or client, but also about how you stack up against alternate choices.

Think about it in terms of brands you know: Does Porsche really position itself in the same category as a Volkswagen? Are they speaking to the same needs of the same target audience? Heck no. In a past post, I shared how brand analogies are a useful way of wrapping your arms around where your brand plays in the market.

Let’s discuss some broad-brush options – there are nuances to all of these. One is not “better” than the other, as there are markets and customers for everything. And you can offer a few of the same things, but what is going to be your Lead Offer? How do you primarily want the business to be positioned in prospects’ minds?

  1. PRICE: Price is a good choice if 1) you can achieve volume and 2) you are targeting an audience that cares about price as a buying driver. The fine jeweler Tiffany & Co. doesn’t position based on price, because that’s not why people buy from them. They buy from them because of elegance, cache, and luxury craftsmanship. Walmart, however, positions itself based on “lowest prices” because of their target customer and their volume and reach. Positioning based on low prices has its drawbacks: this strategy attracts the least loyal customers because if they find a lower price elsewhere, that’s where they will go. Someone can always undercut you, and it’s hard to defend long term. Plus, you may not attract the customer or clients you really want.  Competing on price has a tendency to “cheapen” your brand and perceived value. Some people may avoid you thinking your low price says something about the quality.
  2. QUALITY:  This positioning is not about price but about value. This message will resonate for people who are not as price sensitive but care about results, aesthetics, or craftsmanship. This position works if your products or services do indeed deliver the highest quality. If you tout high-quality products, they better last. If you are a life coach competing on quality, you’re going to have to have some strong testimonials and success stories to back up this claim. Price becomes a non-starter if you are leading with a quality position.
  3. EXCLUSIVITY: This position is about scarcity and limited access, as well as cache. It works if you offer a limited amount or only take on a certain type of customer or client, which can be can be perceived as higher value. Again, price is not an issue – and in fact if it’s too low, it could raise red flags.  A club with a expensive VIP wait list. A pricey seminar with limited spots. An event planner who only takes on four celebrity weddings a year. This strategy means you may well be targeting a very specific niche of client or customer – so your  customer list needs to reinforce this position. Many high-end designers or stylists employ this strategy. With this strategy, you are looking to attract people who want to be “in the know” and appealing to their sense of jealousy or aspiration. They are more attracted to you because it could be something they can’t have!
  4. SERVICE: Are you all about the customer experience? Do you respond within 8 hours? Do you offer a 100% money back guarantee? Do you customize your consulting offerings based on each client’s needs? Do you offer an amazing concierge service? How do you go above and beyond? Nordstrom combines a quality positioning with a strong customer-service component. So does Zappos. In my book, Branding Basics (2nd Edition) I included many case studies from small businesses that combine a quality position with one of dedicated customer service. Be careful, though, when combining low price and quality service: It’s fine to offer both – Walmart doesn’t necessarily want their employees to be rude to customers, right? But “best quality” and “lowest price” can often contradict each other and confuse two different buying drivers. Again, what is your “lead” position – who is your target market and which do they care about the most?
  5. PERSONALITY:  You can position based on your brand voice, look and feel. How do you you talk and act – and thus, WHO you are talking to? Are you the quirky, playful, whimsical one? The trusted, conservative one? The edgy, innovative one?  Again, choose wisely as the personality you position yourself around should map to the person you’re trying to attract and speak to their buying drivers.

Offshoots of a personality-based position include social good: positioning your business not as the best quality, or cheapest price or most exclusive but as the one that benefits a good cause. Tom’s Shoes positions themselves this way to appeal to a certain buyer who is driven to buy based on social responsibility.  They may not make the best quality shoes, or even talk about how much they charge. But they are leading with their social good message.

Another offshoot  is thought-leadership: is your business, founder or CEO a visionary or does the market look to your business as a bellweather? Think of Tony Hsieh (Shay) from Zappos talking about excellent customer service and “delivering happiness.” Steve Jobs and Apple. I once worked with an IT consultancy client. What they did was not unique but the CEO was an amazing man with an impressive military background and strong values. We combined a thought leadership strategy with a brand voice strategy to make his company stand out from the competition. This may not work for you in the short term or until you achieve scale and reach, but it is something to think about.

OK, great. You know you need a positioning strategy. How do you choose?

  1. First, take inventory of your strengths and attributes which are authentic to what you can consistently deliver.  It’s not the time to pretend to be something you know you can’t possibly deliver. What do you do well, or if you’re rebranding or launching, what will you do well?
  2. Now, identify those attributes that are most
    1. Relevant (does your target ideal customer care? Does it speak to how and why they buy?)
    2. Unique (none of your competitors are positioning this way or going after that particular buying driver. We call this “whitespace” in the market)
    3. Compelling (which ones will generate buzz and align with your company’s culture and personality?0)

Once you land on your position, you can communicate it through all your brand messaging, customer touchpoints and even look and feel.  Kismet. Connection. Ease.

Want guidance in determining your brand position, strengths and voice? Check out my self-paced digital course MOMENTUM Pro!

Photo credit: Bozdoz, Benjamin J. DeLong, Flickr

How is your brand positioned? To which target audience and buying drivers do you most appeal? Are you struggling to determine your position – maybe I can help? Please share below in the Comments!

Which wine would your brand be? (Feel free to sample a lot just to be sure)

If your brand were a vegetable, what would it be?

I know, sometimes brand strategy questions can seem esoteric and ridiculous. I mean, really, what the heck does asparagus tell me about how I can make smarter marketing decisions and attract more customers, sales and word of mouth?

But creating a brand analogy for ourselves can often help us make smarter decisions for our business. (Tweet!)

The only 2 questions on which I really ever probe clients in this vein are “If your brand were a person, place or fictional character, what would it be and why?” and “You are the (BLANK) of your industry” which usually ends up being something car-related. For example, we’re the “Porsche of our industry: fast, sexy and super expensive” or “We’re the Jetta of our industry: Fun, reliable, approachable and not too flashy.”

These exercises can really help you make sense of how your brand “stacks up” in a potential customer’s mind. As I talk about in my book, Branding Basics, you want to be intentional about where people slot you in their mental file drawers. Creating such analogies can help you wrap your head around determining the right tone, visual style and even brand voice for your efforts.

So here’s a fun Slice of Adventure for you today:

Given my love for all things wine, think about “Which wine would your brand be and why?”

Is your brand a peppery, spicy Zinfandel? Are you a crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc? A bold Cabernet Sauvignon that can take on any hearty dish or complex meat with ease? A more exotic, quirky and harder to find varietal: a gentler yet berry-filled Carménère? Or perhaps a complex, eclectic blend such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape?

Maybe your brand is a rustic and traditional Chianti. Or an effervescent, bubbly, and high-style Champagne!

And don’t forget winemaker brands, either: Are you a mass market Mondavi or Yellowtail or a more affluent Silver Oak? Perhaps you’re even an exclusive, rare, luxury Chateau Lafite.

If you have a good grasp on who you are in relation to your competition, you can make much smarter decisions about content, voice, pricing and visual style so you attract the right people with the right message at the right time.

Creating a “brand analogy” helps you walk, talk and look exactly how you want (Tweet this!)

So now it’s your turn: think about your brand voice, personality, style, target audience and price point and tell us in the Comments below, which wine are you?

Stuck in neutral? 4 ways to reboot your business and rekindle your fire

Ah, the first blushes of entrepreneurial love. The romance! The energy! But what happens when the passion fades and the reality of demanding customers/clients, overwhelming marketing options and painful tasks (QuickBooks, anyone?) creeps in? Suddenly, your business becomes a grind and you find yourself working harder for less reward, less return…and less joy. Your once appreciative and dreamy-eyed business starts angrily demanding more of your time and energy – but in return, rewards you with the wrong customers, a weak profit margin and just doesn’t take you salsa dancing or wine tasting anymore.

I’ve been where you are. I know what it feels like to have your business success lead you down the wrong path. How choices innocently pile up – each one seemingly rational – paving a perfect road to discontent.

So a few years ago, I took a step back. I sought the objective counsel of colleagues, a wise coach and a wondrous wordsmith and tweaked my business model and messaging – core brand elements. I started doing more of what I loved and ditched what wasn’t working. And you know what? My heart (and success) soared.

If your business (and heart) feel stuck in neutral, here are 4 ways to reboot  – and check out my big announcement at the end on how I can help…

  1. What do you hate doing? STOP IT! If your business offerings have kept piling on so you can simply cater to every single need under the sun, you need to take stock and simplify your business model. What activities bring you the most joy? Do you love teaching and strategic planning but hate detailed tactics? Then start doing more workshops or retainer projects  and don’t offer hourly project work. Do you love doing massage and energy work but hate giving facials? Then cut down your services list. This also translates into how you talk about yourself (i.e., maybe you’re no longer a “full-service spa” but a “body care studio”)
  2. Play with pricing or packaging to attract the right customers/clients: You may find that the people you are attracting pay little but demand a lot, offering little profit margin in the end. How about adding more value/quality to your offerings and increasing your prices to deter more budget-conscious folks and attract a more affluent market? Or offer a tiered set of products or services to give more cost-conscious folks a self-service option, while freeing up your time for deeper, higher-value work that you adore.
  3. Revisit your messaging: Take a good, hard look at your web copy, company descriptor or even job title. Are you saying you do everything for anybody? Are you too vague and not focused on clear, crisp benefits? Does it sound boring, even to you? This could either a) be attracting the wrong type of work or b) confusing the prospective people that you really want. Remember, when you try to create a brand that is all things to all people, you end up being nothing to no one. Detail out your ideal customer or client and only focus on content, services or products – and the appropriate messaging – to attract those people. Don’t worry about pleasing (or offending) anyone else but that target. Trust me, they’ll be fine without you.
  4. Audit your visual brand: OK, this one may require an investment to make some changes. Based on the people you really, really want to attract and the kind of work you really, really want to be doing, is your visual branding way off base? Do you need to modernize your colors, select bolder fonts or change out your imagery to better appeal to those people? I once consulted with someone trying to attract high-powered Alpha-male executives – and yet her website was all pastel colors and flowery script fonts. She was beating her head against the wall and wondering why those powerful male executives were not hiring her. She needed to update her look and feel to match her new offerings and target clients. Side benefit? Updating your visual look and feel might also get your heart racing with pride again about your business and give you a new opportunity for some word of mouth buzz.

With these tips, you can shift out of neutral and into overdrive again. In a good way, of course. Don’t drive yourself crazy. OK, I’ll stop with the driving metaphors….

Photo credit: Vincent O’Keeffe, Flickr

Has business boredom ever happened to you? What actions do you recommend to reignite your business – or your own personal passion? We’d love to hear so please leave a Comment below. Your wise words could help someone else!