What colour is your Font?

This is the title of a book by Sally Pearce who I coached nearly 10 years ago. The book is a business owner’s step by step guide to creating a great brand. Helping a new business to identify its niche and stand out from the crowd. I wish I had had this book 18 years ago when I set up my business. Instead, I have used it to review where I am now. Even if you aren’t setting up in business there are some good messages for your own personal branding too.

Your brand sets out who you are and will attract a certain kind of client. If your brand is an honest reflection of you and your offering, you will attract the right people. You will do business with people who want to buy from you and people you want to work with. The words I chose authenticity, trust, straightforward, clear and safe. What would you choose for your own branding?

If you present your brand honestly, you are more likely to find customers who want your offering and like the way you do business. It’s not just about the product, it’s the experience and how people feel at the end of the transaction. Happy customers tell others about their positive experiences and help you get new customers (as long as they are happy to talk about being coached in my case). Happy customers become repeat customers. I have definitely found this latter point to be relevant to my business over the years. This is why advocates are important. They do the heavy lifting on marketing for you – recommending you, talking about you, and boosting your online presence. It is easier to market your business if your message is clear and consistent, so your customers understand your business. This means you get great brand awareness, which eventually leads to sales.

I am now going to ask Judith, my social media expert, to look at my offering and get her thoughts on these points which will be great feedback for me to adapt to.

I find Neil very approachable; he has a talent for putting you at ease very quickly so that the conversation flows well. As well as being very open to new ideas and curious to learn, I like that he treats everyone as an individual – he isn’t trying to fit you into a box or category.

Your brand needs to accurately and consistently project the style of your business. If you see another business doing well, it can be tempting to copy its style. I have never worried about this as coaches vary so much with their offering and expertise. I recommend other coaches quite regularly when the client doesn’t fit what I do.

Some people are always going to want the cheapest price. Don’t worry about that. Instead, think about what is valuable about your offering and focus on that. I have always tried to make myself affordable but there is a danger of trying too hard and the less charged often the less value is perceived by the coachee. It can be a difficult balance.

It’s all very well to have a great idea, but will people be interested in what you are offering? I know when I started coaching, I was told by so many marketeers I need to have niches. It was only after about a year I fully realised what those niches are. Knowing why people buy gives you a good idea about what emotions you need to connect your branding. Also identifying who is going to be wasting your time and money, don’t go there!

Before thinking about how you want to present yourself to the world, you need to decide who your customers are and what they will expect from your business. I have different types including individuals (career and retirement), small businesses (mentoring), corporates (leadership and executive coaching) and supervision (coaches). All of these have different messaging which is probably the reason why I have had more success with some than others. With saying that I wouldn’t just want to be one type of coach; I would get easily bored. I like a challenge!

My biggest mistake was the name of my company NVW Solutions, it sounds like an IT company. I should have just been Neil Williams Coach. With saying that, part of the fun of building your own business is to make the odd mistake and move on from there.

Sally’s book includes customer and business profiles, finding customers, networking, social media, mission and vision statements, the psychology of colour and so much more. I strongly recommend you buy this book if you are setting up a new business. I think I have just become an advocate of Sally! Obviously if you need a mentor too, contact neil@nvwsolutions.co.uk

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