The end of December is always a magical time. Gifts have been wrapped, exchanged, and opened with delight. Extravagant feasts have been prepared and enjoyed. Guests have been welcomed with love and are slowly trickling back to their own homes. Everything slows down, even if it’s just for a handful of days, and the rush of the holiday season settles into a warm and comfortable time of rest and reflection.
The end of the year feels like a natural time to reflect on our accomplishments and plan our next steps. As business owners, our list of goals can be both inspiring and a little bit daunting. Having brand clarity can help you make sense of all the things you want to do and decide on the steps you should take to get there. A clear idea of what your brand stands for will help you make sure the decisions you make about your business align with the path you want to be on. Here are the four steps I use to lead my clients to brand clarity:
1. Discover yourself.
Sometimes, the hardest question to answer is, “What do you do?” You can’t move to the bigger questions without having this one down first, so take some time to really think about it and get your elevator pitch down. Then, ask yourself, “Why does it matter?” Why is your work important? Why did you start your business doing this particular thing? What change are you trying to bring to the world?
2. Discover who you serve.
A lot of businesses make the mistake of saying their ideal client is everyone. It can be scary to limit yourself and decide on just a few (or even one!) ideal clients, but your business will thrive if you focus on serving the right people. So think about the clients you love to work with. What are they like? What is it about them that energizes you for your work? And how can you best help them?
3. Discover your neighbors.
Figure out what makes you stand apart from your competitors, but don’t stop there. You’ll gain even more insight by also thinking about who you want to fit in with. What businesses do you want your ideal clients to associate you with? Who should also come to mind when they think of you? Just like people need community, businesses need a tribe to fit in and engage with. We all need each other because we work better together. Who do you want on your team?
4. Discover your goals.
It’s time to return to the daydreamy end-of-the-year feeling and focus on what you want to accomplish. It’s easiest to start really broad and define what your ideal life would look like. Then, what steps can you take in the next year to move closer to that? What steps can you take in the next five years? Whenever you’re thinking about these aspirations, consider whether they fit in with the other three steps. Do they align with the purpose of your business? Do they help the people you want to serve? Do they differentiate you from the competition and align you with your tribe? If a goal doesn’t align, think about whether it’s really worth pursuing.
What goals are you planning to work toward this new year? Let’s get out there and make things happen!