I’ve been in business for 21 years and there are things that I learned the hard way and some that came very easy from watching others before me. Here I will share some of the most valuable tips I’ve learned through the years on Brand Building especially for Black businesses and talent that I’m confident will help you. Click “NEXT” for next segment.
Know your Value
I could literally stop with this one segment. This is the MOST important thing because people will constantly challenge you on it. If you don’t know your value, others WILL determine it for you and it will always be much LESS than you are worth. When someone calls YOU for your services, YOU are in the driver’s seat NOT THEM. You can certainly assist them and help them with whatever it is they are trying to achieve but ALWAYS put your brand FIRST. NEVER let anyone put your brand down or tell you that you don’t have value. People with a welfare or slave mentality will do this when you are not giving them what they want and/or they can’t control you but keep in mind THEY are calling YOU.
Know that you have worked hard for what you have (if you have actually worked hard for what you have) and operate in that vain at all times, you bring value to your industry and people want to be associated with that or reap the benefit of it, treat your brand with that level of success.
I have walked away from money and have no problem saying no because I know that I work hard, I know I have the best stats and I know my value. When a potential client says, “I don’t have much money” I lose interest in the conversation. What that means is they KNOW I have great value but they want me to give them a break (usually a HUGE break) on the price. I have a disdain for the “Hook a Brotha Up” mentality. It’s a WELFARE mentality. Provide great services and set your prices and stop being a welfare agency. Potential clients will say things like “I’m trying to help you!” No they’re not, they are trying to help THEMSELVES to your hard work and get a huge break in the process. If you take on a client who disrespects your brand, they WILL tell other people who will expect the same breaks. Then you are selling your brand short and it will affect the esteem of your business and you will never grow. You are basically married to your brand. Would you treat your partner like sh or be with someone who you don’t value or who doesn’t value you? Don’t answer that!
By writing this very story, I am giving back. I don’t have a problem sharing certain things with my readers because I get something out of it, knowing that I could be helping someone build a business or a brand and that they can save a lot of time, money and effort. I also know that when you give something back it comes back tenfold. I’m not doing this for that reason. I genuinely love helping people but I have learned HOW to do it in a way that doesn’t drain me. (See “Allocate your Time Wisely).
People approach me all the time with ways to use my brand to benefit THEM and THEM only. I get stories with dated artists who are trying to sell an independent album, I get publicity people who send me a press release on a new artist they are promoting but that same artist is spending money on advertising with other brands or I get stories that my audience is not interested in but the person sending it to me will get paid if I run it. Don’t whore your brand out to publicity pimps even for people you have known for years. When you promote crap your audience knows it and it could seriously affect your reach. Find a way to create compelling content that your audience could actually use. Ask yourself “What’s the benefit to my BRAND” before attaching something to it.
Of all people, Donald Trump said a mouthful when he once said, if you have a business and you don’t bring the goods you won’t have a business for long. He may not be the best candidate for president but he IS a good businessman and he’s right. There is no half stepping.
Allocate Your Time Wisely
I used to spend time counseling people in the industry, reviewing their brands for them and talking on the phone to them for hours about ways to grow. WTF was I thinking? That bites into my personal time with my friends, family and loved ones. I was giving out FREE consultations that I should have been charging for. As long as people have easy access to you, they WILL ask you for any and everything. I hate it when people give out my personal cell number without asking me first. This is why many successful business people have buffers. People would give out my cell number and I would get calls from people I didn’t know who would want me advise them about their brands treating me like I was a friend of theirs and they knew me. I foolishly did it for a while until I realized when I needed them for something they would not come through or have excuses, so I stopped that altogether. In addition, when I asked THEM for something they would not return my calls (lol) so I had the added benefit of getting rid of them.
Part of knowing MY value is, if I’m going to consult a business, after 21 years of running my own business, I need to be paid and I’d rather consult a GROUP of people than do the one on one’s. I had to understand that as much as I love the radio and music industry, a majority of these people are not my friends, it’s a business and all I owe them is a quality brand. The only people qualified to get my most valuable time are my clients and ironically, they require the LEAST of it. They see your value and they pay you (what you deserve or need) for it and it’s a win/win situation. They don’t have to discuss your prices or get a presentation from you, they KNOW who you are and what you bring to the table and they support you. THOSE are the kinds of people who you want more of.
Reach out to those who support you
Many times, you are under the impression, especially on the black side, that people are not aware of what you do because we don’t often respond to anything . I have had people come up to me when I’m on the road and quote verbatim things that I have written and that I have completely forgotten about. It freaks me out at times how some people cling to your every word. You can do your own digital research but I find in our community it’s best to hit the streets. You get MUCH more information about how and what you are doing that way.
Limit Other’s Access to You
If it’s not just for the sake of being able to spend your time wisely, people respect enigmas. Also, you can create much more in your free space. When people have easy assess to you like your phone number, they don’t respect you as much and treat you as an equal. That may sound arrogant but I don’t mean it in the way, what I am saying relates to allocating your time wisely. You can spend all day and night on the phone with people and lose your ability to connect with your entire audience. Spend your personal time with people you love and who genuinly love you, who educate you or help you grow, not people who borrow or steal your energy. I have found that you can try to help some people until you are blue in the face but they will never use the advice that you give them and you could have used that energy in a more positive way. Reach the masses with your branding not with your personal time.
Know That you Can’t Please Everybody
I have had people tell me they don’t like me because I have not given them press in RFFocus . I find that to be incredibly strange. Have you SUBMITTED anything to me to write about? I’m working with over 500 stations nationwide and the people I write about most SUBMIT things to me. There is no way that I can, as one person, be on top of everything that happens in radio and music.
Surround Yourself with Forward and Progressive Thinkers
I have a great level of disrespect for people who can’t move past who they WERE. You see it on FaceBook ALL THE TIME and I find it incredibly annoying. When people can’t move past yesterday they are admitting they have no future, goals or dreams. When you stop dreaming, you stop LIVING. If your life is over at 50 than so be it but I feel like we can educate and build every single day. I LOVE working and growing and dreaming so I have to ignore people who can’t move past yesterday for the most part. I find them to be incredibly negative.