Four Brand Pillars: What They Are and Why They Matter

The four brand pillars are mission, vision, guiding principles, and goals. A brand is so much more than a logo or a name. It’s the embodiment of everything your company represents. People think of your name when they hear it sets you apart from your competitors. This blog post will discuss each in detail and explain why they are essential for your business!

Mission

The mission of a brand is the reason it exists. This statement sums up what your company does, what you stand for, and why you are different from other companies in your industry. It’s also more than just words on paper; mission statements guide decision-making, help teams stay focused, and hold leaders accountable to their goals every day. To create a strong mission statement, you need to understand your company’s purpose and what motivates you to achieve it. This can be difficult to distill into one or two sentences, but it’s worth the effort!

Vision

A brand’s vision is its long-term goal. This is what you want to achieve in the future, and it should be something that inspires and motivates you. Vision statements are important because they provide a roadmap for your brand and help you decide where to allocate resources. They also help rally employees around a common goal and build excitement for the future. To create a strong vision statement, think about what your brand wants to achieve in the long term and what impact you want to make.

Guiding Principles

Guiding principles are the values of a brand. They shape how you make decisions, increase sales, interact with customers, and treat employees. Principles are important because they provide a foundation for your brand and help you build trust with your audience. To create strong principles, start thinking about what is important to you and your team. Then, distill those down into a few principles everyone can rally around.

Goals

Goals are the measurable objectives of a brand. They help you track progress and determine whether you are on track to achieve your vision. Goals are essential because they keep you focused on what’s important and help you decide where to allocate resources or decrease expenses. To create vital goals, start by thinking about what you want to achieve in the short term and then set measurable objectives to help you get there.

Do Solo-Entrepreneurs need to construct their four brand pillars?

Yes! All entrepreneurs, organizations, and committees would benefit from developing all four brand pillars. Mission, vision, principles, and goals are all crucial pieces of the puzzle and help you build a solid and successful brand. If you want to be successful, investing in all aspects of your organization, including your brand identity, is essential.

This is harder than it seems!

To distill your mission (purpose), vision, principles, and goals into a few sentences are pretty challenging! But let me share a secret. People believe that this work is logical when instead, it’s emotional. A business school teaches the what and the why. But the how is entirely personal to you.

Not a wordsmith? No worries! Once you develop your pillars, you can use visuals, colors, fonts, and descriptive words to inject some emotion into those few sentences. Your pillars are meant to inspire people, not inform them.

Enroll your Team or Mastermind Colleagues to help you.

Your team can help you create your four brand pillars. A group of people who understand and believe in your brand is integral to building a successful business. To develop strong pillars, start thinking about what is important to you and your team. Then, distill those down into a few guiding principles everyone can rally around. With the team, starting with guiding principles and goals is easier before diving into the mission and vision.

Are you still stuck? No worries! Mastermind colleagues can also help you develop your four brand pillars. Brainstorming with people who understand and believe in your expertise can be a great way to get ideas and feedback. It helps to have that one friend who celebrates your achievements. While you’re busy working (without stopping to acknowledge your accomplishments), this friend can pull you back and make you realize aspects of the value you bring to the table. Then, you can incorporate this into your brand.

Use a Mindfulness Approach

A guided visualization can be an excellent tool for understanding your brand. It can help you connect more meaningfully with your mission, vision, values, and goals. To create a guided visualization, start by thinking about what you want to achieve in the short term and then set measurable objectives to help you get there. Next, close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving those goals. Visualize what success looks like and feel the emotions that come with it. Finally, open your eyes and write down everything you saw and felt in your visualization. This will help you connect with your brand deeper and make it easier to achieve your goals.

In Conclusion

The four pillars of branding are essential for all entrepreneurs, organizations, and committees. As a solo entrepreneur, it’s hard to distill the mission (purpose), vision, principles, and goals into a few sentences. The secret is that this work isn’t logical but emotional. It’s up to you how you want your brand identity to be; however, getting help from your team is crucial. Please feel free to reach out to me for a free consultation. As a coach, I facilitate this brainstorming session, so you don’t have to. Together, we will use a mindfulness approach to understand your brand better. By using guided visualization, you can see what success looks like and feel the emotions that come with it, which will help you connect with your brand on a deeper level.

Financial Literacy affects your small business success

Financial Literacy is an essential skill that everyone should have. And small business owners need a particular skill set to run a profitable company. We’ll talk about the four pillars of small business financial literacy and how it’s not too late to learn. Then, I’ll share two strategies you can implement today to improve your company’s financial situation. Then, we’ll look closely at your relationship with money, spending habits, and how you can begin making smart money decisions.

Financial Literacy is an essential skill that everyone should have.

People tend not to feel confident when making money decisions because we weren’t taught proper financial Literacy growing up. This can lead to people making bad financial decisions that can harm their lives. Financial Literacy is critical because it teaches people how to manage their money in a way that will help them achieve their financial goals. When you understand financial concepts well, you can make informed decisions about your money and business.

small business owners need a particular skillset involved with running a profitable company

There are a few key financial concepts that small business owners should understand. These include budgeting, financial management, risk analysis, and cash flow vs. profit. By learning about these financial literacy concepts, business owners can use them to improve their financial situation and have a better chance of being financially successful.

Of course, there’s much more, but I like to center these as my core four priorities as a financial coach. When I ran my family’s company for seven years as the vice president, these were the four pillars I focused on the most.

Budgeting

Many small businesses make a typical financial mistake by not budgeting enough money to cover the cost of running it properly. This could result in debt or bankruptcy, damaging a company’s financial future. A financial coach can help business owners establish financial goals and create financial plans to achieve those goals.

Financial Management

Financial management can help business owners improve their financial situation by ensuring all of the financial aspects of the company are running smoothly and staying out of debt as they should be. Small businesses need to develop financial projections that include how much money will come into the company over time and how much money should go out.

Risk Analysis

Risk analysis is the financial analysis of assets used for a business. This economic assessment determines what financial risks a company may have associated with a particular financial asset and whether it’s necessary to take action to reduce the financial risk before things get out of hand. For example, financial risk can occur when you have too much debt on your financial statement.

Profit VS Cash Flow

Profit is a company’s earning power after all expenses have been paid before taxes are deducted. At the end of this financial period, you’ll have the final amount of money that your company earned during that financial period. Cash flow is the money that flows in and out of a company over time.

A small business prioritizes cash over profit is in trouble because they likely only have enough income to cover their expenses if they’re lucky. An example would be winning a contract where you bid lower than your cost. I’ve seen business owners do this to keep their employees happy and keep business going. However, this is a poor strategy because if you’re not earning a profit, you might as well not do the job and cut the prospective customer a bank check.

Is it too late?

Financial Literacy is critical when it comes to running a business. It would be best if you make informed financial decisions. Most of us were not taught financial literacy in school. However, if you’re willing to learn, you have a solid chance to turn your business around and make a profit.

Hire a bookkeeper

Hiring a great bookkeeper is one of the most important steps a small business can take regarding financial stability. A good bookkeeper can help keep your financial records in order, ensure all bills are paid on time, and help you stay organized and aware of your financial situation.

Analyze your money each month

Monthly financial statement analysis is essential because it allows you to track your company’s economic progress over time. This analysis can help you identify areas where your company can increase sales and make financial progress. You can find places where you need to make changes (cut expenses) to improve your financial situation. Additionally, a monthly financial statement analysis can help you identify potential financial risks your company may face.

Don’t be discouraged.

Small business owners create jobs, drive innovation, and boost growth. Financial Literacy is key to their success.

Please never get discouraged if you don’t have money management training. It’s not too late to learn. And once you get the hang of what to look for, how to take proactive steps, and how to react quickly, you might discover that this money work is fun.

Wait, you didn’t come out of the womb as an entrepreneur?

We might not have learned the importance of financial literacy in high school, but we have certainly overheard our parents and other adults moan and groan about money.

It was too expensive!

You can’t afford that!

What do you think I am? Am I made of money?

Ouch! Most people sidestep the whole subject of setting financial goals in life and business. In an upcoming article, I’ll mention situations where we struggle with money and how these struggles can show themselves in our work.

Please contact me if you’re looking for more information or want help implementing these concepts into your own life and business. You can also find my book My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finding & Making More Money on Amazon. You can apply for a complimentary consultation, and we’ll have a no-pressure conversation about what’s happening in your world. If you share your profit and loss sheet with me, I can quickly review it. This call can help determine if working together to improve your business makes sense.

What a Business Coach Needs to Have

An experienced business coach understands the challenges and struggles of running a small company best when they previously ran or led a small company. In this blog post, we will explore why experienced business coaches are typically expert entrepreneurs who can provide valuable insight and advice based on their incidents.

A Business Coach Needs Experience Working for a Small Business

I had the privilege of working for my family’s factory for about 17 years in my background. When my parents moved back to the Philippines, I ran it as the vice president from 2001 to 2008.

I started my own business (training-turned-coaching) in 2010. And for seven years, I had contracts with the State of Connecticut and the Small Business Administration. I had business coaching clients and taught companies about financial management and Lean office efficiency. What was surprising to me were all the stories I heard,

“What?! My coach never told me that.”

“Janet, my coach couldn’t specifically tell me how to make more money.”

“He (my coach) won’t read my financial statements with me.”

Is Strategic Planning Enough

Often, a strategic coach who has never run their own business or has authentic small business experience offers generic advice or solutions that may not apply to your business growth. They may also have trouble relating to the unique challenges you face daily. With this knowledge gap, I made sure to tell my clients, “Ask me anything. If I don’t know, I’ll say so.”

A Valuable Resource

As a federal and state government independent contractor, I took my personalized advice and most frequently asked questions and started writing articles throughout my seven years. Here, I’ll do my best to include links to the most popular questions.

Personalized Guidance for Administrators

First, let me address the office administrator’s questions.

The administrator is often overlooked when a coach comes from corporate or any other profession that doesn’t include running a company. Little does this corporate coach know; this person is the company’s heart. Administrators are business leaders too. The business suffers when they aren’t offered continual education, soft skills training, and updated resources.

Also, when this person is overworked or feels unappreciated, they are likely to leave. Here are some articles I wrote specifically for the administrator.

Championing the Admin

If not for the admin

It’s OK to say no.

Daily Self-Care Actions

And, here are some office-related how-to’s I wrote for the frustrated office administrator. You know who you are!

Daily Agenda

Work interruptions from the co-workers

Work interruptions from the boss

Pet Peeve: Random Stuff on your Desk

Follow-ups Attract More Clients

The business owner and administrator typically ask me about my follow-up procedure. They know they need to improve their follow-up system, but they’re unsure how. The first step is understanding why you should have a follow-up system in the first place.

Creating or improving your follow-up system can increase sales and support company growth. Here’s a link to my article that teaches you more about follow-up systems.

woman wearing pink top
Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

How a bookkeeper can achieve tremendous success

Depending on the size of the business, the office administrator is often the bookkeeper too. When you have one person combining this work, it is difficult for them to get the workload done. As a result, some tasks keep getting deprioritized. And the more “not-fun” the job, the more likely those tasks won’t get done.

One such task is doing the collect calls. This is one of the most-hated jobs a bookkeeper must do!

When making collect calls, you can do a few things to make the experience more favorable for you and the person on the other end of the line. For starters, try to remain upbeat during your conversation. This will help keep the other person’s spirits up, even if they cannot respond. Secondly, make sure you have the contact information of the person you’re calling in advance. This will help ensure that the call goes through smoothly and without delays. Finally, be prepared to answer any questions the other person may have about your collect call. Here’s a link to my article that teaches you more about collections.

Profitable Team Building

If you have a salesperson and a bookkeeper, make sure they frequently meet regarding new quotes and proposals. This is potentially the most profitable team in your business.

While we’re here in bookkeeping land, a business owner might employ a salesperson and a bookkeeper. I’ve witnessed countless times when the salesperson doesn’t connect with the bookkeeper. They aren’t reviewing their costing sheets with the bookkeeper to ensure the estimated costs are actual and updated. The bookkeeper knows the financials like the back of their hand. They are the highly experienced partner in this equation. Keep this in mind. The bookkeeper is a business leader. Successful businesses understand this.

Successful Entrepreneurs Say NO sometimes.

I’ve had so many frustrated clients complain to me about this. Plenty has asked me, “Janet, how do we decide not to compete for a big job?”

This is a question that comes up often for business owners, and the answer isn’t always straightforward. First, you’ll need to look at your business’ overall financial picture and cash flow. There often isn’t much of a margin for error regarding the bottom line. My article teaches you to decide if you should pass or go for it.

Now, let’s talk about competing for jobs. You must have a signed proposal and contract before starting work to protect yourself. It doesn’t matter how quickly the customer needs you to start. It’s up to them to speed up their signature process so you can get work scheduled.

This means you’ll need a great business lawyer.

Don’t opt out of hiring a business lawyer.

A business lawyer can help you with the many legal issues when owning and operating a business. This includes reviewing contracts, helping to establish LLCs or corporations, and representing your business in court if necessary. Successful companies make sure to have an operating agreement. If you have a business partner, make sure you flush out the details of the operational agreement ASAP to avoid unnecessary conflict.

When it comes to customers, you have to protect yourself because it’s your cash on the line. You may have to deal with non-paying customers and an expensive raw materials inventory. Who eats that cost? You do! The customer isn’t going to “get mad” at you for protecting yourself. Surprisingly, I’ve met many business owners afraid of “lawyering up.” Don’t be scared. This is what expert entrepreneurs do! Here’s my advice on how to find a great business lawyer.

Now that you have found a business lawyer, it’s time to build strong partnerships.

Personal Development with Others

It would be best if you always looked to collaborate with others to get ahead. This could mean collaborating with other businesses in your area, collaborating with other business owners on joint ventures, or collaborating with professionals like a talented business coach, accountant, and lawyer. I have a weekly mastermind, and I learn something new each week. I love it! With a team of trusted individuals, you can improve your leadership skills interpersonal skills, understand your core values, and even find an accountability partner. Here’s a link to my article that teaches you more about how to build strong partnerships.

Businesses Expand our Creativity

Through the years, I’ve coached countless start-up businesses where the owner had experience in his industry for 20+ years, and then he decided to go out independently. Talk about stress! It’s hard to navigate a new business when you’re not used to everything being on your shoulders.

Business Owners Need Flexibility

People have asked me, “Janet, what am I missing here?” I say you need to be more flexible! With time, successful business owners acquire the ability to be more creative when solving problems.

There are many things entrepreneurs need to be flexible about, but I think the most important is their mindset. They need to be open to change and new ideas and not get too attached to their original plan. Usually, business revenue doesn’t come from where you think it will come from. Scary, right?

Entrepreneurs also have to be flexible with their time. They often have to work long hours, and sometimes they have to do tasks that aren’t very glamorous. Plenty of times, business owners reach breaking point. When entrepreneurs hit this wall, we prioritize creating systems and installing Lean methods to cut waste.

Finally, entrepreneurs need to be flexible with their finances. This means being able to adjust their spending when necessary and not being afraid of risk. If they can stick to these three things, they’ll be successful no matter what industry.

Flexibility is a skill all people need to develop.

Corporate employees are not as flexible as those who have worked in a small company. They are used to having their job title and responsibilities clearly defined and may not be able to adapt quickly to changes. Suppose this sounds like you; give yourself some grace and some time. And, don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, watch how they do it and experiment with what works for you.

Those who have worked in small businesses know how to wear many hats and are more likely to be able to help clients achieve business success

Many Business Owners Get Distracted

I say this because I get distracted too. This is a normal part of the business world we need to tame. If you’re an entrepreneur in a highly stressful situation, you can be easily convinced to go for a solution that’s not quite right for what you need.

adult displeased businesswoman with papers in light modern office
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Is Sales the Problem

We may jump to a business coaching program focused on marketing strategies if sales are increasingly hard to attract. It seems like a reasonable jump but before you invest in a new signature program, check with your marketing manager to ensure you’re not losing out on a return on investment for your traditional marketing efforts.

Should you hire an executive business coach?

Again, this is a solution that you need to consider thoughtfully. To help you make this decision, please know that many great coaches are out there. However, I’d first recommend checking in with an experienced mentor. Your staff members have unique motivations and needs. A quick chat with your mentor can help you solve business problems and help motivate your staff.

So, you want to hire a business coach.

If this sounds like you, I’m excited for you! There are many benefits when it comes to hiring a business coach. To find a great coach, I would recommend companies first write down the business owner’s vision. The best business coaches know how to listen closely to your needs. Specifically, they would need to know how to save money on business expenses. Secondly, they would need to know how to increase sales and maximize your sales framework. And, if they can’t help you reach your vision, they either know how to find you resources or direct you to another coach who can. If you’d like to apply for a complimentary discovery call with me, please click here.

What kind of business coach do you need to hire?

Please know that life coaching is quite different than business coaching. An executive coach and a personal business coach can be great options. They can help you navigate many business problems regarding leadership and organization.

However, if you aim to build business growth within the next year or two, I highly recommend working with a certified financial business coach with experience running a business. My specialty as a certified financial business coach is working with established companies with two or more years in business. If this sounds like you, please click here to apply for a complimentary discovery call.

Self-Awareness is key

Be wary of the coach who says they’re the jack of all trades and they can coach anybody. Not so! A great business coach serves a narrow niche. For me, I love helping businesses grow financially. I love teaching small business owners the skills required to find and make more money in their business. We go beyond business goals because goals are such a blanket statement. I enjoy reviewing financials with my clients quite frequently. We do this to assure that the growth plans we execute are reality-based and give them a return on their investment when choosing to work with me.

Work with an Experienced Certified Financial Business Coach

Janet Johnson is an experienced financial business coach with over 26 years of experience leading and training small companies.

Sometimes the most unassuming questions can lead to the best improvements in a company. Without hard skills and experience helping clients, a coach may gloss over their client’s needs. A certified financial business coach with experience understands the ins and outs of a company. They know what it takes to make a profit, and they have experience working with limited resources. A financial business coach can help you grow your business without making the same mistakes they made when they were starting. Having someone who has been in your shoes is invaluable, especially when it comes to making money decisions.

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