I recently listened to an interview with David Avrin, author of the book, “It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You.” His message is pretty simple but powerful: the more your marketplace KNOWS your brand, the more sales and profits you’ll generate. I highly recommend his book since it contains a lot of good, common sense strategies for small business owners. Here are a few of the tips from David that I wanted to pass on to you and my other readers: You Can’t Control Your Brand: You can only INFLUENCE it. I actually thought this insight was very powerful. If you think about it, your ‘brand’ is formulated in the mind of your customer. It’s the feeling they get when they think of your company, product or service; but since the CUSTOMER generates the feeling, only they get to decide what that association is. To that end, your brand is the sum total of everything you do. For example, you eat at a restaurant where the food is outstanding but the bathrooms are dirty, the waiter is rude and they get your drink order wrong…twice. Unfortunately, the food may not be enough to get you to come back again. An Important Question You Should Know The Answer To: As business owners we spend YEARS perfecting our services, working on our operations and building our business – yet most of us only spend minutes thinking about what message we want to portray to the marketplace. During this interview, David posed the following idea: “What question do you want to be the answer to?” For us, it is… . Marketing Is Not A Department: Most people think marketing is just about web sites, brochures and postcards. Not so. Marketing should infiltrate every aspect of your business. To that end, make a list of every touch point you have with your customers and prospects and ask yourself, “Am I being INTENTIONAL about how we interact with our clients to make sure we are fulfilling our brand promise?” That would include often overlooked areas like how you answer the phone, or what you print on the invoices you send out. Being “Good” Is Not Good Enough…Anymore: With SO many choices, being “good” at what you do is no longer an advantage in the marketplace – it’s the entry point to doing business. Think of how many “good” restaurants you go to, or how many “good” stores you frequent. Chances are they deliver a satisfactory product or service, but not one that blows you away. In order to truly win the hearts (and wallets!) of our clients, we have to work on being outstanding.