career management, Careers, entrepreneurs, Personal Branding, self employed

Staying Authentic and On Brand for the New Year

Mary Rosenbaum | December 17th, 2009

This is a great time of year to take stock and see if what you are doing is working for you and if it’s not, what needs to be done. For me what I do professionally is so much a part of who I am that my resolutions blend between the personal and the professional. So these are some of the beliefs I live by and the resolutions I am making so I can stay on track as a human being, a coach, a strategist, and an entrepreneur.

1. Create the life I want to live and make it happen.

2. Keep my plate full because the more I do, the more I can do.

3. Do the work I love. I know when I do work I love I am excited about it and that excitement is contagious and has a magnetic quality that brings people to me.

4. Work with people that appreciate my work and from whom I can learn to be better at what I do.

5. Always give clients 100% of what I can deliver and know that that is what they deserve.

6. Keep change a constant in my life by looking for new ways to grow and new things to learn so that I stay motivated and energized.

7. Be open and say yes to new possibilities, new alliances, and new relationships.

8. Never compromise my values even though sometimes it seems like it’s the easier way to go.

Happy Holidays to all my readers and let’s hope of a New Year that’s filled with health, promise, excitement, prosperity, and happiness.

Maintain Your Reputation – Grow Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | December 10th, 2009

Are you vigilant about maintaining your personal brand, your reputation?  It’s easy to become lax when you are established or feel that you have made a name for yourself in your field. This could be a costly mistake for your business and your career. Let’s take the example of Zagat’s or Michelin Guides. They come out every year and rate restaurants, resorts, hotels, and inns. The yearly review process ensures that these establishments keep on top of their game providing their customers with the same high level of service that earned them high reviews. With the advent of internet based guides that provide updated reviews daily the bar just keeps getting higher.

When was the last time you took a look at how you were doing with your customers, clients or bosses? How can you be sure that you are at the top of your game and earning the same or better reviews than in the past? Given the difficult economic environment we are in today this might be a great time to let your customers, clients and bosses know that you are looking to improve the service or job you do for them.

1. Ask for feedback.

Simply ask your clients or bosses for ways in which you can improve what you do for them. People are generally flattered when they are asked to provide input and impressed when that input is for their benefit. Ask questions that focus on the work product or service you delivered – it’s timeliness, benefit or value to them, what was great, what was missing, what they enjoyed about the experience, what they would like to see in the future, what if anything could be improved upon. I know I started this paragraph with the word simply. I know how hard it is for most people to accept constructive criticism or advice but the future health of your business or career is at stake so ask and learn.

2. Keep current and up to date in your field.

Always look for new methods, products, or technologies that would enhance the service you provide or the work you do and make sure to incorporate them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of the same old same old but adopting new methods make you more competitive and may even improve the work you do. Re-energizing the way you do things often reinvigorates your relationship to your customers, clients, and bosses.

3. Treat each project, customer, or client as if it’s the first time.

Whether this is an old client or a task you have completed many times before, treating it or them as if it’s the first time keeps your eyes and mind fresh and open to new ideas. Additionally, it’s easy to take old relationships for granted. Don’t. Everyone expects the best service or work you can provide so make sure you meet their expectations.

Use this time of year to make some assessments and make the changes you need to grow professionally. Carefully watch and maintain your brand reputation because once it is damaged recovery takes a long time.

Productivity Tips for the Entrepreneur

Mary Rosenbaum | December 9th, 2009

This has been a tough couple of years and for many of you who are self employed it has been very difficult to grow or even maintain your business.  So how do you stay productive and make the most use of your time? Here are a few recommendations that have worked for me and hopefully will work for you as well.

1. Stay on purpose

It’s really easy to get side tracked when you are thinking of ways to market your services. The best way to determine whether or not you should be spending time pursuing a new direction is to evaluate whether or not the action will get you the type of clients you want. For those of you who love basketball, the analogy I make is will this play get you to the basket? So whether it’s attending or speaking at a conference, making a lunch date with someone, or attending a networking event always keep in mind who you are trying to target and whether or not this will bring you closer to your desired group.

2. Stay true to your brand

I know when I first started out in business I thought I should take any client that came my way. This couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s not to say that you should turn business away that helps pay your bills. If, however, you are spending a great deal of time performing a service that doesn’t lead you in the direction you want to go you are hurting your business in the long run.  Take the example of a money manager who starts to take on work helping people file their tax forms. Although he may do a great job his reputation as a money manager is not helped by the work he is doing. In fact, the reputation he is developing is totally unrelated. Additionally, changing peoples’ perception of who you are and what you can deliver (your brand) can be very difficult.

3. Make a plan and stay with it

Create a plan that provides you with the necessary structure for growing your business. Although plans can change it’s important to have a 12 month plan for what you can do each month to get you closer to your goals. Whether it’s writing articles, speaking to groups, or just keeping up with your past clients and colleagues make sure you write it down and give yourself a time frame to complete each task. The more you put on the calendar and complete, the more your calendar will fill up – with appropriate targeted activities as well as clients.

So stay on purpose, stay true to your brand, and make that plan to move it forward.