Category: Getting Started

A big BIG mistake I see when it comes to branding, is businesses thinking that once they have a logo they are all set. But, in truth, branding is so much more than a logo. In fact, a logo is the last piece of the branding puzzle, and with a strong brand, many businesses could get by without one.

 

 

A brand is your business’s personality. It is who your business IS. How others – including your potential customers and customers themselves – see you and relate to you. A brand is something that shows up in everything you do – from your packaging to your website to your tone of “voice” in emails and social media to the types of visuals and photos you use. A brand is all encompassing.

 

And, importantly, your business’s brand – its personality – isn’t always YOUR personality. It can often be a challenge for an entrepreneur – especially when they ARE the whole business – to separate themselves from their business brand.

 

A common mistake entrepreneurs make is to assume their tone, their favourite colours, and their personal style choices and to give those to their brand.

 

A better way to look at it is that your business brand may – and likely does – have ELEMENTS of YOU. Elements that are suited for what you want to put forward for your business and what you want the world to see. Also, elements that are suited for the type of business you run and the customer you want.

 

Let’s look at some of the building blocks of building a killer brand.

One: Think of your Audience

While your brand is a reflection of YOUR business personality and self, it also needs to be one that speaks to your AUDIENCE. After all, your audience is who you want to speak to! Your audience is who you want to build a relationship with, evoke feelings in, and who you want to be engaged with your brand. When selecting images, think about ones that would appeal to your audience. What would grab their attention? What would they find meaningful and interesting?

 

Two: Brand colours

Your colour palette is a key part of expressing your brand’s personality to your audience.

 

Colours offer a lot of opportunity for customization but also the potential to be used incorrectly. Mistakes often made include using too many colours, using colour combinations that don’t go together, or using colours that don’t fit your brand.

 

We often have the temptation to use colours we like without much thought as to whether they are the right colours for our business or brand. The RIGHT colours are key in sending the right message about your business to your audience. Beyond what looks GOOD and NOT GOOD together, different colours and fonts say different things about your brand.

 

From a colour palette standpoint, ask yourself what your colour choice is saying about your brand, and whether that is what you want to be saying.

 

Three: Selecting the right fonts

Much like your colours, your font choice will say a lot about your brand. When choosing fonts, it is helpful to ask yourself if your fonts will appeal to your audience and whether they’re a good fit for your brand and business.

 

Because there are SO MANY fonts out there, finding the right one can be more challenging than finding the right colours. Understanding the traits or personality you want your brand to put forward will help you pick the right fonts. Is your brand modern or traditional? Is it bold and loud or gentle and harmonious? These are questions to ask when thinking about what font would best express your brand.

 

Four: Consistency

Branding is all about consistency. Once you have an established what your brand looks like and what its personality is, you want to make sure you stick to it. When you design content for social media, flyers for your business, and even your website, use the colour palette and fonts to guide the design. When writing for your blog or website or social media, make sure the voice reflects your brand’s voice. When put together, all your business collateral – or marketing pieces – will help to establish and show your brand to the world.


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So, you’re ready to take your side hustle or your passion full time and you’re trying to figure out how exactly it’s going to make you money. Or maybe you’re currently running a business and are looking to explore new income streams to boost your profit.

 

When it comes to building a profitable business, deciding what you’re selling is a key piece of the puzzle.

 

There are so many ways to turn your passions and skill into a business offering.

 

Today we’re talking all about finding the right business idea for you. This might be a product or a service or a way that you deliver your expertise.

 

Female entrepreneurs figuring out what business to start

 

For an example, a fitness coach could do individual sessions, group programs, or multi-session one-on-one packages to name three options. All three of those are different ways to package and sell their skills. They could focus on new moms looking to get fit again or specialize in runners who want to prevent injuries and up their game. Those are two very different businesses and offerings.

 

If you’re selling hand-crafted pottery, you could sell wholesale through stores, online to individuals, hold your own pop-up shops, or sell at craft fairs. You could sell a particular style or really focus on mugs or tea pots or jewellery. Or maybe you might even want to explore hosting DIY pottery events.

 

So, upside - There are so many options. Downside – all the options can be a bit overwhelming and knowing exactly where to focus your efforts can be a challenge. We can find ourselves splitting our time and trying to do all the things at once, which generally just leads to not doing any one thing really well.

 

Our brand stands out when we’re really good at one thing. When we have a specific signature style or service or special way we do something. That’s when people take notice.

 

Not nailing down our business offering can also mean that we might find ourselves pursuing a business model or style that isn’t a good fit for us and that leaves us feeling unfulfilled or burnt out.

 

You want to create a business offering that will be something you enjoy doing and that fits with what you want out of your business and in a way that will make you the most profit.

 

The goal is to be profitable while also being sustainable – after all, profit is not that great if you hate every minute of making it.

 

There are a few ways to help uncover the perfect business product or service or package for you and your dream customer. I’m going to share one way to do so in this post.

 

We’re going to cover three key things to consider when trying to come up with your business offering. What we’re looking for is where these three things come together. So, where the overlap is.

 

If you’re testing some ideas you’re kicking around, then the same thing – you want it to be a checkmark in all three boxes.

 

Is there a market for it?

This is where our audience research comes in handy – does our dream customer want/need what we’re selling? Does it solve a problem/pain point they are having? Does it make their life better or easier or happier?

 

Is there a business fit for you?

Will you enjoy doing this day in and day out? Will it help you achieve what success means and looks like to you? Will it allow you to live the lifestyle you want?

 

Is there profit to be had?

When you look at the hard costs and the time costs – so the amount of time you need to put in – is it the most profitable thing you could offer? The most profitable way you can package your skills and passions and put them up for sale. This is where you need to really evaluate costs and how much time things will take you. You don’t have to be 100% here but you need to have a good idea. So, make some calls or send some emails to get some costs where needed and really think through how long things will take – and add at least 10% to that. The time part is really interesting and important because time is our truly limited resource. We could theoretically get more money, but we can’t magic up more time in our lives or our day.

 

 

If you’re still trying to figure out some business ideas for your skills and passion and don’t have any yet, add the word “where” in front of the first question.

So: where is there a market? Where is there a business fit? Where is there profit?

 

If you’re testing a few ideas, run each one through these questions and one will likely emerge as the winner.

 

You might have a lot of ideas that do very well in one or two of the areas, but that don’t do great in all three. To be profitable and sustainable, you need to find the magic that happens when you have a “yes” to all three questions.


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So many people are starting a freelance business or side hustle of some sort these days, and we get questions almost weekly about how to set a business up, what steps to follow, and what things you need to know. Over the last week alone, we've gone over the basics with three people! So, we thought - it's time to dish the details. 

 

This isn't a post about knowing your audience, marketing to the right people, or putting together an operations budget - more on those details later. This is a post about the legal and logistical things you need to consider and do in order to have a real, live business. What will your business name be? Should you incorporate? Do you need insurance? What is GST? How will people pay you? 

 

There's a lot to consider but we have you covered. Whether you are launching the next big thing or setting up a small side hustle, the answers to your questions and the things you need to consider are in this guide. Download the SMRT Women Quick Start Guide for our basic primer on how to get started.

 

Caveat - we live in Whitehorse, Yukon so the steps that follow are relevant to our City. However, the basic steps apply anywhere in Canada. I recommend speaking with your local chamber of commerce or City permitting office to make sure you've crossed all of your "T"s and dotted all of your "i"s.  This article is not a substitute for legal or financial advice. Please make sure you talk to a lawyer or accountant and talk to Government of Canada, your provincial/territorial business and your local municipal government as needed to make sure you have followed all the appropriate steps.

 

SMRT POP UPS and SMRT WOMEN makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article and we will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or losses, damages or injuries, arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The user must verify their own facts.

 

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Networking serves such an important role in our business because it’s all about relationship building. Whether you are connecting with potential clients, mentors and business besties, or partners networking is a great way to meet new people and expand your business. But it can be daunting. Especially if you are introverted, don’t love big social events, or just feel awkward saying hi to new folks.

 

This week on the SMRT Women podcast we sit down with Patti Balsillie, a tourism, strategy, and engagement specialist. Patti has lived in the Yukon for over 30 years. She is the past Chair of the Arctic Inspiration Prize and currently sits on the boards of Destination Canada, Yukonstruct Society and Chief Isaac Companies. She is also a rock star networker so we brought her on to talk about how to networking well and how you can make it your friend - or at least your frenemy.

 

Check it all out below.

There are so many ways to network - pick one that fits your style

Networking can happen in so many different ways. You can go to a traditional mixer event, you can volunteer or serve on a board, you can connect with brands and people you love on social media, you can grab a coffee with someone you haven’t seen a while or want to get to know better- the bottom line is networking is about putting yourself in situations where you will meet new people. So pick a style that suits you best and run with it.

 

Go with a Goal

There’s nothing worse than heading to a networking event only to skulk in the corner all night, not talk to a single person, and then go home and mope about it. Ok - there’s a lot of things worse than that, but it still doesn’t make you feel good. Go with a goal in mind, a mission that you want to accomplish and you are much more likely to reach out of your bubble. Your mission may be to talk to three new people, learn something new, ask a question to some key people who you think will be at the event or even - dare i say it - have fun.

 

Bring a Buddy

Buddy system rules. Just make sure you don’t end up talking to each other all night instead of reaching out to new people. Use the fact that there is two of you to get brave and approach people. Try introducing each other so you don’t have to feel like you are self-promoting. Know each other’s goals and go for it.

 

Have an intro and an exit strategy

It’s totally ok to go with a few canned questions you want to try out on people - whether it’s talking about the latest community news, asking people their story, or discussing something that happened at the conference or event you are attending - go with a few questions in mind.

 

That being said, its very easy to get stuck in a convo that’s no clicking or going anywhere. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on. Have a canned exit strategy (I’m hungry, need to go to the washroom, see someone I know…) and get outta there.

 

Know how you can serve and what you are looking for

Relationships are built on exchange. Go ready to share your story and tell people how you are excited to serve, share advice or info that you have online in groups if it’s helpful, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and let people know what you need - people are happy to tell you how they can help.

 


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SMRT Women Podcast Ep. 02 Mindfulness in Business with Ruth Lera

 

This week we are excited to welcome Ruth Lera to the podcast to talk about mindfulness and meditation in business. Ruth is an energy healer, mindfulness facilitator, meditation teacher, instructor of energetic self-healing, writer and boreal forest loiterer. She is the author of Walking the Soul Path: An Energetic Guide to Being Human.

 

In this episode, we talk about the busy business brain. Untamed, our brain can stay focused on the fear,  spin us out, derail us, or stop us in our tracks. So many of us start our businesses with the goal of happiness, freedom, and living life on our own terms – the busy business brain can keep us feeling incompetent, not enough, and like we are always behind the eight ball.

 

So what can we do about it? How can we conquer those mind spirals so we can feel confidence and ease and pleasure in our business?

 

Take a listen to find out and see our hot tips below.

Accept the Journey  – Failure is a given
Our brain likes to get so focused on the what ifs. What if people don’t like what I am doing and send me hate-mail, what if I don’t make any sales, what if I fall flat on my face in front of everyone. Mindfulness forces us to accept that these things will happen, or are already happening – failure is a given, life’s ups and downs are a given. The goal of mindfulness is not to make life perfect, it’s to strengthen our brain’s ability to roll with the punches with ease and flow.

 

Practice makes perfect.

Did you know that only 11 hours of meditation will change your brain? That’s like less than an hour a month. Mindfulness can be used in two ways to train our brains. Informally we can ask ourselves the two core questions at any point in the day: while we are driving, cooking dinner, playing with the kids, writing our next blog post. We ask ourselves the question and redirect to create an immediate shift. But this practice gets amplified when we do a formal practice – sit and focus on your breath in silence for 5+ minutes. We fire what we wire, and formal practice rewires our brains.

 

Think of it as a workout. Formal practice is going to the gym to build strength, and informal practice is focusing on your glutes and squat when you go to pick up something heavy at home. You need both to build strength over time.

 

Self -Compassion is key

Finally, none of this works if we are beating ourselves up for not being a “good” meditator. The goal of meditation is not a quiet mind – it’s a mind that notices our thoughts and actively chooses if we want to focus on them or something else. When the little voice says “ I suck at this” we are wiring negative thoughts. Our goal is to practice neutral observation -” I had a thought” and leave the judgments at the door.

 

Mindfulness is simple, but not easy. Five minutes a day of sitting with your thoughts can change you and your business – so why not give it a shot.

 

Do you have a mindfulness practice you use in your business? How does it help you? Any tips you would recommend for folks starting out? Leave a comment on the Facebook page. We’d love to see you there.

 


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