BrandCraft 1: Why You Have to Build a Brand to Grow Your Business

You will never create anything big unless you make it a brand- whether a bank, musician, university, toilet paper, politician, search engine, fast food restaurant, Computer, soft drink, charitable organization, media house, clinic, law firm, athlete, church, etc.If this is a fact why do so many entrepreneurs and SME Business owners work so hard to grow their business without trying to make them brands? They invest time, money and effort to develop innovative and quality products, systems, hiring the best sales people, selecting the hottest business names, tag lines, company colours and creating logos.But is this not what brand building is all about? Yes and No.Yes because this is the first half of building a brand and a big NO because this is the smaller half. In a three step brand development continuum where the lowest level is a commodity, second step a label and the highest a brand when you have the best you can achieve with all these efforts is a label.A commodity is an undifferentiated product, service or company. A label is one has identity that is differentiates it from others businesses or product offerings of same kind. But a brand has emotional and psychological connection with a sizable market segment. There is a form of love relationship between the brand and its target customers.Every human being by the mare fact that he has unique finger prints, name, DNA, mannerisms and behaviour is a label. He has an identity. He is different from other men. But Nelson Mandela, Barrack Obama, Billy Graham, Michael Jordan are brands. As long as you define your uniqueness using the physical and biological characteristics you will always be a label. You may be a brand but only to a few. That also applies to businesses.Many entrepreneurs and business owners are working very hard to build labels. They want to bake the sweetest cake, sell the highest quality of furniture, be the consultant with the most tools, be the best doctor in town etc. They talk in terms of lowest price, best quality, good location, fast service etc. They wonder why their business doesn’t grow and hope that by working harder things will be different. The sad truth is that unless and until they are able to make their business brands they will remain small.They need to come to the realization that the vehicle that will carry their businesses to growth is making brands of their products and businesses.Building brands has many advantages to a business but I want to focus only the ones that play the biggest role in driving revenue and profit growth.1. Help Create a Monopoly for your Business: Everyday there are many businesses started and products rolled out in the market with the aim of offering the customer variety of choice. In essence the market is out there for everyone to fight it out to for. Fighting out to be seen, considered and be bought. With a label you have to keep on trying many things to achieve one or more of these objectives.The market forces are always seeking to push any product or company to the lowest level of a brand continuum – a commodity. They push brands to labels and labels to commodities. That is why some brands of yesterday are just labels.Whatever business you are in, you should know it is easier to multiply your profits and revenues if you are a brand rather than a commodity or label. You should therefore look for a way to deal with the market forces that want to push you down. You could either ask the government to declare you as a monopoly or you use the only other alternative of creating a form of monopoly power – create a brand.A brand becomes a tool that aids you in creating and owning your market segment. It helps you become friends with this market. You develop an emotional connection with it. When you own this market then you can unleash the business multiplier machine on it. This multiplier machine operates on the logic that you can only grow your business profits and revenues by getting more people buy more of your products, more often.Labels and commodities have to spend so much to win a new customer, spend even more to keep them and get them to buy more. It is harder and more expensive to unleash the multiplier machine on labels and almost impossible on commodities.2. Growth through new productsIt is very difficult to grow any business beyond a certain point just on one product offering or product line. At some point, even for those who own a particular market for a certain category of products, you will need to add something new in your fold. The reason being that the market tastes, preferences and circumstances are always changing hence they will require new products. Competitors will pursue your customers with a better value propositions. To respond you will need to create new products and services.Majority of SME Owners are innovators who have brought into the market something new. They appreciate the effort, resources and time required to make a new product succeed. Even for large organizations with massive resources it is never easier and there are no guarantees. That is why they build brands which are better equipped to launch a new product. Brand offer some level of success assurance.Without a brand they will have to go through the pains and overcome the countless challenges of new product launch whenever they need to introduce a new flavor, launch a new product, complementing service, open a new store, and add a new feature etcetera. Every time you do this the customer sees you as new. You don’t have a point to leverage on your business experience, market knowledge, capacity, supplier networks etc which you have invested in over time. This heavily limits you chances of success. A brand ensures you the benefits of being an old friend.’NEW ‘as a selling proposition works only for trusted brands. For them NEW is considered innovative and progressive. For labels and commodities ‘NEW’ is viewed as risky and inexperienced. Anything new has to be sold, and as a sales expert I understand selling is tough work worthy doing only when you have to do it.If you are in the technology business you appreciate how fast you have to generate and deliver new products to the market. Without a brand as a vehicle through which you have to deliver your new innovations you are doomed from the start.3. Build Business for the Long TermCommodities experience high rate of ‘child’ mortality. Labels usually a have a life expectancy of their creators. Brands have a life of their own.Every entrepreneur I know starting or running a business has a desire to see his business outlive him. To do this lawyers recommend you register your businesses as limited liability companies and management consultants tell you to create business dependent on systems. This is wise counsel but only to some extent because they help separate your business from your body and mind but you still share the soul.When you give up your soul the body and mind of your business will not live too long after.A brand is the soul of business. It makes it alive. It stops being a robot supported by a legal document. It becomes an organism that can have relationships of its own; it can love and be loved. It has connections with its market, employees, suppliers etc.Many of the big brands today are growing strong without the entrepreneurs who founded them because they are brands not because they are limited liability companies or they have great systems. A branded business is the only form of business that can grow on its own. Any other form will require the passion and genius of the founder to grow it.If you really want to leave an inheritance to your children then need to make your business a brand.These three points are not exhaustive but, if they would push you to be more determined to build brands or even to add a little knowledge on the subject then am happy.Wait for Part 2 where we will discuss how SMEs try to build brands the wrong way and how they can do it right.

Skin Care Advice – What Can You Believe?

Skin care advice is worth its weight in gold when it directs the consumer to all natural skin care products. Healthy and glowing skin can be achieved by using natural skin care products and organic face care products, rather than ones containing synthetic ingredients. Take the time to verify skin care advice to make sure it is based on fact, and not hype.Organic face care moisturizers, lotions, and serums are becoming more and more visible on the shelves of department and drug stores throughout the country. Consumers are more educated about skin care and are more interested in the ingredients of their products than in previous years. The organic face care and skin care industry in general has responded to the consumer demand for more healthful products by offering a wide range of products that will fit almost every budget.There is a lot of hype out there concerning all natural skin care products. So, what skin care advice can you actually believe? When it comes to trusting what you hear and read, the thing to remember is to conduct your own research. Every consumer should be educated about the ingredients that are healthy for the skin. Read the labels on your skin care products to make certain they contain natural ingredients, before purchasing them.With that said, what ingredients should your skin care products contain? Organic face care products and other skin care products such as lotions, serums, cosmetics, anti-wrinkle creams, and shampoos, should contain only holistic and non-synthetic ingredients. When you apply lotion or any other skin care product to your skin, roughly 60% of the ingredients contained in that product will be absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream. It makes perfect sense then, that the ingredients should be natural and therefore not harmful to our bodies.Keep in mind that skin care advice will come at you from every direction in the form of marketing campaigns. Be educated about your skin care and you’ll be prepared to choose your organic face care and skin care products with the best ingredients.Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and will help your skin to battle the aging process. Vitamin E is effective in reducing the look of fine lines; laugh lines, and wrinkles on your skin. This vital ingredient defies the free radicals in the air by protecting your skin and giving the skin a healthy glow.Jojoba oil is another holistic ingredient contained in all natural skin care products, as well as organic face care products. It is essentially a vegetable oil, but its very make up mimics the naturally occurring oil in the skin called sebum, making it an excellent moisturizer for the skin. Skin that is kept moisturized will naturally appear younger and healthier.Many women show their age in and around the eye area. Organic face care products that contain grapeseed oil are a good choice. Research has revealed that grapeseed oil has a healing effect on the skin around the eyes, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines effectively.So there you have it. Just keep in mind that skin care advice is worth listening to if it directs you to all natural and organic skin care. These are the products that will have holistic and healthy ingredients that will provide results that will impress you.

Business Capital Solutions In Canada: Accessing Proper Cash Flow & Commercial Financing

Business capital requirements in Canada often boil down to some basic truths the business owner/financial mgr/entrepreneur needs to address when it comes to financing for businesses.

One of those truths? Knowing the true state of their financial condition and what financing they do and don’t qualify for when it comes to meeting commercial lending requirements in Canadian business.

Business Loans In Canada

Whether you are smaller or start-up firm looking for information on how to get a business loan or a larger established firm looking for growth financing or acquisition opportunities we’re highlighting 3 mistakes that commercial loan seekers like your company need to avoid making when addressing, sourcing and negotiating your cash flow / working capital and commercial financing needs.

1. Understand the true condition of your company finances – These are almost always successful addressed when you spend time on your financials and understand how your financial statements reflect your access to commercial loans & business credit in general

2. Ensure you have a plan in place for sales growth and financial needs as it relates to commercial financing

3. Understand that actual hard facts about cash flow which is, of course, the lifeblood of your company

Can you honestly answer or feel positive about all those 3 points. If so, pass Go and collect $ 100.00!

A good way to address your company’s finance plans is to ensure you understand growth finance solutions, as well as how to manage in a downturn – i.e. not growing, losing money, etc; It’s never fun to fund yourself in an economic or industry downturn such as the COVID pandemic of 2020!

When we talk to clients of new or established businesses it seems they are almost always talking about sales, so the ability to understand and focus on the differences in their profits and cash fluctuations is key.

How do cash flow and sales plans and projections affect the type of financing you require? For one thing sales growth usually starts out by consuming your cash, not generating it. A poor finance plan will drag your business down and addressing financing simply gets tougher and tougher.

Three basics always emerge when it comes to your search for the right business capital and financing.

1. The amount of financing you need

2. The type of financing (debt/cash flow/asset monetization) The business loan interest rate will be dramatically affected by whether you choose traditional or alternative financing solutions. Private business loans in Canada come from non regulated commercial finance companies most often known as ‘ alternative lenders ‘. These lenders are typically highly specialized in one ‘ niche ‘ of business financing and may be Canadian firms or branches of U.S. banks and non-bank lenders

3. How the financing is structured to be manageable with your day to day operations

What Finance Company In Canada Can Meet Your Borrowing Needs & Why Is Capital Important In Business

Let’s identify and break down key financings your firm should know about and understand if they are applicable and achievable to your business. They include:

A/R Financing / Factoring / Confidential Receivable Finance

Inventory finance / floor planning / retail inventory

Working Capital term loans

Unsecured cash flow loans

Merchant working capital loans/advances – these loans are geared toward short term cash needs and are typically one year in duration. Loan amounts are typically 15-20% of your annual sales revenues.

Royalty finance

Asset based non bank business lines of credit

Tax credit financing (SR&ED bridge loans)

Equipment Leasing / Sale leasebacks – Equipment financing in Canada is used by almost 80% of all companies looking to acquire new, and used, assets.

Govt Guaranteed Small Business Loan program – Government Loans in Canada are sometimes referred to as ‘ SBL’, aka Note: BDC Finance solutions are available from this Canadian non-bricks and morter crown corporation. A small business loan via the government-guaranteed loan program comes with true flexibility around term loan duration, market rates, no pre payment penalties, and of course the low personal guarantee that is required by borrowers. These two ‘ government ‘ loan solutions are often perfect for financing a new business.

If you’re focused on not making mistakes in your business finance needs and want to capitalize on the solutions your competitors are probably already using seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your cash flow and commercial financing needs.

Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations.

His employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) In 2004 Stan founded 7 PARK AVENUE FINANCIAL – He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.