I’ve recently had the privilege of working with the good people at ChangeAgents.
As my business is continuing to grow and especially with increasing demand for the SmarterPreneur programmes, the time had come to have a more grown up discussion about how the business was presented to others.
Initially, I thought we’d get into concepts like copywriting and visual imagery, and other things that I thought were part of the branding process.
But I wasn’t ready for the first question: “What do you stand for?”
What do I stand for?
What does Smarter Egg stand for?
Hmm, not sure.
Essentially, that means being clear about who you are and what it is you value as that will attract people who value the same things.
This process didn’t require me to change or for me to immediately adjust the Smarter Egg programmes or offerings. But it did require a lot of thinking and forced a lot of clarification.
Paul quickly noticed my preference for non-committal language, the use of words like “sometimes” or “tend to”. He challenged me to take positions, to be clear about my convictions, to share what I had learned to be true.
I was amazed to see statements emerging for which I was willing to stand up and argue. I found I was gaining energy from the process, that I was ready to put my name to something and not hide behind a qualifier like “Some people think”.
Three points emerged initially, and then this soon became five. A week later, the list had lengthened to eight. And then it felt right to round it up to a form of ‘Ten Commandments’!
And here’s the list. Like a sculptor with a chisel, there’s been a lot of chipping and where possible, each statement has been reduced to elemental levels.
- Great achievements in business and society are a collaboration.
- Difference has value; fear of difference destroys potential
- Action matters, but the quality of the thinking preceding the action is pivotal
- Everyone has the potential to achieve more
- The journey is more fun than the destination
- All adventures are better in the company of others
- An external lens stimulates the great solutions that lie within
- Humility is attractive
- To be sustainable, you must become profitable
- The desire for improvement is inspiring and contagious
(There’s no significance to the order, btw).
It’s possible that this list may change with time, that stronger beliefs displace some that may feel less important. In fact, it’s probably healthy that it will.
The path ahead is now well lit. The elements of branding that I had expected to be worked on initially now seem easier to develop.
When you take a position, the world seems clearer. Some will agree, some will disagree but at least you’ve eliminated some confusion and ambiguity. Progress is now more probable.