As I have been sharing over the last few months, this fall I have been working on rebranding my company. It has been an interesting process with ups and downs. After some false starts, I finally followed my own advice. Instead of using the standard textbook business procedure for branding, I really dug deep to uncover brand me. Standard practices have companies start with defining their product and their target market. Research is done to determine the most powerful position to take by identifying the most profitable under-served demographic. And it works . . . for a product. But I am not a product. I am me.
My first step to finding brand me was to hire a marketing strategist who was adept at seeing my inside. I needed to be held accountable. I needed to be pushed to say my truth which was often glossed over. I needed to be asked the hard questions. I needed and desperately wanted to be released from the preconceived notions from my marketing background so I could allow the truth of my life’s purpose to be revealed and embraced. Through a series of meetings, meditations, and sparks of insight, my true gift and passion emerged to define my true brand.
The next hurdle was execution. Could I stay true to expressing brand me on my website, in my programs, and throughout the social media world? When I created my marketing years ago, it was very difficult for me to truly be me. I thought I had to talk, look, write, speak, and appear like a professional coach (whatever that was). I put on a persona. My original website was masterfully created but the content didn’t truly express me. Fortunately this time it was easier. I had seen how trying to be something other than myself not only drained me but also resulted in limited success. People can tell when we are acting.
This time would be different. This time I would take the risk to expose my true self without fear of rejection. For I had learned for everyone who rejects me, there are many others who find my personal viewpoint and attitude refreshing. With this new attitude, I created new website and marketing text in my words expressing my truth. I worked with a company to help me learn how to show my true essence via video. I hired a wonderful artist to update my logo to express visually what It’s MY Life is all about. Every piece of my marketing was reviewed not by current business standards, but by how much it reflects my truth.
Hope you enjoy seeing my new Type-ME Business be revealed through a new website as well as new programs and offerings. And please do me a favor and call me on anything you feel is false. I am hoping to lead my example and with your support, I can stay true to my personal Type-ME.
I recently heard a CEO speak about how he took an investor’s one million dollars, bought some real estate, and repaid the investor completely plus a thirty percent return on investment within five to seven years. This was no small feat in the current challenging economy. It is incredible to see small businesses taking chances and receiving incredible returns on their risks. What is even more amazing is that this business provides shelter to the homeless.
Brian Rowland is the CEO of A Safe Haven a for-profit company which provides shelter and training to those recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. As a recovering addict, Brian realized how ineffective some of the current rehabilitation services were. An expert in real estate, Brian and his wife Neli decided to purchase some real estate during the economic downturn and offer it to those in needs. The couple thought they would sell the property when the economy turned around, but soon found that what they offered was of such value it would be a shame to end it. Today A Safe Haven has a sixteen million dollar budget, over one hundred employees, and sixteen sites providing shelter for over thirteen hundred men, women, and children. Besides providing shelter, this company also provides meals, drug and alcohol treatment, and job training and placement.
At the same event where Brian spoke, I also learned of a new movement, Social Enterprise. Brian is also a member of the Social Enterprise Alliance. This Alliance is currently in eleven states and fills a unique need. Their mission is “To produce massive social value via successful social enterprises.” The Social Enterprise Alliance envisions social enterprise solving the world’s problems including social, environmental, and human justice through nonprofit’s mixed revenue portfolios and the creation of for-profit businesses.
Many non-profit start-up businesses come to me and often they have a wonderful agenda to help serve the local or international community or support the environment. I honor the people with these visions. I also see a major obstacle for them. Government support and personal fundraising are drying up. Non-profits need dependable income to keep them running and serving. On the other hand, I see corporations making their decisions based on short-term dollars versus common sense and ethics because their charter states their sole purpose is to serve their shareholders. I see this new model of social enterprise solving both these problems. The first problem is helping noble non-profits receive the income they need to continue their community service and healing of our planet. The second problem is that of for-profits focusing on their profits above the needs of their employees, customers, and the world at large.
The concept of social enterprise has given me hope for our future. It is a way to make a living while making positive changes in the world. It is a way to serve others without having to sacrifice one’s own life. It is the perfect blending of self-care and compassion for others. I hope A Safe Haven and the other social enterprise businesses can be a guiding light for other businesses to follow ushering in a new era of compassionate commerce.