Build a Brand, not a Business


Personal-Branding-BrandWhen taking on a new project, every student should ask themselves why they are dedicating their time to said project, and what do they hope to benefit from the experience.  As a student, if your answer to the benefits is made up of dollars and cents, you are probably not off to a good start.

Get the scoop here

5 Ways to Maximize the New LinkedIn Profile Layout

If you haven’t heard, your LinkedIn profile is about to get a face-lift – if it hasn’t already. LinkedIn announced in mid-October that it would be rolling out a new look to profile pages aiming to make it easier to showcase your experience and connect with others. To see examples of the new page, click here for an interactive example or click here to see my full profile in the new format (click the link on the right to view the Full Profile).

With the new layout, it is becoming more important than ever for you to complete your LinkedIn profile so that recruiters can gain better insight into your skills, experience and talents. Here are five tips to prepare your LinkedIn profile for the updated look. 1) Add a Professional Photo of Yourself

The new profile page has a prominent placeholder for a photo of you. As you seek to build relationships on LinkedIn, people will want to see who you are – just like on Facebook or Google+. Remember to use a professional-looking head shot and not your favorite pic from last year’s summer vacation. 2) Make Your Headline Meaningful

Use the title or headline as an opportunity to grab your page visitor’s attention. Rather than simply list yourself as a “student,” use industry buzz words to show your ambition and career potential. Perhaps you are a “Rising Culinary Expert” or an “Aspiring Writer.” Or, you could use this space to cite your own personal branding statement – citing your career goals. And, in your contact info, don’t forget to list your personal website, Twitter and/or blog URLs. 3) Complete Your Information!

Ensuring that your profile is complete and up-to-date is a key step in your LinkedIn success. Your Summary should be a concise snapshot of your experience and skills, much like an elevator speech, and provide a statement about your career goals in one short paragraph or two.

The revised Skills & Expertise section is a great place to list all of your skills. Next, use the Experience section to add any current jobs or internships, as well as any other positions you’ve held that lend to building your credibility and showcasing your experience. Much like a resume, this is your opportunity to tell the world about all that you are capable of achieving. So, provide some concrete examples of how you’ve accomplished goals, led a team to reach an achievement or took initiative to create a success. And, don’t forget to list any Volunteer work!

The new Projects section is a great space to provide detailed information about any project you have worked on – perhaps in an internship or volunteer capacity. Did you organize a fraternity/sorority event? Did you work on a special class project that required you to complete real-world tasks? Did you take on a leadership role in a project for an agency where you volunteered over the summer? Use this space to talk about those projects while describing your specific role and how you met objectives, surpassed goals or otherwise created success. 4) Personalize Your LinkedIn Profile Link

By default, LinkedIn assigns your profile page a nondescript link that includes a long numeric identifier. However, you can personalize this link to become something like: Having a personalized link makes it easy for you to remember when sharing your profile, and it helps build your personal brand by identifying yourself in the link. You can update your link simply by clicking the Edit Link hypertext next to your default profile page link on your profile. 5) Get Recommendations

Recommendations are a great way to have others endorse your skills and experiences. Ask professors, former employers, those who you have volunteered with or other leaders who you have worked with to write brief recommendations on your page. Third-party endorsements are one of the strongest ways to promote your experience and capabilities. Building your LinkedIn profile is an important step in maximizing your use of this social medium in your job search. But, don’t forget to join relevant groups in your career field and become an active contributor. Participating in conversations, sharing your knowledge and building relationships are all important for building your personal brand, advancing your job search and building your future career.

Make your LinkedIn profile stand out. Embrace the new profile and let your skills leap off the screen at those who may be interested in hiring you. Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression

The 10 Rules of Cash Flow 101

From Philip Campbell, CPA

Cash flow is the lifeblood of all businesses. Learn the Cash Flow 101 Rules to free yourself from money worries. The statistics on small business failure are alarming. Michael Gerber, author of “The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It”, says that 40% of businesses fail in their first year. 80% fail within their first five years. Why? A main reason is they run out of cash. Don’t let this happen to your small business. Use the basic rules of Cash Flow 101 to help you take control of your cash flow so you can create the business you have always dreamed of. 1. Never Run Out of Cash. Running out of cash is the definition of failure in business. Make the commitment to do what it takes so it does not happen to you. 2. Cash Is King. It’s important to recognize that the basics of cash flow 101 are what keeps your business alive. Manage it with the care and attention it deserves. It’s very unforgiving if you don’t. Remember, cash is king, because no cash means no business. 3. Know the Cash Balance Now. What is your cash balance right now? It’s absolutely critical that you know exactly what your cash balance is. Even the most experienced person will fail if they are making business decisions using inaccurate or incomplete cash balances. This is fundamental cash flow 101. That’s the reason why business failures are not limited to amateurs or people new to the business world. 4. Do Today’s Work Today. The key to keeping an accurate cash balance in your accounting system is to do today’s work today. When you do this, you will have the numbers you need – when you need them. 5. Do the Work or Get Someone Else. Here is a simple rule to follow to make sure you have an accurate cash balance on your books. You do the work or have someone else do it. 6. Don’t Manage From the Bank Balance. The bank balance and the cash balance are two different forms of cash. Rarely will the two ever be the same. Don’t make the mistake of confusing them. It’s futile and frustrating to attempt to manage your cash flow using the bank balance. It’s a prescription for failure. You reconcile your bank balance. You don’t manage from it. 7. Know Your Six Months Cash Balance. What do you expect your cash balance to be six months from now? This one question will transform the way you manage your business and help you pass cash flow 101. This question really gets to the heart of whether you are managing your business or whether your business is managing you. 8. Cash Flow Problems Don’t Just Happen. You would be amazed at the number of small businesses that fail because the owner did not see a cash flow problem in time to do something about it. The key is to always be able to answer the question – what do I expect my cash balance to be six months from now? 9. Have Cash Flow Projections. Cash flow projections are the key to making wise and profitable business decisions. They give you the answer to the all-important question from Rule # 7. It’s impossible to run your business properly without them. 10. Take Care of Customers. Eliminate your cash flow worries so you are free to do what you do best-taking care of clients and making more money. Use these cash flow 101 rules to free yourself from cash flow worries. That way you can focus all your time and talents where you can make the most difference in your business. No more wasted time worrying about what’s going on with your cash flow. Instead, you can focus your unique talents and abilities each day on ways to grow your business and make more income each year. That is a recipe for success and wealth creation.

Avoiding Pain

The desire to avoid pain is greater than the desire to attain pleasure. This is why most people give into their fears and never do what it takes to make it big. The perceived pain of leaving their comfort zone is greater than the pleasure of being wealthy. Excuses are then produced and the mind will find a way to justify them with logic.

use this to make your own way


What is this thing called brand?


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What is a brand? It is the prevailing idea, or feeling associated with a product, company or in this case a person. Branding differentiates you from everyone else in the market. It articulates what you are all about and how that would be of value to other people.

You need to ask the following questions in determining and articulating your personal brand.

1.What is the prevailing major idea of your life?

This is the basis of your brand, the core idea. What you are all about. Steve Pavlina defines his brand as providing personal development for smart people, specifically exploring and distilling knowledge on various parts of life into core principles and ideas. Chris Guillebeau explores unconventional ways of living and solving problems while travelling the world. Jay Z’s personal brand has evolved from street hustler/ganster to hiphop maturity and global business man. Steve Jobs centres around innovation, creativity and coolness. My personal brand? Well my core idea is the intersection of youth and popular culture, design communication and life paradigm shifts. I hope to create things that speak in the language of popular culture effectively changing the way people think and live, creating a better world for humanity.

Your brand can be highly specific or it can be loosely broad. But if it is broad, connect the pieces together under a theme.

2.What channels will you communicate your brand through?

How will you get your message across to your audience? Will you be centred around the internet and cyberspace. Or will your brand expression be predominantly in tangible products, goods and services. This is entirely up to you. We have seen a great proliferation of bloggers who communicate their ideas via the internet – websites, blogs, social networking media, and with the creation of intangible assets like ebooks, seminars, and so on. Others create organisations that provide a service or seek to change the world in some way. Some people design, dance, create music, write poetry, etc. Others build businesses.

3.Who is your audience?

Who will listen to you? What is your target market. Which group of people will receive the most value from what you have to offer. Focus on these people. Do not try to cater to everyone, it is one of the fastest ways to failure in any endeavour. Focus on your right people. Those who are attracted and interested in what you have to offer. Analyse them, interact with them, figure out their needs and fulfil them. For instance, Chris Guillebeau writes for people, artists, creatives, travellers who want to live an unconventional life, profiles them and provides resources and ideas for them. Mark McGuinness speaks to creatives and helps them make a living from their craft.

4.Why should your audience listen to you?

What sets you apart from everyone else, what value do you bring to the table. Why should your audience listen to yo? Why should they come back time and time again?

5.Nurture your audience

Now that you have your audience, and have determined why they should listen to you in the first place, take care of them. Nurture your audience, keep on creating value for them. Provide only those services that will actually be of value to your clan, your tribe, your band of merry men. Give them a reason to be loyal to you.

6.Grow your network
No dream worth pursuing is ever pursued alone. You will need to interact with many other people, within your field and outside of it. Ideas are transferable across niches and categories. We need various skill sets and personalities to create whole functioning systems and products. Connect with people, especially the best in the fields. Get mentors, collaborate, partner with people and learn from one another. With the internet these days, it is easier to connect and work with people from all over the globe.

7.Put the time in
Create the product. You have to put the time in to write the articles, make the art, write the poem, build the organisation. Whatever it is that you bring to the table, you have to create it. Ideas are no substitute for action and tangible products.

Building Brand on a Budget

Without Spending A Single Penny.

These tactics are perfect for network marketers on a tight advertising budget.

They are so powerful (and simple) even brand new Brand Builders with no money or special computer skills are using it to generate more interest and customers for their brand in a single day (for free) than most veteran Brand Builders get in a year with paid advertising.

All of these methods are based on three basic “rules” about making money online:

  1. There are tens of millions of people around the globe logging onto the Internet, desperately looking for ways to make money.
  2. If you simply get in front of this “moving parade” of leads, you can position yourself to sponsor new reps left and right—almost without trying.
  3. The best way to get in front of these leads is NOT with Pay-Per-Click ads, search engine tricks, or any kind of paid advertising if you’re on a budget. You just have to know…

Visit our special Facebook Page for view Free Videos on Building any Home Business Brand on a Budget!

Top 15 Ways to Build Your Subscriber List

Email marketing can be profitable for any business, no matter what kind of product or service you offer. It is significantly cheaper than other advertising methods and, if done right, helps build loyalty and trust with customers. As a result, you generate more sales and more profits!

The foundation for successful email marketing is a targeted, permission-based email list. Marketers call contact lists their ‘goldmine’ because it can generate much of their sales revenue. If you’ve built up a list of opt-in subscribers that are qualified and interested in what you have to offer, then you’ve completed the first step and are on your way. Now it’s time to ‘mine’ for gold!

Below you’ll find several list-building and retention ideas that will help you get the best results from all your email marketing activities:

  1. Provide useful, relevant content. Your visitors will not give you their email addresses just because they can subscribe to your newsletter free of charge. You have to provide unique and valuable information that will be of interest or use to them.
  2. Add a subscription form to every page on your website. Make sure it stands out so it is easy to find. If it doesn’t look cluttered, you may want to include more than one on some pages. For instance, if your opt-in form always appears in the top-left corner of your site, you may want to add one at the end of your most popular articles.
  3. Add subscription forms to your social media pages. Make sure that you don’t waste this valuable source of revenue opportunities. Integrate your sign-up forms with Facebook and more!
  4. Make it easy for readers to sign up. The more information you request, the fewer people will opt-in. In most cases, a name and an email address should suffice. If it’s not necessary, don’t include it here. You can always survey them once they’re customers! We do recommend that you provide a link to your Privacy Policy however.
  5. Publish a Privacy Policy. Let your readers know that they can be confident you will not share their information with others. The easiest way to do this is to set up a Privacy Policy web page and provide the link to it below your opt-in form. (Note: If you don’t have one, put the words ‘privacy policy generator’ into a search engine and you should be able to find a suitable form to use.)
  6. Provide samples of your newsletters and Ezines. This lets potential subscribers review your materials before they sign up to determine if it’s something they’d be interested in.
  7. Archive past newsletters and articles. An online library of past newsletters and articles is both appealing and useful to visitors and builds your credibility as an authority. In addition, if your articles are written with good SEO techniques in mind, they can increase traffic to your website through enhanced search engine positioning.
  8. Give gifts subscribers can actually use. Offer an opt-in bonus for joining your subscriber list! Write an ebook or provide a PDF business report, or even hire a programmer to create downloadable or web-based software. But don’t limit yourself to offering gifts to opt-ins. Give them out when your readers fill out a survey, provide a testimonial, success story, or a great product idea. Let them know when they can expect the next gift offer. Everyone likes to get something for free! And if you pass out ‘goodies’ throughout the year, your subscribers will feel truly appreciated − and that’s good for business!
  9. Ask your subscribers to pass it on. Word of mouth is a powerful viral technique that works great with email marketing. If your subscribers find your content interesting, amusing or informative, they’ll probably share it with their friends. This can be a great source of new customers, so make sure to remind them to ‘pass it on’.
  10. Let others reprint your newsletter as long as the content is not modified. If you’re happy to share your content with the universe, then why not! Many webmasters and newsletter publishers are actively looking for high-quality content and, if they reprint your newsletter, you’ll get new subscribers, and more traffic and links pointing to your site.
  11. Include a ‘Sign Up’ button in your newsletter. If you’re using plain text instead of HTML, be sure to provide a text link to your subscription page. You may feel that this is not required because the subscriber is already on your list, but remember that readers will forward your newsletters to others, or reprint them online. Make it easy for them to subscribe!
  12. Add a squeeze page. A squeeze page has one goal − to acquire opt-ins and build your list. Think of it as a mini-sales letter to go along with your subscription or opt-in gift. It should feature a strong headline and a couple of powerful benefits that should make subscribers salivate to sign up! Once created, use a service such as WordTracker to find hundreds of targeted keywords, and promote your offer using pay-per-click advertising from Google, MSN and Yahoo. Now that should make a splash!
  13. Include testimonials on your squeeze page. This is crucial. Put one or two strong testimonials from satisfied customers on your squeeze page. This can be in any format, but you may find that multimedia (audio or video) is more ‘believable’ and inspires more people to action. To further enhance believability, get permission to use actual customer names, locations and/or urls (Don’t use ‘Bob K, FL’). Add a note inviting others to participate. After all, it’s free publicity!
  14. Blog religiously. Blogging is a great way to communicate with prospects and potential customers, and creates a nice synergy with your email marketing. Be sure to include your newsletter sign-up form on each page of your blog. You can start a free blog at Blogger or WordPress.
  15. Post on other blogs. Post thoughtful comments and information on similar blogs with a link to your squeeze or opt-in pages. Also comment on others’ blogs through trackbacks. In most cases, your comments will be posted on their blogs with a link back to your site. This is an easy way to generate new traffic and subscribers, and get your brand out there!



As a company that provides training, coaching and monitoring services for the small to mid-sized business owner, I am often asked  what our biggest challenge is when working with clients. Not a fair question; because each client is different and most of the challenges are theirs, not ours. However, if I were to pick one area where I find the business owner may struggle the most is identifying the “Highest and Best use of their time”. For example, we once worked with a business owner who fired all his sales people and decided to manage all sales himself. As the owner he had worked primarily in quoting and production quality / profitability. Having never sold before, and coming from an engineering background he quickly realized that he did not have the skills and sales fell flat, quickly. Quoting stopped, production slowed down, quality issues rose as did production expenses since the owner spent less time on the floor and more time in his office trying to make sales calls.

As a business owner grows into their executive maturity, they learn that the more they can identify what they should be doing, the easier it becomes to delegate to key executives, managers and employees. It is only through the function of identify what one should be doing that one can discern what they should NOT be doing.

I remember earlier in my management career I had a mentor and boss who would constantly challenge my use of time with every visit by asking me these three simple questions.

  1. What are you doing?
  2. Why are you doing it?
  3. Who do you have on your team who can do that for you?

By answering these three simple questions I quickly learned the power of delegation and thus freed myself to pursue more acquisitions, negotiate better vendor contracts and provide more one on one coaching to my managers, this making them more effective.

So, I ask you, do you know what is the highest and best use of your time? If you were to ask yourself the three questions above throughout your day, how much of what takes up your time should be delegated?

If you can not answer the questions above by yourself, give us a call and we will coach you through it.

Estrada Strategies

is a unique business coaching organization founded in 2005.  Founder and CEO Ruben Estrada launched the company because of his passion to help the owners of small and medium sized companies beat the odds and achieve long term success.  Ruben believes that every business has the potential to succeed and with the right tools and guidance every business owner can develop the tools to make that potential reality.

When Estrada Strategies was founded, Ruben brought together a team of talented leaders in the fields of business coaching, franchising, and leadership.  Today that team includes Dr. Kevin Kragenbrink, a business coach with more than 30 years of experience in small business leadership and education; Sherry Christoper, a leading light in the world of franchising; and Dennis Assad, a business leader with unequaled skills in the development of business opportunities through sales and systems development.

This visionary team is working every day with franchise owners and business coaches who are part of the Estrada Strategies network to create opportunities for every business to succeed.  Living this vision is the driving force behind everything we do at Estrada Strategies.

Beginning in 2007, the company began franchise operations with offices in California and Tennessee.  From the start, our philosophy has been to grow slowly and make sure that we are doing the right things for every client and for every franchise.  This means our network of coaches is made up of tested and proven business coaches and business advisers.  Our clients experience the same level of excellence and service wherever they are located.

Are you ready to make your next move?

Breadth vs. Depth – Brand Identity

Written on August 3, 2009 by Jay Ehret

Breadth: Being broad in scope. Carrying items in many different product categories. Offering several different types of service under one roof.

This means that you try to offer everything a customer might want, even if it’s only remotely related to your product or service offering. If you are a remodeling company you might do everything from adding a closet, to trimming out some cabinetry, to building a patio, up to a complete kitchen remodel.

Depth: Being intense in scope by immersing your business into an industry or product category. Stocking a focused product mix, a specialized service offering.

One example is a landscaping company that does only irrigation systems, or only commercial work. The key word being only.

That word only is a sticking point. Businesses would rather use the term: and more. “Family law, real estate law, injury claims…..and more.” Which makes a business wide rather than deep. The problem with breadth is that it costs more to be wide. You have to carry more stuff or offer more services, increasing your operating expenses. Breadth also requires lower prices to move your inventory or to win business against a wider field of competitors.

Being broad means being a source. Being deep means being a resource. Sources are many, resources are few. Sources compete on price, resources compete on expertise. When I want a source for nails, I go to Lowe’s. When I need a resource to help me choose the right sprinkler head, I choose my local Keith’s Hardware Store, where they have an employee stationed at the front entrance of the store offering help.

If I want a cheap light fixture for my garage, Home Depot is a source. When I need just the right chandelier for my dining room, I go to Texas Bright Ideas, where they have a showroom, not just an aisle of boxes.

What kind of business are you? Are there advantages to being a broad rather than deep?

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