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Does your business represent the real you?

Becoming your own biggest asset will set you apart from the competition.

If I take the minutiae out of my world (with pain – it’s the little things and the nitty gritty that interests me the most), I can bundle my life into the following categories: Owner of The Clothes Tree, the UK’s only online dedicated second hand designer clothing website for children; Director of Mhairi Clarke Public Relations, a thriving little boutique PR consultancy; Communications Consultant for BBC ONE’s Bionic Vet, Noel Fitzpatrick (Have you seen Oscar the Cat and his blades..?) and I do a fair bit of writing for various publications.  

I am also a mother, a daughter, a friend and… wait for this… a whirlfriend. Two spoonfuls of wife, two spoonfuls of girlfriend, a level tablespoon of stress, a liberal helping of healthy madness, whirl it round in the Magimix, bake for an hour and serve with sprinkles to your partner. 

Yes girls – a new word for the world today and you read it right here first . The perfect mix of girlfriend, wife and partner – a whirlfriend).  Please nobody do that Magimix thing to me.  It’s maybe a wee bit Goodfellas.  Sprinkles are fine of course.  Urban Dictionary – feel free to take my word!

So while I’m spinning through each day doing all of that, you might think that the essence of who I am as a person might have become diluted/buried/forgotten because my head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes and ears and mouth and nose are literally in-out in-out of more circles than thirty legs at a Hokey Cokey (the new Gangnam/Harlem Shake I predict…you’ll see!).

No – the essence of who I am has become more defined.  The Magimix of Life has spun me around so many times (on various settings) that I can say, with confidence that I “get” me.  I know who I am.  I know what I stand for.  If I was a biscuit I’d know which one.  If I was a mood board I’d know what it looked like.  If I was a shop I can tell you what it would be. I know my values.  I know my strengths.  I know my weaknesses.  I know what I have.  I know what I need.  I know where I want to get to.  I have a plan of sorts on how to get there. 

I may use different vehicles and I will be sure to take some wrong turnings which may or may not lead me back on the right path but knowing all of this helps to make decisions a lot easier in life, business, whatever – you name it.

So why am I telling you all of this?  If you are in business, starting business or thinking of giving up on your business, you will no doubt have knocked on many doors but have you knocked on your own door?

We all think we know ourselves so well.  Who could know us better than we do?  Maybe lots of people!  We can’t see the things that other people see in us that make us ‘us’.  We’re too busy being us.  We’re just too busy full stop. 

I would suggest, not being an expert of course that you ring, bang, scoosh your way to your own door (tell the other doors you’ll be back later), give it a knock, go in, sit down and have a conversation with you. 

Ask yourself what you have within you as a person that you can tap into and release to make your business a reflection of you, because if you can distill the essence of you and feed it into your business, I could almost guarantee you that with hard work, continued knocking on doors, never giving up and always looking for a solution, you will build the business you set out to achieve. 

Your business.  A business which sets you apart from the competition.  How can I say this.  I’m not Michelle Mone, Karren Brady or Deborah Meaden, women who I greatly admire for many, many reasons. 

I can say this because for a number of years, I have been doing what feels like the equivalent of riding five bikes around the world.  Alone.  I get one so far and then have to stop, walk back and pick up the other, move it along to where the first one is and so on.  I’m not even across the Channel yet (hmmm…tunnel), passing Huddersfield on the left…

I’m growing two businesses single handedly and while that comes with all the challenges that you would expect, what is has enabled me to do is tap into the essence of me and feed that into my enterprises. 

I’m not trying to be anyone else, or imitate any other brand or company.  It clearly wouldn’t work.  So each time I get off one bike and walk back to pick up the other, I take all my latest business learnings and experiences with me and just as importantly, if not more, I take a stronger, more confident, more defined, more ‘me’ me back to get the next bike to where it needs to go to.  I’m becoming more ‘me’.

I know how I want to communicate, whether it’s on a letter, an email, a direct mailing, a press release or an article.  I know my style.  I know how I want to appear, I know what colours I like, I know what things I’m into, what things I’m not into, what things interest me, what things don’t.  I’ve got to know me by being in business.  I’m not so sure I knew who I was before that.  I don’t think I was defined, certainly not the way I would want to be.

So get to know all your stuff! Are you happy with your company tone and branding? Is it really you??  Are you trying to sound like someone else who you think sounds really great but now you’re thinking, wait a minute, I sell computer services, why am I trying to sound like a smoothie manufacturer? (Is it just me or has there been a tendency in recent years for every company to try to make themselves sound uber-fun, quirky, jolly and “one of the people”). 

Every brand and business should be as distinct from every other just as you are from me.

Your business is a reflection of you so don’t go down a contrived route.  Don’t try to be different.  You are different because you’re ‘you’ and your business should be the same. The reason why your business will be a success or is currently a success is because you have found a new and different way of doing something, a better way, a new solution to old problems, a more interesting solution to old problems and are sprinkling a healthy amount of you all over that.

So make regular appointments to visit the House of You, take notes, feed it in to your business, grow, and become your biggest asset.

Shake and share your sprinkles as you go. I would love to hear how you get on. Good luck You.

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