11 Reasons You Should Start a Business Networking Group

A few months ago, I began wondering whether I should start a business networking group. After hours of brainstorming its benefits as well as the steps to start a business networking group, I decided to move forward with the idea.
 
 
As a certified public accountant with a responsibility for marketing my firm’s services and bringing on new clients, I wanted to find additional ways to help the firm meet its growth goals. I’m certainly not alone in these desires; many professionals have the same sales and marketing goals and desires.
 
When I started in public accounting after college, any sales or marketing efforts frightened me. I was too much of an introvert to be involved in those activities. However, my perception of sales (as well as my personality) have done a 180. It’s now the most enjoyable part of my daily routine.
 
Following are 11 reasons why you should start a business networking group.

 

Less Time-Consuming

 
Sales and marketing efforts take time. There’s no getting around that. Sales rarely just fall in your lap. You need to expend time and energy to achieve the success you want. 
 
Even though it will take time, starting a business networking group will not take as much time as joining certain existing business networking groups. Some of the largest groups require one-on-one meetings with other group members on a weekly/monthly basis. That really requires a lot of time.
 
Also, having others in the group referring business to you takes a lot less effort and time than finding those prospects all by yourself. 
 

Less Expensive

 
By starting your own business networking group, you decide on the cost structure. Frankly, I recommend you start the group for all of the reasons listed here. Notice you will not see earning direct profits from the group as a reason.
 
Most networking groups charge annual and/or meeting dues. That is understandable only if the group has to pay to use the space where they meet or have food and drink catered. You don’t need to have those costs if you start your own group.
 

Better Membership

 
The most important benefit of a business networking group is the membership. When you start a business networking group, you choose who the members will be. Following are a few recommendations for choosing participating members:
 
1.  Select only two or three people with whom you already have relationships. Meeting with people you already know well will reduce the impact of being in the group as you should already have a referral relationship with people you know well.  
 

Ask two or three of your current circle of influence to join you. Once they agree to be founding members of the business networking group, ask them to bring one name with them to the first meeting. Vet those prospective members among the group and then have the person with the relationship ask them to join. Once that new member joins, go through the same process to continue growing the membership.

2.  Limit the members of the group to one per professional specialty. For example, only one member can be a financial advisor. 
 
3.  Decide one a good maximum limit for membership. You could determine this based on space at the location where you will meet or number of professional specialties you want. You may also just pick a number, i.e., 10, and see how that works before asking whether the group members whether more should be invited to join.
 

You Set the Time and Place

 
The times at which networking meetings occur is likely one of the biggest reasons people won’t attend. It’s difficult for certain people to make it to an early morning meeting, lunch meeting or a meeting after work. 
 
When you start a business networking group, you get to decide on the timing that best works for you. Since you will decide on the time, you’ll know what time to tell each of your prospective members when you ask them to join the group. 
 
The location of the meetings should be somewhere centrally located for the founding members. You want it to be easy for each person to get to. 
 
Naturally, as time progresses and the group matures, the day and location can change. 
 
To make participation in the networking group easier for everyone, the group should meet on the same day of the week/month, e.g., second Thursday of the month, at the same time and at the same location.
 

Ability to Learn from Other Professionals

 
Since the networking group will be composed of different professional specialties, you’ll have the ability to learn from each of them as to their areas of expertise. 
 
For example, a residential real estate agent can teach you about all aspects of the house selling process, including how to stage a residence for sale, improvements for which you’ll get the highest return on investment, times of the year to sell your home, etc. 
 
Hopefully if you decide to sell your home in the future, you’ll use the person in your group as your agent. Even if you don’t, you’ll know the questions to ask an agent.
 

Ability to Learn Marketing/Sales Tips

 
Different professions use different methodologies when selling their services. Some professionals are well-versed in the use of social media, internet marketing, cold-calling, etc. Ask each member of your business networking group to share their sales process so each member can determine if any of the steps in that process can help them.
 

Help Others by Giving Referrals

 
Referring prospects to the group members is important because you will likely not receive any referrals if you don’t.  Before you refer someone to a group member, be confident in that person’s ability. When you refer a friend to that professional, your reputation is on the line. 
 
When giving referrals, ALWAYS give your group member’s contact information to the referral rather than the other way around, unless you receive direct permission from that referral. 
 
Any good salesman will want you to give him the contact information but resist the temptation unless you have express permission.
 

Receive Referrals

 
You decided to start a business networking group primarily to build your business. You want referrals. That’s the reason everyone else joined too – to build their businesses. 
 
If you want to receive referrals from your networking group members or anyone else, you MUST do what you say you will do. You cannot allow a lack of expertise or action jeopardize the referrer’s reputation.

 

Top Three Reasons to Start a Business Networking Group

 

Be a Part of the Success of Others

 
Helping others succeed in their business, relationships or life in general should be more important to you than building your business. You will experience more joy from helping a friend than from selling more services. 
 
You can help your group members succeed by referring prospects, helping them with their sales funnels and even being a sounding board for personal difficulties. The more you help someone succeed, the more you’ll succeed.

 

How to start a business networking group

Build Close Business and Personal Relationships

 
Even though I used the term sales several times within this article, I don’t believe in sales. Instead, I believe in building relationships. My goal is to create trusting relationships with people I meet. 
 
People do business with others they know, like and trust. It’s easy to know a lot of people. It’s also easy to be liked by others. The most difficult part is to be trusted. Once you become a trusted resource, your business will grow like crazy. 
 
When you start a business networking group, you’re giving yourself the opportunities to build close relationships that carry over from business to personal in nature. Become friends with your group members. Learn about their businesses but also learn about their families, their hobbies and their goals. 
 

Be a Positive Influence

 
Each person has the power to influence others. Call it your super hero power. You can influence people for good or you can influence people in bad ways. You choose which you will do.
 
By starting a business networking group, you’re creating a circle of influence. You might be just the person that group member needed to talk with about a failing relationship, difficulties with finances or even to answer spiritual questions. 
 
Be vulnerable in these relationships. By this I mean to answer questions freely and have open discussions without reservation or fear of embarrassment. Be direct but not too direct. You could end up being the most important person in his/her life.
 
Have these 11 reasons convinced you to start a business networking group? If you need help starting your own group, please contact me. I’m happy to help however I can. 
 

9 Reasons to Buy a Tailored Suit Before You Think You Can Afford It

For years I didn’t buy a tailored suit. Instead I purchased suits off the rack at large department stores or men’s suit shops. And thus, for years, I wore lower quality suits that didn’t fit correctly. I knew the suits did not enhance my personal brand to be the trusted professional I desired. That was acceptable because I couldn’t afford a tailored suit…so I thought.
 
 
Then, several years ago I convinced myself to buy my first tailored suit. A representative from Tom James in St. Louis had connected with me on LinkedIn so I asked to meet with him. After meeting with him and seeing all the details that go into a well-tailored suit, I was sold.
 
It took a while for the bespoke suit to be made to my specifications. The wait is the only drawback I can think of to buying a tailored suit. When it was finished and I put it on for the first time, the feeling it gave me was incredible. 
 
It may sound a little metro sexual of me to openly talk about the feeling I got by trying on my first tailored suit. That’s okay. 
 
Ask any woman who cares about how she looks and she will tell you how important it is to feel good in what she wears. Men are no different. We just don’t talk about it as openly as women do.
 
Business professionals want to look good in their suits or business casual attire but they don’t believe in spending “that much” on tailored clothes. Following are nine reasons why you should buy a tailored suit, even though you think you can’t afford it.
 

Reason # 9 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
Quality products last a long time. Plain and simple. 
 
Remember that green steel refrigerator your parents had when you were a kid. It was in the kitchen for more than 20 years. That’s because it was built with quality materials through a quality process. It lasted for what seemed like forever.  
 
A tailored suit that is built just for you, will be the same. It will last for much longer than an off-the-rack suit that doesn’t fit. 
 
Since it will last longer, you won’t need to buy new suits as frequently. Therefore, you’ll end up spending less by buying a tailored suit.
 

Reason # 8 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
You are one of the best at your profession. That’s doesn’t mean you’re one of the best at everything you do. You may be stylish but still could use some advice.
 
A good tailor or haberdasher can be a tremendous source of advice for you. Not only will he/she make sure your tailored suit fits appropriately, he/she will keep you up on the trends and styles and what color, fabrics and types of suit should be in your wardrobe.
 
Want some free advice without going to a haberdasher? Check out Real Men Real Style for some legit advice.
 

Reason # 7 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
Buying off-the-rack suits is a huge hassle. You have to drive to the store, try on different suits to see what fits and feels good, get them measured for certain tailoring (nothing even close to bespoke tailoring though), leave and then return to pick it up when the suit is finished. That’s all assuming you don’t need to go to multiple stores to find what you want.
 
That is a lot of time you don’t need to spend. Buying a suit from a company like Tom James reduces the hassle because the haberdasher comes to you. He/she can come to your house, your office or anywhere of your choosing. 
 
When the suit is built and ready, he/she will bring it to you to try on. If there are any adjustments that need to be made, he/she will take it with them, get the corrections made and bring it back to you. You don’t ever have to step out of your home or office.
 
Now that is convenient!
 

Reason # 6 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
How many times have you gone shopping for clothes but couldn’t find exactly what you wanted? With bespoke tailoring, that problem goes away. You get what you want.
 
Of course, you’ll get the right fitting suit (which is obviously a better option that buying off the rack). But you’ll also get the following options, plus whatever else you can imagine:
 
a. Types of fabric
b. Style of print
c. Linings
d. Types of buttons
e. Pockets
f.  Name labels
g. Vent types
 

Reason # 5 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
This goes without saying, a fully tailored suit made to fit your height, weight, width, shoulder slope and every special thing about your body type is going to look better than an off-the-rack suit. 
 
Period.
 

Reason # 4 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
If a bespoke suit fits correctly and looks great, it’s going to feel good too. There’s no point in looking good if you don’t feel good about what you’re wearing. 
 
Speaking from experience, any time I put on one of my tailored suits, I feel like a million bucks. It’s just a feeling that comes over me that I’m meant to be in the suit and my day is going to go even better than planned. Everything will be right with my world that day.
 
Add a French-cuff dress shirt, stylish cuff links and tie and freshly polished Allen Edmonds shoes to top off the look. There’s not much better.
 

Reason # 3 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
People notice a sharp dressed man. Think about it … you do too. You might not desire to be made a spectacle because of how well you look, but you want certain people to notice you.
 
It’s almost impossible to overcome a negative first impression. A tailored suit (at least one in a classic style and design) can almost guarantee a good first impression.
 
Let’s say you finally got an appointment with your number one prospect. When you pick your suit and tie out the night before in anticipation of your meeting the next morning, are you going to pick the suit from when you were 20 pounds heavier or the one you had made the month before?
 
You’re going to pick the one that gives you the best opportunity to make the sale. Standing out in a good way definitely won’t hurt that effort!
 
 

Reason # 2 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
If you’re a millennial, your dedication and loyalty to your employer and career are in question on a daily basis. The generations in front of you don’t believe you take anything seriously.
 
Buying and wearing tailored suits, is a way to show your dedication. You wouldn’t spend more money than needed for a bespoke suit unless you planned on wearing it frequently.
 
Besides, your bosses and clients admiring your professional demeanor (which includes your look) can do nothing but have a positive impact on your career.
 

Reason # 1 to Buy a Tailored Suit

 
And finally…the number one reason why you should buy a tailored suit.
 
You can afford it!
 
Just because a tailored suit is more expensive than one off the rack does not mean you can’t afford it. 
 
Consider a tailored suit a major purchase. Plan and save for it like you would a beach vacation. There’s a big difference between a beach vacation and buying a tailored suit though – you only get to experience that vacation for a few days. The suit will last forever. 
 
To be frank then, you simply cannot afford to not buy a tailored suit. The benefits to your self-esteem, earnings potential, career and influence are unlimited! 
 
Disclosure: Certain links above are affiliate links/ads. When you see the incredible value from these links and purchase, I will get a small commission. You will not, however, pay any extra.

8 Simple Ways to Get Noticed More Often on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool for researching people. You can search for people by title, expertise, company and name. LinkedIn will even show you people with whom you might like to connect. 
 
That’s great for you researching other people. 
 
 
Can other people find you during a search? Does LinkedIn identify you as someone that person might want to connect with? Do you or your activity show up in that person’s feed?
 
You can make getting noticed on LinkedIn much easier by taking certain deliberate actions. For the remainder of this article, you will discover eight simple ways to get noticed more often on LinkedIn.
 

How to Get Noticed on LinkedIn

 

1. Share and Comment

 
As with most social media platforms, the like (thumbs up, heart, etc.) function is overused. Sure, it’s nice to express that you like someone’s post. To get noticed, however, don’t just like a post, share and comment on it as well.
 
If you share a post, add a comment to it to express why you are sharing it. The person who originally shared/wrote the post will get notified of your share. They may get notified if you like a post as well but popular influencers turn off that function because it would be too overwhelming.
 
If you don’t want to share the post with your followers, but want to express something to the person who posted it, comment on it. Make it a worthwhile comment too. Simply writing, “Great Post,” “Terrific” or “Totally agree” is just about the same as “liking” the post. If you are going to comment, add to the content. Make your comment valuable to the other readers.
 

2. Curate Content

 
What does it mean to curate content? It means you share content from others that is posted somewhere besides LinkedIn. 
 
When you read an article on, let’s say, Inc.com, that is relevant to your followers and consistent with your personal brand, curate it. Share that article to LinkedIn and any other social media platforms that make sense.
 
The majority of content I share on my LinkedIn feed is curated from sites like Inc.com, SwitchandShift.com and LindseyPollak.com. Almost all sites have social sharing buttons on them to make it easy for you to share.
 
When you share those articles, be sure to tag the author, if possible, in the comment you add to the share. 
 
In a later article, I’ll share some easy ways to curate content.
 

3. Write Pulse Articles

 
Pulse was originally released for selected LinkedIn influencers. Now, however, everyone has the opportunity to public articles on LinkedIn’s blogging platform.
 
Once you publish the article, and tag it appropriately, you can monitor how well it performs by using the statistics within the platform. Just like blogs, people can comment and share it as well. 
 
You will, of course, want to share it multiple times to your followers.
 
If you want to publish on Pulse, you can get to it from your homepage on LinkedIn. Click the “Write an Article” button at the top of the homepage, as seen below.
 

 

4. Update Your Profile Often

 
Your profile can get outdated quickly and you won’t even realize it. Update it often so it is always up-to-date. 
 
Updating your profile often is a good strategy for getting noticed on LinkedIn. The platform has a setting that when you update your profile, your followers and connections will get notified. There are two methods for activating this setting. 
 
The first is in the Settings function. See the screen shot below
 
The second method is easier and can be seen when you are in the “Edit Profile” mode. When you are editing your profile, simply toggle the switch at the right to the “Yes” position if you want your followers to see your update.
 
 
I’ve made the mistake about leaving this setting on when making certain profile settings. You can read all about that LinkedIn snafu by clicking the following link:
 
 

5. Look at Others’ Profiles

 
One of my favorite aspects of LinkedIn is to see who looked at my profile. If it is someone I haven’t talked to in awhile or someone with whom I’d like to connect, I’ll send that person an email or a LinkedIn message.
 
If you want to get noticed by a specific person and don’t have the ability to connect with him/her, look at his/her profile. Don’t just do it once. Do it a couple of times a week for a few weeks. After that, send that person an email, an inMail or call him/her on the phone. 
 
The simple act of looking at that person’s profile will make your name recognizable. 
 

6. Continually Add Connections

 
Naturally, the more connections you make on LinkedIn, the more people will notice you – those people with whom you connect. Your followers and other connections will see when you connect with someone new, depending on their preferences for what they see in their feed.
 
Connect with more people, more people will want to connect with you and then you’ll be able to connect with even more people. 
 

7.  Participate in Groups

 
LinkedIn used to permit a user to join only 50 groups. Fifty may seem like too many to you but it really isn’t. Of the groups you join, you’ll discover several will not be worth being a member. The activity won’t be that great.
 
That doesn’t mean, however, there aren’t some very good groups to join within LinkedIn. 
 
Groups are not as valuable, or as easy get the value from, as in the past. You can still find some, though, that will help you get noticed. To get noticed in a group, you need to be active.
 
Most groups have turned into linkfests. Don’t participate in those. Be social. Comment on other members’ posts, ask questions, be human.
 

8.Use Keywords in your Profile

 
LinkedIn is a gigantic search engine. No, it’s not as big as Google or YouTube but it’s still big. Better than those other two sites, LinkedIn is specifically for business professionals. 
 
What keywords should you use in your profile? That’s simple. Use the ones that people would use to find you. 
 
Use the name in your profile that you believe people would use to search for you. Use it multiple times in your profile. If you google your name, your profile, if written well, should be one of the first search results.
 
Also use terms related to your profession, (CPA), your position (manager) and services provided (audits). 

 

Do You Have to Do All of These?

 
Of course you don’t have to do all of these every day to get noticed more often on LinkedIn. Each will help but some will only help a little. 
 
You don’t have hours to spend each day, even each week? Do you have an hour each week? Sure you do. Break that hour into 10 minutes each day and you get six days of activity.
 
Pick a few of these to do. If I did just three of these 8, I’d curate content, share and comment on articles and set my profile up with keywords. With keywords, you can do it once and leave it for a while. Then you would only have to take two actions each day. 
 
LinkedIn is a valuable resource but you have to know how to use it. Having a profile is not enough anymore. Use LinkedIn to help create your personal brand. Use it to help you show how much you can help your clients.
 
Question for you: What other ways have you found useful to get noticed on LinkedIn? If you have questions about LinkedIn, please reach out to me via the contact page.
 

Success Comes from Investing in Your Career for the Long-Term

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, hosts a weekly podcast titled Rule Breaker Investing. In a recent episode, he discussed one of his long-term goals being to get rid of the term “long-term investor.” He argues the term is redundant. If one is investing, it is always for the long-term. People who buy and sell securities on a short-term basis are not investors, they are traders.

investing in your career for the long-term

Regarding investing, I completely agree with him. Investing and trading both including buying assets in the hopes of value appreciation or making a return. However, only investing has a long-term focus.

Likewise, you can take a long-term or a short-term focus on your career.

When you’re a teen, or even in college, it might be okay to have a short-term focus on your career. Actually, it’s more likely a short-term focus on a job. You didn’t have a career back then, you had a job. It served one purpose – to make money.

After college, however, you started your career. That first place of employment, hopefully, was to serve as the springboard for the remainder of your career.

The Differences between Investing in Your Career for the Long-term and Short-term

What is the real difference between investing in your career for the long-term and investing in it for the short-term? Obviously the difference is a matter of focus on time. 

Employees who focus on the short-term in their careers typically focus only on the amount of money they can make. If they can jump to a different employer and make just a couple of thousand dollars more, they’ll do it.

I’m not saying that is necessarily the wrong thing to do. Each person needs to make a decision for him or herself. 

If you’re focused on investing in your career for the long-term though, you’d make a decision based on how staying with the same company or moving to a different company will impact your career for the next five plus years. You make the choice based on the long-term, not the short-term.

Sometimes, those decisions are based on lifestyle as much as, if not more than, the increase in pay. You should be able to have a life and work. If you work all the time, what good is that really? I learned that lesson in my career…

5 Tips for Investing in Your Career for the Long-term

Now that we agree investing in your career must contain a long-term focus, what actions can you take to help you achieve long-term success in your career? Let’s look at five tips that will help you have that long-term focus.

Focus on Personal Development

No matter what you do in your life, personal development is important. Developing yourself is the greatest long-term investment you can make for your career and your personal life. 

Most people want to get better. Too many people though don’t create a personal development plan. Instead, they leave it all up to chance.

“I’ll read that book when I have time.”

That time never comes if you take that approach.  

Make a plan to improve in all areas of your life. You won’t regret it.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

You can get really comfortable doing the same tasks every day at work. As long as it’s still enjoyable, you can do the same thing day after day. That’s good but to really succeed in your career you’ll need to expand beyond your current responsibilities. 

You’ll need to take a few chances and not be afraid to change. You’ll want to ask for different and more challenging responsibilities.

I’ll give you an example from my career.

Within the first two years of my career, I in-charged several engagement’s called “directors’ exams.” I got really efficient with these types of engagements. Regardless of the staff I worked with, we would finish up a directors’ exam in about two-and-a-half days. Before this, it would take some people a full week to complete these jobs.

The more efficient and effective I became, the more money the firm would make. That was great for the firm. It was also great for my confidence.

There was one problem though.

I got bored!

At the point I determined I couldn’t do those engagements anymore, I chose to talk with my boss. I told him I was bored and wanted something more difficult to work on.

Naturally, I couldn’t just be taken off those jobs entirely but my schedule did change. I was scheduled on more difficult and more rewarding jobs. 

That decision to speak up greatly helped my career.

Be a Generalist

Studies have shown that generalist CEOs make more money than specialist CEOs. Read this article from Cláudia Custódio with the W.P. Carey School of Business of Arizona State University and discover what she says about the topic.

Think about it. CEOs who are good communicators, are visionaries and lead by example have the ability to achieve excellence. They rely on the ability of people with different strengths than their own. 

This is the same reason employees really good at performing a certain task do not make good managers of people with those same tasks. Just because you’re a good sale person does not mean you’ll be a good leader of salespeople.

Early in your career you’ll need to become an expert at something. Do that but also seek out ways to do other things. Take on other projects and learn new skills. Most importantly though, learn to be a better communicator.

Build Your Personal Brand

What you do right now in your career can have a lasting impact on your career. If you want to invest in your career for the long-term, you need to build your personal brand

Whatever you put on social media today will be online forever. Make sure what you post agrees with the brand you’re trying to build. Regardless of how old a social media post is, it could come back to haunt you.

Your brand is more than your online presence, although very important, it is everything you do. Build your brand now to what you want it to be and it will open doors for you in the future.

Build Relationships

“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.”

We’ve all heard this saying before. It may not seem fair but it is true. The relationships you build can provide you with opportunities down the road. 

Don’t confuse relationships with acquaintances though. 

Acquaintances can be helpful but they won’t put themselves on the line for you. People with whom you have build a close relationship will. You’ll do the same.

Remember though that when you align yourself with someone, make sure that person will represent your brand well. 

Start Investing in Your Career Now

It’s never too late to start investing in your career for the long-term. 

Start now. 

Looking to the future is always a good practice. However, you can’t forget about the here and now. If you don’t perform at a high level now, you can kiss the future goodbye. 

Start investing in your career now by working hard, excelling at everything you do and thinking about the future.

Question for you:  What have you done to invest in your career for the long-term?

3 Opportunities for Building Your Personal Brand this Holiday

building your personal brand

Black Friday in the United States gives an opportunity for certain people to show their true colors. You’re heard the news reports and watched the videos online where crazy shoppers run over fellow shoppers in the rush to get the day’s bargain. Not only will they run someone over in the name of materiality and greed, they will also start fights in the middle of a store.

As NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter would say, “Come on man!”
 
Not all news about Black Friday was so bad though. Certain companies within Corporate America used the beginning to this holiday shopping season to boost their corporate brands.
 
Most notable of these companies was REI, the outdoor products and apparel retailer. As this Gallup article states, instead of telling employees they would be working extra hours and need to miss Thanksgiving dinner with their families because of early Black Friday sales, REI decided to close its stores on the day after Thanksgiving.
 
Yes, you read that correctly.
 
Since their inception, they’ve promoted the enjoyment of the outdoors. With the decision to be closed on Black Friday, they encouraged employees to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy their families. 
 
That’s a clear demonstration of taking the opportunity to enhance the brand REI has been building for years.
 

Opportunities for building your personal brand

 
Building a brand is not just for companies. You have a personal brand as well.
 
When is the last time you intentionally took the opportunity for building your personal brand?
 
Below are three opportunities you have for building your personal brand during the holiday season.
 

Opportunity Number 1 – Start the Year with a Bang

 
Not much business usually happens during the last couple weeks of the year. Imagine what your boss would say if you changed that paradigm…
 
There are a couple of ways you can use the holiday season at the end of the year to build a strong personal brand.
 

1. Sell some work

 
You’ve been working your tail off all year networking, building relationships and promoting your services. Bring it all together at the end of the year and push something through.
 
It doesn’t really matter how much the services will be for that you sell. Just sell something so you can come in to the office on January 4 and tell your boss that you sold some work. 
 
You’ll be a superstar.
 
Only rainmakers make it rain over the holidays. Everyone else experiences a draught.
 

2. Get caught up

 
While it’s nice to take a lot of time off over the holidays, it’s also nice to use the slow time of year to catch up on work.
 
If your spouse will allow you to not take as much time off as usual, use a few days to catch up on all your work. That way, you will start the year with a fresh outlook.
 
You won’t come back to work stressed that you have so much to do. You’ll still have work but not a pile of it.
 
Don’t get all the way caught up though. You still want to have work to do when January rolls around. 
 
I’ve always said there are only three times when you’ll be caught up: Your first day on the job, your last day on the job and the day you die.
 
You don’t want to experience any of those three this holiday season.
 

3. Be giving

 
Are you known as a person who is always giving or always taking? Maybe you give as much as you take. If you envision building your person brand that will help you succeed, you want to be a giver.
 
You can give your time and your money for charitable purposes. These are wonderful ways to give during the holidays. Hopefully, though, you do not wish to just be building your personal brand based on that kind of giving. 
 
In my opinion, EVERY form of charitable giving should be for the purpose of giving, not for the purpose of promotion. 
 
As Simon Sinek would say, “Making money cannot be your why. It is a result and will always be a result” [paraphrased].
 
I love hearing about anonymous gifts to charities during the holidays, or any time of year for that matter. The people who do that, deserve to be praised but don’t want or expect it!
 
You can also give to your clients and co-workers. It’s a perfect time of year demonstrate your thankfulness to them. 
 
Send a hand-written note with more than “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” on it. Make it personal. Show you care. 
 
If you have the means to do so, send a small gift as well. Make it something useful and heartfelt. If possible, tie it to something you’ve talked with that person about.
 

Be Consistent and Intentional

 
REI made a splash this Thanksgiving by promoting its brand of living for the outdoors. It did something great for its employees and customers.
 
Companies like Chic-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby live their brands throughout the year by being closed on Sundays. Imagine how much revenue they could gain by being open on Sundays. It doesn’t matter to them. 
 
We’re not yet sure about REI as to whether not being open on Black Friday was in true support of its mission or whether its just for publicity. It doesn’t really matter because it helped it enhance its brand. 
 
We do know that Chic-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby live their brands because they do not open on Sundays…year after year.
 
Are you going to take the opportunity for building your personal brand this holiday season like REI did for its brand? I hope so. 
 
Better yet, will you be consistent and intentional to build your personal brand like Chic-Fil-A does?
 
In the end, your actions need to be both consistent and intentional. It can’t be a one-time thing or every now and then. A brand represents consistency. 
 
Question for you: How will you go about building your personal brand to start the new year?