Let’s get started on getting you financially on track through these 10 simple steps!

1.     Make Your Wallet Your Friend: This in essence means that you should be speaking to your wallet not at it on a daily basis. You speak at your wallet when you expect it to provide financial answers to your daily needs-i.e coffee, tickets, shopping etc. Your wallet is your friend for life-so let it be your compass for indicating where and on what items you can and cannot afford-this will save you time, energy and effort.


2.     Become Financially Fluent: Learn to speak the language of finance-this happens when you spend time investigating your finances. This will also enable you to better communicate with your wallet. There is a language behind every financial success and failure. What is the language behind yours? Where do you spend money? As a matter of fact-how do you spend money?


3.     Divide and Conquer: What are your wants as opposed to your needs. Your needs must be attended to while your wants can wait. Your needs are priority like shelter, food and clothes but they become wants when there is surplus-i.e you decide to order take away on a daily basis instead of cooking your meals or having a meal prep plan if you work late. The problem here begins when we see our wants as our needs and the issue is our wants get us into a financial fix. But practice makes perfect. So when you have that urge for burgers-go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients to make it yourself. Google is your friend if you don’t know how. This not only enables you to become more conversant with your needs but it enables you to mature in your wants. For instance you need a coat but do you need it in different shades? Of course not! When you make your finances your friend, you begin to understand where your financial triggers are. And this allows you to develop self-control which means you let your wallet do the walking which means your wallet begins to lead you into where your finances are worth the investment so you don’t waste your money or your time.


4.     Carry Cash: I like to call credit cards the “cradle of debt” because this is usually where it begins. This is because when you spend money you can’t see, you spend money you don’t have. The problem here is it makes you financially blind and unaware of your expenses. When you have cash-you are reminded each time you dip into your wallet of your financial situation. It is a constant reminder that you do not have money to spend that you do not have which in turn makes you more careful with your finances.


5.     The Sale Struggle: Just because there is a sale going on at your favorite clothing store, does not mean you have to break the bank. Make a list of the items you need not the items you want. Another tip is to give yourself a limit on the items you want if there is room for such an indulgence this way you are constantly accessing your finances from a logical rather than an emotional vantage point. I like to say money speaks fast because where your money is, is where your mind is so if your mind is on that jacket and the different occasions-mind you occasions-you can wear it, your money will quickly talk you into a financial pit.


6.     Treat Yo. Self-This may sound counter intuitive but you have to learn to invest where you can experience financial comfort without breaking the bank-this may include saving to spend on a spa treat once a month, ordering in once a week/month depending on your budget-but the goal here is to reward yourself for your financial independent strides.


7.     Save Space-Learn to save space for future constraints. Teach yourself the art of saving money-make a note to try and save money each week that would not be spent on any other area but towards a future desire. This will give you a reason to save and the mindset to sustain you through the process of saving. Make that future desire flexible so you can also learn to adapt your saving strategy as you grow over time.


8.     Cut Costs Where You Can- Make lunch instead of buying lunch. Wait till there is a sale to purchase those shoes you don’t need for this present season. Look for discount items in the store that you need. Make your own coffee and take it to work instead of going to a coffee shop. This will also help you assess your finances consistently, which in turn makes you better as practice makes perfect.


9.     Save To Serve- This is a concept that I invented-it means where can you serve your audience and save for yourself? For instance, your business might be more valuable/cheaper online than a physical store, which saves you money and could also serve your audience better as it may make purchases easier, they can view items faster and they can also share with their friends! This is a save to serve mindset-you put your money where your mouth is-you save money where it least benefits your audience in terms of service and you invest money where you can both get a financial return on your investment.


These steps will enable you to better access your spending and splurging habits!

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Building a brand is a boss mindset-congratulations! But here are quick principles to help you navigate your way through this new adventure!

1. Identity: Your brand needs an identity. Let’s break this down-who you are as a person will affect how your brand is perceived as a product. This means if you don’t yet have a personal identity, how do you expect to cultivate a professional one? So let me ask you: how does your brand represent who you are? This exercise will help you flesh out your brand and give it a personality. A personality is essential for any successful brand because it means it becomes flexible-people can relate with your brand on a personal level and that is the core of any successful business. Identity will also enable your brand become a natural magnet to attract and engage your target audience. For instance, let’s take a look at successful brands like Facebook-you can relate to Facebook on a personal and practical level becomes it gives you the freedom to be yourself. The same principle applies with Instagram and even Snapchat. Your brand has a personality. Nike for instance-you can see who Nike would be as a person: sporty, energetic, healthy! That is a brand identity right there! This means Nike is relatable, its engaging, its is malleable, it can fit into any demographic without being constrained by one particular set of circumstances.

2. Message:  Another key aspect of your brand’s identity is your message. Once more, to find your message you need to find yourself. Why? Because to find your message you need to find your voice. And to find your voice you need to know who you are: how do your circumstances relate to your business? Why have you chosen to start helping people in this particular platform? What are the core principles of your business? These are all elements of your message that can only be located in your voice-your story-which in essence is your identity. What did you experience that led you to decide you want to open a production line, a marketing service, a designing platform? What in essence, is the inspiration behind your motivation?
When you key into the inspiration behind your motivation you are able to tap into the vocals behind your voice. All that would be required at this stage is inhalation and exhalation. You inhale all aspects of your story that relate and connect and animate your brand and exhale all aspects of your story that clutter your message. This would require highlighting areas of your story that connect with your brand to be able to shine the light on your brand in the right set of circumstances without infecting your message in the process. This allows your brand to breathe easily.
This in turn means you have to learn how to communicate your message to your audience in a way that showcases your brand as a body they can relate to.

3. Unity: There should be unity in your approach, your message and your voice. Think about a competitive athlete? How many times have you seen an advert for Michael Phelps advertising McDonalds? It doesn’t happen and you know why? Because there is no unity-your brand’s message has to be united to your core values. There should be unity that should be evident on the platform you choose to share and advertise your brand. This means you don’t say yes to every single opportunity that comes your way if it does not symbolize or unify with your brand. Think about your personality for instance-you don’t necessarily gel with everyone you meet because you do not have similarities now apply that to your brand. So pay attention to where, how and why you are presenting your brand. There should be similarity in the colors running through each platform-they should blend seamlessly because where your brand has unity it is able to grow comfortably.

4. Stability: This is different from unity because stability means you need to commit and be consistent with your message. Ensure your brand is displayed in one simple message that enables its personality, identity and functionality to be communicated effectively. And this in essence means stability. This will enable it to be easily understood and easily accessible to your audience’s mindset. If there is not stability there is chaos and one powerful presence that could wreck your brand in seconds is confusion. Look at the case of Ryan Lochte-not sure why I keep using Olympic Swimmers but lets just go with the analogy lol. Okay Ryan Lochte lied about his experience in the Rio 2016 Olympics and this seriously affected the credibility of his brand (he was dropped by four major sponsors in one day)-it confused his message. This means there was no stability between the brand he attempted to portray and the message he was communicating-hence there was confusion.

5. Functionality: When your brand is stable it can function. This means where the prior building blocks mentioned have been placed you would be able to focus on the functionality of your brand i.e its utility. The more organic aspects of your brand that will enable it to grow. Imagine your brand was a seed planted in the soil that is your platform and the message is the garden-stability is the water. Now your brand is ready to bloom and this requires nutrients. Functionality consists of the nutrients. These are the elements that make your brand special and your message stand out. Its different for every business and changes depending on the season your brand is currently in. But as long as you continue to water that garden and feed it those nutrients your platform will change and this in turn attracts your target audience which in this metaphor would be the bees that come to taste the nectar of your plant-the business. Side note: I love my analogies!

Now to explain more on functionality-elements of your nutrients will depend on you answering key questions like what is the routine of your target audience? What is their schedule? Where do they hang out? These are important because it will affect the way your brand i.e the plant grows and in turn will affect the type of bees (audience) you are trying to attract.
This takes time but this is why stability is the prior step and the irony is it can be wrecked in a second as we have already seen. Hence, you need to ensure that although you may have an idea about your audience’s routine you have to figure out the specific combination of nutrients and the time it should be applied to be able to get maximum results which is something you learn as you go. It requires testing, and adapting and moving according to your brand to figure out where the strongest points are.

These are 5 branding secrets every business should apply and when done just right it allows your brand to not only bloom but to flourish!

What other branding secrets have worked for your business?

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