Feel Powerful Everyday | Podcast with Rachel Yvonne

Wisdom and coffee. Bernard P Achampong guested on Rachel Yvonne‘s weekly podcast. On this episode, Bernard shares 5 ways we can feel powerful everyday! Practical and pithy. Grab a coffee yourself and give it 10 mins. Share with hashtag #iampowerful

Make PR a priority for your business in 2014!

However brilliant your product or service, if nobody knows about it then your business will struggle to make sales, and a business without sales is a failure in motion.

Here are some tips from PR expert Jessica Huie on how to make sure your business is planted firmly in the awareness of your target audience in 2014:

• Inject your human interest story into your branding

Nothing is more powerful than authenticity in PR. If you genuinely believe that your business adds value to your customer’s lives, then its important to communicate that personally. By being visible rather than relying on your faceless brand to sell itself, you allow your customers the opportunity to understand the ethos behind your brand and your business values, and if you are marketing to the right audience then your values will resonate with them and make them more likely to buy. 

We live in a society overwhelmed by choice, which make it all the more necessary to let your customers understand your own personal human-interest story. Do this by asking yourself what the inspiration behind your business was, what is your vision? How are you improving, changing or inventing something which will benefit your audience? Give your customers an insight into the entrepreneur behind the business through your PR materials and watch how effective this PR approach can be.

• Be patient and consistent

PR unlike advertising is not a quick hit. It requires a consistent and ongoing effort in order to be most effective. A customer’s buying journey begins with awareness followed by familiarity before moving to consideration purchase and then loyalty. So the more that customers become aware of your brand the better – hence where the outdated all publicity is good publicity line comes from. Equally unlike advertising (which is more expensive,) PR is not guaranteed. It requires the creation of a news angle e.g.; ‘Huie’s brand secure record sales targets in Selfridges,’ ‘Celebrities endorse Huie’s brand,’ in order to capture the imagination of the media and inspire them to write about you/your business.

• Create a 12 month plan

If we consider the first part of the year, New Years Day, Valentines, Mother’s Day, these occasions may well have an impact on your customer’s buying patterns. Creating a press release which is ‘pegged’ on to these occasions will increase your chance of securing media interest, so plan ahead and be aware of media lead times so you don’t miss out on a PR opportunity.


• Stay abreast of current affairs and their relevance to your business

If we look at the stories currently in the media, Rail fare increases, 100 year jail sentences considered, the Princes Trust survey findings that three quarters of a million young people in the UK have nothing to live for due to unemployment levels, each of these news stories may represent a PR opportunity depending on your business or service. By staying aware of current news you can include reactive PR into your strategy as well as proactive, producing press releases offering a contribution to a current news debate, a solution to a problem being discussed or an alternate opinion.

• Truly understand your customer

A useful exercise is spending time thinking about your customer in depth. Where do they live, how old are they, where do they grocery shop, go on holiday, are they property owners? Once you can answer these questions you’ll begin to create a picture of your customer which will allow you to easily move on to the next point…

• Seek out ideal potential partners for cross promotion

By truly understanding your customer you can identify other brands that share your target market. This synergy create the perfect opportunity to collaborate with brands who may be bigger or more established than you and cross promote by marketing to their audience as well as your own and of course returning the favour. List five brands that are not your competition, but share your target audience as your partnership targets.

• Be giving

It was one of rap music’s richest entrepreneurs, Russell Simmons who said “you can never get before you give.” It’s a blueprint which can be hugely effective once you work out what you can actually afford to give away.

Free stuff creates a buzz, creates awareness, encourages people to try your products, creates positive brand association and a buying habit. In this era its easy to create a product designed purely to be given away free. Think E-books and audio tapes, the ideas are endless.


• Be creative

Creativity for me, is the best part of PR. Unlike advertising, which has a very set agenda and sales pitch, PR is whatever you decide to make it. Are you a fashion brand? Then create a piece for the royal baby, run a take-away food chain? Deliver to the homeless on Christmas day. PR can do good whilst creating opportunities to secure media coverage in the process.

• Think global

Your business reach is only as limited as your mindset. If you or your PR team are creating a press release then why limit your focus to the UK? The vast majority of media is also online now and if your business is international then you’d be crazy not to raise awareness globally. That said, focus on one territory at a time for maximum impact.

• Ensure you have effective tools

Undeniably the most important tip. Your press release is your business shop window and will create a first impression. Ensure it is professional, and includes all of the crucial information, and use the first paragraph to sum up your news angle succinctly. 

Jessica Huie, Founder of JH Public Relations and Color blind Cards is an entrepreneur with 15 years media experience, having worked with some of the UK’s best known celebrities, entrepreneurs and brands. 

JH PR’s Do Your Own PR package includes a tailored press release, founder’s biog and media contact list and is priced at £300. 

To kick off 2014 with an affordable PR campaign that impacts, contact JH Public Relations info@jhpr.co.uk 0203 282 7577 www.JHPR.co.uk

Eddie Obeng: Smart failure for a fast-changing world

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize, says business educator Eddie Obeng — and creative output cannot keep up. In this spirited talk, he highlights three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of “smart failure.”

Our environment changes faster than we can learn about it, Eddie Obeng says. How do we keep up? Via Ted Talks

Being Super: How To Endure Your Day Job

You have a personal ambition, dream or big idea that you’re working on before, after and sometimes during work to make it happen. There is nothing more frustrating than enduring a day job that you no longer have any interest in. It seems pointless. It saps your energy and anything that could possibly provoke you, probably will. In short, it would be better for everyone if you just quit… right?

Oh except the small matter of bills, mortgage, credit cards, car payments and child care. Hmm, perhaps there’s another way. For some the next sentence will feel like a banshee screaming into their very soul:

“You could simply hand in your resignation and invest every waking moment into that big idea that just refuses to leave your head or your heart.”

For those who haven’t fainted after reading that, there’s a less dramatic option – ride it out. Ride it out with a plan.

If you find yourself caught between the rock of a regular income and the hard place of pursuing your big idea; here are a few tips that may help this transition period feel less like purgatory and more like a stairway to heaven.

Take the moneyAccept it.

They give you money and you do the work!  That’s the deal.  Recognise that you are using your skills, knowledge and experience to work for an organisation or individual who rewards with a wage. That’s it. That’s the truth. Accept it without feeling too emotional about it.  Don’t expect hugs or kisses. This is often difficult when you joined a business to contribute to its values and passions, but along the way those have disappeared. That’s not your fault and it’s not theirs. Think like this: “I simply give them my skills for a number of hours a day and they pay me for those hours”.  It will also feel less like a burden if you give yourself a definite leaving date – three months, twelve months or eighteen months away.


Respect it.

Stop trying to come up with excuses not to go to work. Your day job can do a lot for you.  Firstly, it does help you pay your bills today, and chances are it’s a more established brand than your own big idea. It can teach you a lot about running systems, collaborating with clients and suppliers, and working in teams. Use the time you have left to learn more about your colleagues. “What does the guy with the retro glasses do? What software do they use to manage the pay roll? How do they plan holiday cover?” Seeing the day job as an opportunity to learn about running a business might give you a new passion for it.


Leverage it.

It’s a fancy way of saying making the most of what you’ve got. As well as it being your secret school for learning business insights, there may be more overt training opportunities open to you. Whether its direct training related to your job or other areas that you might be interested in (something to support your big idea perhaps), why not see if you can get tooled up with more skills and competencies. This could be class room based, online tutorials, being part of a new project or a career coach. Remember all those personal development sessions you were too busy to do?  Now is the time.  All of these will add to your CV and competence.

Prepare for it.

Your day job is as close to a gift horse as you will get. One that frustrates and undervalues your full potential but a gift horse nonetheless. So while you have that gift, save a bit of money to carry you over the first few months after you quit. It does mean that you will need to be more disciplined with your spending (no more impulse buying of shoes) and setting out a budget for yourself. If you work at it diligently for three months, it will begin to feel easier.  It will also help you budget for your big idea.

Plan it.

You want to leave now but are you prepared? You’ve cut out the indulgent restaurant dinners and shopping sprees, so you will find you have a few extra evenings on your hands. It’s now time to take stock of everything you need to get your big idea off the ground. This way, on the day you walk out of your day job you will have a clear action plan of what you need to do. Could you do anything about the big idea now?  Register the company name and website? Write a business map or practice your pitch? Find a graphic designer? Start networking? With clear time-scales you can plan everything you need to get you set up in advance.


Get Help.

Find a friend who is as invested in your big idea as you are to keep you motivated. Better yet, get a Coach or mentor who will help keep you on track. The likelihood is that without this help you will get bogged down in the demands of your day job – trust your boss to always have an urgent, last minute task up their sleeve. The best way to do this is to have someone else (other than yourself) hold you to your word… “I will start my big idea in six months and here’s what I need to do to get there”. A good Coach will assist you to prioritise, structure and action your big idea while you lend your skills to your day job.

Remember that your day job has a purpose. It helps you pay for the things you need today.  However, it is merely a finite resource. You may get a pay rise, but you don’t control how much. You might be getting a good commission, but to get great commission you’ll have to spend less time on your big idea, your family or whatever else makes you more happy than the day job.

If you are staying with your day job for a bit longer, we hope these tips have given you a ray of hope for the last few months of suffering your tiresome boss and soulless work. No offence, of course.

Richard Branson’s five top tips to starting a successful business

Richard BransonVia LinkedIn

‘As LinkedIn is a business that started in a living room, much like Virgin began in a basement, I thought my first blog on the site should be about how to simply start a successful business. Here are five top tips I’ve picked up over the years.


1. Listen more than you talk

We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea! To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, or asking the frontline staff for their opinions as often as the CEOs. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them.


2. Keep it simple

You have to do something radically different to stand out in business. But nobody ever said different has to be complex. There are thousands of simple business solutions to problems out there, just waiting to be solved by the next big thing in business. Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse.


3. Take pride in your work

Last week I enjoyed my favourite night of the year, the Virgin Stars of the Year Awards, where we celebrated some of those people who have gone the extra mile for us around the Virgin world. With so many different companies, nationalities and personalities represented under one roof, it was interesting to see what qualities they all have in common. One was pride in their work, and in the company they represent. Remember your staff are your biggest brand advocates, and focusing on helping them take pride will shine through in how they treat your customers.


4. Have fun, success will follow

If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will fluorish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.


5. Rip it up and start again

If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture isn’t a success, welcome to the club! Every successful businessperson has experienced a few failures along the way – the important thing is how you learn from them. Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead dust yourself off and work out what went wrong. Then you can find the positives, analyse where you can improve, rip it up and start again.

Kevin Allen – author of The Hidden Agenda and famed for pitching the ‘Priceless’ campaign for MasterCard – shares his thoughts on connecting emotionally with what is important to your client.

“The hidden agenda is the unspoken, emotional motivation that resides in the heart of your audience. This emotional core is the true motivator behind every decision.”