My 100-Day Challenge!

My 100-Day Challenge!

By May of this year, one of our major clients hadn’t paid us for 2 months work, and then the news broke that its European arm had filed for insolvency. At that point, we had several projects ongoing and we were told we would be paid, so based on good faith we worked until the end of May, at which point our total outstanding balance was just under £40,000.

I have my goals, dreams, and ambitions, and I wasn’t going to let a client’s insolvency, or a pandemic stop me from achieving them! I hadn’t come this far to only come this far! Therefore, in the middle of May, based on the awful news from our client, I made a decision which was going to have an impact on my personal life but would hopefully help safeguard the immediate future of my business. I had decided to go for my 100-Day Challenge – for 100 days, I would be doing business development every single day, without fail, including weekends, no excuses. Truth be told, I had no other choice. Getting angry and worrying about the £40,000 wasn’t going to help me. As I’ve said in my vlogs and blogs before when faced with a problem, I look for solutions – and this was my solution, working my arse off to protect my business and keep dreams alive! To add to my woes, we were in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic meaning business was slow, and our business development manager had to go on furlough because he has 2 very young children.

I knew that if it was to be, it was up to me! I had to quickly get used to working long days during the week which involved projects, meetings, teamwork, running my business, and business development, and making the choice, not a sacrifice, of working weekends. Although some weekends would be full working days, I did make sure that after a month or so, I would work for only half the day – the house chores and shopping weren’t going to do themselves, and we were in lockdown, so I hardly had a choice of places to go to anyway! But, I had my focus and goals, this was me fighting hard for the survival of my business, and I wasn’t going to give up without a fight; it’s not in my nature to take any shit lying down! So, with my head up, eyes forward, and laser-focused on my short, medium- and long-term goals, I got going.

It’s been tough, most people didn’t reply, and I received many “no’s”, which I expected – I feel it’s better to receive a “no” rather than no reply because at least I’ve been acknowledged! Nevertheless, I persevered and with some luck, and help, my business is in a much healthier position now than it was 100 days ago! Nothing is a given, and although we have picked up some good new clients, and projects with existing clients, I know that had I not put in the effort from over 3 months ago, and actually told people about our situation, I wouldn’t have had any luck or help; I wasn’t going to let the silliness of pride get the better of me. I also believe in the “Law of Attraction”, you can call it prayer, belief, whatever you want, but if you want something from God, or the universe, or wherever, then it’s a simple 3-step process of “Ask, Believe, and Receive”, and I am happy and grateful to have asked, believed, and be receiving.

Talking about luck, I try to be a responsible business owner. I don’t take silly money out of my businesses and I had built enough capital in the bank to pay my staff for up to a year in the event of no work coming in. I think that’s common sense and smart, to run a business with some sort of slush fund to ride through rough times. It’s not easy finding good staff, so if your business or industry goes through a tough time, you want to be able to retain your team because if you put the effort in, better times will return and your staff will be there to spring back into action, as has happened with us.

From just over 3 months ago where I wondered, momentarily, about what was going to happen to my business, to now, where I’m hiring new staff, it is a 180° change! If you are going through a tough time, my simple advice is this: focus on your goals, get your head down, and do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep your business going because that could be the difference between your success and failure!

I know I couldn’t have got to where I am without a strong mentality and serious tenacity, traits which I have been forging throughout my life. I also know I couldn’t have done it without help from my wonderful friends. No one gets anywhere alone, no one is self-made, everyone is part of a bigger team. As the gestalt theory goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I am just a lone medical writer without my amazing employees and set of friends who help and inspire me.

So, to Lesley Taylor and Tim Hardman, thank you for being there for me and for helping me; you are true friends and I hope I can return your incredible favours one day!

Social Media Branding!

Definition

According to one marketing company, “A brand is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with, by identifying the name, logo, slogan, or design of the company who owns the idea or image. Branding is when that idea or image is marketed so that it is recognisable by more and more people, and identified with a certain service or product when there are many other companies offering the same service or product”.

Application

The key for your social media branding is to identify yourself and indeed your business to yourself, know it, own it, and be it, consistently, and to the best of your abilities, thereby distinguishing yourself from others. Your brand is who you are, what you stand for, what you want to achieve in your life, your morals, ethics, values, interests, hobbies, and lifestyle etc. If you know YOU and your business, everything else is pretty straightforward after that!

Remember: There are people already doing what you do, so getting your branding right to differentiate yourself is paramount to success!

Example

If you want an example of branding, check out my Facebook business page. I have my own logo, motto/tagline and colours. I post frequently about the same things, and even mention it on my “Intro” which simply states: “I help people create their ideal lifestyles from wherever they are using a laptop :)”. I am consistent with everything I do, so my Facebook page is pretty popular because people buy into me, because I know me and so do they!

However, I also have several other pages, for my social media agency Bham Digital, for my pharmaceutical consultancy Bham Pharma, and for my food blog Spiced Up By Bilal. Each has its own set of branding, colours, feel and motto. The videos I record for each of my pages are also different, in terms of the camera I use, where I record, the tone, style and even angle, so you cannot confuse one page with another, each page is unique in its expression of the different things that interest me. My values and principles are intact, but the way in which I deliver my message about a particular topic is different.

Defining Your Own Brand

Defining your brand is like a journey of self-discovery. It can be difficult, time‑consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below, so I urge you to answer them because you are your business!

  1. What is your mission? (Your WHY)
  2. What are the benefits and features of you, your products and services?
  3. What do your customers and prospects already think of you?
  4. What qualities do you want them to associate with you?

Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers and team members. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think!

Marketing Your Brand

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:

  1. Get a great logo. Ask a graphic designer or creative friend of yours. Fiverr is great and cheap too! Place it everywhere.
  2. Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Everyone in your team should be aware of your brand attributes.
  3. Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of who you are – how you reply messages, your e-mail signature, everything.
  4. Create a “voice” for you that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
  5. Develop a tagline/motto. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
  6. Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same colour scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent. Canva is great for this!
  7. Be true to your brand. Customers and team members won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
  8. Be consistent. This tip involves all the above and is the most important tip on this list. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.

If you’re looking at organising your social media branding, please do get in touch, I’d love to help 🙂