EP 271: Brand-Building Is More Important Than Ever

People are still spending money.

It’s a message I’ve shared over and over again over the last 2 weeks. Not everyone is spending money… and not everyone has the money to spend. But plenty of people are still investing in goods and services that will make their lives and businesses better.

And along those lines, my friend Mark Butler shared some great insight with his audience last week after investing in a program–even in the midst of our current economic situation.

He said that, even when times are tough, when we need help, we’ll invest with the people & businesses that we trust.

Who do we trust? Well, they’re the people–the brands–that have made a lasting impact on us over the years. They’re the people and companies that have made an effort to connect with us, that share our values, that represent what we want to see more of in the world.

I’m Tara McMullin and you’re listening to What Works–the show that transcends the hype to bring you stories of what’s really working for small business owners today.

Yes, people are still spending money and they’re spending it with brands they like and trust.

This weekend, I spent money at my local brewery because I want to support them as they try to keep their workers employed. I spent money at a local cafe. And I spent money at Whole Foods, which might be a big corporation but one that does a helluva lot of good for its workers and our local economy.

These brands are really important to me. They represent my home, my friends, and the world that I want to live in. I value their presence and I want to see them thrive.

They’ve worked hard to build brands that truly connect with people.

The small business owners we support at The What Works Network are doing the same. We asked 4 of them to share how they approach brand-building and what they’ve done to create a genuine connection between how they show up and the people they care about.

Now, I want to let you know that each of these contributions was recorded before the outbreak had fully hit North America. But I think sharing them with you and inviting you to think about how you want to approach your own brand-building is more important than ever.

You’ll hear from Layla Pomper from Process-Driven, Lou Blaser from Second Breaks, Julie O’Hara from Hearts & Brains Consulting, and Margy Thomas from ScholarShape.

Let’s get into it!

What Works Is Brought To You By

Mighty Networks powers brands and businesses – like yours! – that bring people together.
With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place:

  • Your website
  • Your content
  • Your courses
  • Your community
  • Your events online and in real life
  • And charge for them…all while building YOUR brand.

Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.

By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

Mar 26, 2020

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support