branding

The 4:30am Club

Hey guys, so what I wanted to talk a little bit about is the 4:30 a.m. club. Basically, the concept of waking up really super early is something you can train for. First of all you have to really determine, if you have a valid reason to wake up at 4:30 in the morning? I would say for most portion of my life, I think between high school and college, I did not feel like I really had a good reason unless it was like studying for an exam and there were days that I would go to bed at midnight and wake up at 3:30 thinking I was going to learn about four chapters worth of information in a short period of time.

I will share with you some thoughts, at a separate blog post, on how to consume lots of information in a very short period amount of time when you are constrained, whether it’s a textbook, whether it’s a chapter, whether it’s even just a one pager and how to memorize things in speed. But, the long story short waking up at 4:30 in the morning once you have your Y, which is a separate blog post that I did recently, it’s important to know what are some steps that you can take to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. First rule is, you’ve got to get to bed early. Some people struggle with getting to bed early. I always try and stay away from carbs and sugar close to bedtime. Eat your dinner kind of usually between six and seven. 

Don’t eat after seven. Start to have a bedtime ritual where you actually have comfortable clothes and your room is super cool. You can use the chili pad which is like this $600 device you can put on one side of the bed. It’s like water mat that cools it, does not wet it or anything like that, but cools the mattress down. Make sure there’s no lights in the room. Stop checking e-mail after a certain point I think this was just something I struggled with a little bit so after 7:45pm I stopped checking emails. Really find out what type of fiction or reading material you love. I love comic books and fiction always puts me to sleep. You can also just read as well. I love listening things and somehow when I start to listen to like comic books or stories about comics I start to doze off a little bit after like eight minutes. 

4:30am Club

Once I found out that it works, no matter how geeky that sounds, you go with it. Couple of other things, set your alarm for 4:30 and make sure you don’t hit snooze more than once or set it for like four twenty five and then it’s a short little snooze and you’re waking up at 4:30. Make sure that the night before everything is set up. I make sure I drink my shake and that it’s full of anti-oxidants nutrients. Put it in the fridge and if you have a Keurig or a coffee maker, reset up everything. I’ll share some of the supplements that I eat, like B-12 for example, put all of that in a little pill container. Put that by your shake and put that by your coffee. Once you are away. You probably want to start working right away. I have a stand up desk. I always just check all my stuff in the morning. Before I really check everything, I try and get my one or two tasks out of the way.

If you have workers or employees that have already started working in their time zone you need to be checking in with them first thing in the morning. I think it is really key. But, these are some tips to how to get up at 4:30 in the morning and how to make it a no brainer. You probably also want to lay your clothes out the night before. Every little thing, even maybe setting up the toothpaste and deodorant you’re going to use.

Once you’re up, you have a whole day ahead of you to plan your day. There is so much time there that you can use to plan your day, communicate with team members, get your meetings out of the way, so you can spend the rest of your day, which is kind of like what I’m doing right now, either having one on ones with clients, one on ones with team members, one on ones with partners, and just walking and talking and getting out in the sun and just building relationships which is really what your day should be about. If you’ve gotten to the point if your business where you have other people saying if you have other people supporting a client or other people building the products, as a CEO, that’s your one responsibility.

Anyway, once you find your rhythm, waking up at 4:30 in morning is a lot easier. All right. Thanks so much guys.

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How to Build a Better Brand: Branding 101

If you want to build a powerful brand, you have to be deliberate about it.  You can read a million business books about branding from “theorists”, but let’s just sum up all those books into a simple top ten.  Understand your positioning, plan ahead, do your homework, then get to work.  A brand isn’t just a name; it’s about how you are different.  Remember as a brand, you are providing something your competitors are not.

Make sure what you are providing has a demand built-in or you are catering to a market that doesn’t exist.  Branding is about establishing competitive attributes, culture, and precise strategy regarding those attributes.  Once you have that, then you must project it out to your audience.  Here are some silver bullets to consider when building a better brand:

1. Competition

Know your competitors.  Don’t obsess over them, but look at their numbers.  More customers? More eye balls than you?  Know the gaps and understand them.  Find an opportunity and exploit.

2. Strengths

What are the one or two things you are really good at? Validate those with peers and customers.

3. Customers

What do your customers value? Ask them and listen…Remember the Marketing mix checklist (Price, Place, Promotion, and Product).  Your competition is under serving one or more of these values.  Your job is to find out which ones(s).

4.  Match

This is about brand compatibility.  You have to know your customer.  What are their attitudes? Lifestyle? Environment? Media & purchase behavior? Geo-demographic attributes?  Put it in excel, because here is where the valuable data resides.

5. Change

Rearrange your business activities around the customer and revenue generation.  Everything else is a waste of time.

6. Positioning

Keep positioning your brand around the customer.  Ensure you are perceived as such.

7. Communications

Ensure the DNA of your brand is in all your communications. Logo, Mantra, emails, tweets, etc

8. Feedback

Measure through customer feedback!

9.  Reception

Put the right feedback channels in place and adjust accordingly to your core customers and not fringe concierge requests.

10. Practice

Repeat steps 1 – 9 over, and over again until you fine tune your brand.

How to make an impactful presentation. Top 10 silver bullet tips:

1 – Body language:  Focus on your posture and stay even while talking, so no slouching, pacing, etc

2 – Speak with enthusiasm and conviction.  Get pumped or don’t present

3 – Know your presentation, so you don’t depend on your slides for content

4 – Tape yourself and play back to catch “uhs/ums” and all other mistakes

5 – 10-20-30:  No more than 10 slides, less than 20 minutes, and no less than 30 font.  Insert photos to spice up, but leave out all clip art.

6 – No more than 8 words across and 6 lines down for your bullets.  For detailed information, hand out those documents afterward to not distract your audience.

7 – Ensure your bullets roll in one click at a time.  No flashy effects and use a remote clicker with a timer.

8 – Know your audience.  Tell them what you are going to accomplish through your presentation, tell them, and recap.

9 – Make eye contact and project yourself.  Inject humor where appropriate.

10 – Save time for questions and record what could have been better.