5 Ways Authenticity Trumps Your Business Plan

5 Ways Authenticity Trumps Your Business Plan image 1920x800live your healthiest life 300x125


November 22, 2014


At the end of the day our job as is a pretty important one. By helping entrepreneurs with marketing, through software and services, we’re helping them chase their dreams and “build their brands”. Building a lasting brand is the goal of every entrepreneur no matter what size. Brands create a legacy, brands create jobs, and brands, in our experience, are the result of a ton of blood, sweat, and hard work.

But what’s the key to building a great brand, is it the strength of your business plan, how detailed your planning spreadsheet is, or is it something else?

With the emergence of social media and the unprecedented access consumers have to information as well as each other, one factor shines through brighter than anything else. Authenticity. If the rise of social media has taught us anything at all it’s that consumers. No, sorry. People, want to do business with other people. The days of the faceless corporation are behind us, and the days of the person and the human stories behind the brand are what we all want to hear.

Having gone through this with many clients, we’ve picked up a few lessons along the way on how to be more authentic. Lessons that have taught us that in today’s hyper connected world it’s authenticity and a real human story that often trumps any business plan. Especially when it comes to social media, marketing, and building the story behind a brand.

While nobody can offer a recipe for guaranteed success, we can offer some tips on how to make the journey a bit more fun by focusing on why people chase these dreams in the first place.

One of those that stand out is the team at Ikkuma.

Gary and Brian, the founders of Ikkuma gave up the corporate rat race to pursue their passions. Their story has served as an inspiration to us, as well as a great study in how to approach turning a dream into reality.

Here are 5 key lessons to take away from their story:


1: Work for a reason

This might be the single most important piece of advice you ever get. Have purpose in what you do and have the passion to do it.

In the case of the team at Ikkuma, Gary and Brian legitimately want to help people through holistic means. As lifelong health and fitness fanatics, they knew that lifestyle choices play a huge part in your quality of life. This became even more real as they watched a dear friend lose his life tragically at a very young age.

But, they didn’t stop at giving advice, or creating a product. Ikkuma is a movement. Ikkuma is a brand that can rally us as a population to live for more than a paycheck and “stop and smell the roses” by living a healthier, more natural life.

This greater ambition and reason they work, makes the day-to-day grind of dealing with the logistics of a growing business easier to manage. Chasing a dream and working for a reason, is the secret to making everyday not feel like “work” at all.


2: Have the courage 

Change is always scary. Having the courage to make a change in your life opens you up to new possibilities that didn’t exist before.

Many of us will say that we don’t want to live with regrets, but few of us will actually act on it. While it sounds like a cliché, there really are no second chances in life, you only live once, and having the courage to make tough choices to take the road less travelled is really the first step in taking on the dream of entrepreneurship.

Gary and Brian had a lot at stake; they had the courage to leave comfortable jobs to follow their passion. To borrow a phrase from one of the greatest marketing campaigns ever – They just did it.


3: Your network can make or break your company

From mentors to distribution channels, the people that you know help form how your business operates. No man is an island, and in the case of a business, everybody can use a little help.

Gary and Brian already had the connections in the food and beverage industry to get their product to market. They had established relationships with the right partners to get their product to market quickly, and they knew that an early investment in spending the time to identify a group of trusted advisors would pay off in the long run.


4: See the forest for the trees

One of the great things about entrepreneurship and running a small business is the opportunity to have your hands deep in the muck of every detail. Being so detail oriented and hands on gives you deep insights into the mechanics or your operations and a clear view into your customers and their needs.

Every once in a while though it’s important to step back and take a deep breath. Remember to see the forest for the trees. They say the best way to eat and elephant is one bite at a time. Building your own business is no different, but you always need to be mindful of the fact that you’re still trying to eat an elephant.

Make sure all your decisions, day-to-day, week-to-week, still line up with your overall ambition and greater goals.


5: Don’t compare yourself to others

There is nothing more frustrating or destructive than comparing yourself to others. Many of us in society get caught up in a vicious circle of keeping up with the Jones’. With a strong background in fitness and athletics Gary and Brian knew from the onset that champions are never made in a day, and even more importantly champions recognize that their only competition is themselves.

Be the best you can be, rather than comparing yourself and your achievements to others. If you can look in the mirror each and every morning and feel that you are a better version of the person you saw yesterday, than you will be no doubt well along the road to success.

Gary and Brian’s story was so inspiring to us that we thought the world should “see” it, so we captured it in video format.

Be inspired, be entertained, and enjoy your own journey.

This post originally appeared on the Forewards Ecommerce Blog

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