Initial Branding Steps

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

There’s no guaranteed way to create a brand that is memorable. If there was then every entrepreneur would be running their own Google, Ford, or Microsoft. While a lot of success is down to good timing, there’s a lot you could do to take the initiative with your company. There is a science to creating a successful brand. Consumers resonate with certain ideas more than others. Big corporate brands can attract a huge client base because they’re trustworthy, but small brands can often attract their fair share of customers because they’re warm and personal.

Again, there’s no way to guarantee the success of your brand by following a guide and even these tips may not be right for you or your business. There are, however, initial steps that your company could take if it wants to head down the right path towards creating a successful brand. The marketplace may not be entirely predictable because it’s always changing, but there are certain methods that ring true across industries. 

Know your audience.
The best way to create a renowned brand is to know your audience. This means that you need to do your research frequently and thoroughly. For example, if you’re selling a type of cider then you already know that your audience contains consumers who like cider. However, successful brands need to target their demographic with pinpoint accuracy. You might want to sell that cider to a younger market. Why? Well, every business needs to find its niche. If you want to stand out from the competition then you need to figure out what the consumer wants. Don’t just offer what every other business is offering. Your brand will become popular with the target market if you know the audience and what they want. You need to offer solutions. Perhaps there’s a gap in the market for an existing product or service targeted towards a more specific portion of the target market. Your brand needs to get its foot in the door, essentially. That’s how you create a renowned name.

Work on your promotional strategy.
One of the best ways to turn your unknown brand into one that is more recognizable is to improve your business’ promotional strategy. There’s a limit to your success if customers don’t know you exist or can meet a need. Part of growing as a business is learning how to raise awareness of your brand. You need to reach potential customers in all corners of the marketplace. Your promotional strategy wouldn’t be complete without an online aspect in this digitally-oriented era. You need to have a strong presence on social media but it should not be your bread and butter. Make sure you know how to use Twitter and Facebook. It isn’t enough to simply create profiles. You need to regularly post content to keep your followers interested as part of an overall campaign.

Additionally, you need to work on your business’ website. Think of this as your store’s shop window. Your site is the face of your brand, in many ways. This is where ranking well on search engine results pages comes in to play. Consumers don’t want to be forced to see adverts; they want to independently find the products and services they want. That’s why the best form of promotion in the modern age is to let potential customers find you. If you optimize your website’s content so that it shows up at the top of search results then that’s what you’ll do; you’ll let your target audience find you of their own accord. It’s free marketing. You could consider help from a professional software company such as Svitla Systems when it comes to the front end or back end of your website’s development. Whether you outsource the work or not, the point is that a strong promotional strategy needs to utilize the internet. That’s how your brand starts to expand.

Focus on your brand’s identity.
Finally, your brand needs a strong identity if you really want it to take off. Any business that wants to stand out from the competition in its industry needs to find a gap in the market. The best way to do that is to ensure that your brand is different. You might be selling similar products and services to other companies, but that doesn’t matter. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be different, you just have to captivate the target market. It’s your brand that separates you from the masses of similar businesses in your industry, and that’s why it’s so important to make sure that you focus your energy on making your company really stand for something. Create a message that defines your business and its objectives. That’s how you’ll connect with your target market in a meaningful way.

Your identity should be personal, above all else. Don’t let your corporate goals define you. Consumers won’t be interested in a brand that seems concerned only with making a profit. In the modern age, people want to buy goods and services from businesses that share their values. Is your business relatable? Is there any depth to what you do as a company? Again, you don’t need to be selling something that’s going to change the world; you just need to let your human side show through. You might be a company that sells toilet roll. However, your brand could be more enticing than the brands of your competitors if you took the eco-friendly route of replanting trees for every tree your business uses. The point is that any brand can become renowned if its identity really connects with consumers. Your business just needs to find an identity for its brand that resonates with the intended audience.

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Investing for Beginners

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

A lot of people avoid the world of investment because they deem it to be too difficult or too complicated. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! And, if you’re a novice investor, then you shouldn’t let any misconceptions put you off from starting your investment venture. Below are a few tips to consider before you get started. It is important to note, this is general overall advice and any specific detailed questions about investing should be directed at a certified financial planner who can discuss your options and help you create a plan specific to you and your situation. 

Consider options trading
If you want to dip your toes into the world of investment before diving right in, then options trading might be for you. As documented in many options trading for dummies posts, this type of trading involves bidding on an obligation to either buy or sell a stock, share or asset, rather than to buy or sell them outright. It is the perfect way to get used to the demands of investment without having the pressure of committing to anything there and then.

Study the markets
Whatever type of investment you decide to make, whether it be options or outright, you will have to study the markets you trade on. You will have to work out what is rising, and what is dropping. You will have to work out just how much of an impact external forces are making on a particular market, and then you will have to work out how you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

Quite importantly, you will have to work out the lingo of stock markets, particularly those that involve the bulls and the bears. You see, these two terms are very important in all stock markets, no matter what is being traded upon them, meaning a knowledge and understanding of them is pivotal. Just quickly: a bull is a market in which the prices are rising and thus investment is very much encouraged, a bear is a market in which the prices are dropping and thus quick selling is fervently encouraged.

Understand the risk-to-reward ratio
Another very important aspect of the world of investment is the risk-to-reward ratio, and you must have a very clear understanding about this and how it can impact your investment venture. This is the measurement all good investments use to decipher and equate whether the returns that can be expected from the investments that they make are worth it in relation to the risk of doing so. And, if you want to prove yourself to be a good investor, then having a clear view of what is worth the risk and what is not is absolutely pivotal — so, do your research!

Investment can be a fun and financially rewarding hobby, or it can even be turned into a career. Be sure to contact and work with a licensed financial advisor for your specific situation. And, remember to ask yourself one important thing every time you feel an itch or have a need to invest: is it worth the investment?

 

Why You Should Become An Entrepreneur

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Everyone’s been there at some point in their life, either seriously or for silly reasons: you’ve got an idea, you think no one else has this idea and you want to make the idea become a reality. You look into ways to fund your journey to making this idea come true and you contact people who’ve gone the route before to learn more about their experiences. While the initial process seems simple, it can be complex and daunting in practice.

Becoming an entrepreneur is sometimes considered one of the hardest things to do in the business world. You’re taking on corporate leadership, raising money and impressing customers and investors alike, all alone. The only thing you have propping up your efforts is your strong belief in the product or service you plan to offer and because you see a gap in the market for you and your business. 

So if you feel like you’re stuck in a dead-end job, going nowhere with your career, and you’ve had a good run in the salary department to live off your own funds for a good while, it’s time to start innovating. Pluck up the courage to take your idea to the top with a bit of market research and a well-executed business plan. Small business owners dominate the industry after all, and you could be one of them.

You’re the One in Control
You’re finally running your own business and that means you run every aspect of your company. This can mean a huge amount of responsibility and you can only blame yourself when things go wrong. But at the same time, that makes you more vigilant and a lot more likely to succeed. It’s all up to you and you’ve done everything to get yourself into this position!

As an entrepreneur running your own company, selling a brand you believe in, you can create your own schedule, for example. You can sit down in the office and grind away for 10 hours on end, or you can try to minimize and produce some good content in a half hour and then call it quits.

When it comes to buying property, you’re the one who has the final say on the right shape for the office and whether the layout is an open or closed plan. Even just the little things can make a huge difference as to how you feel working in a business environment! You don’t even need to have a regional office at the end of the day when you have the freedom to run a business from wherever you are in the world. It also means you’re never going to be late for that team meeting and the commute is no longer going to cut out valuable business hours that could be put to better use.

You Keep Your Money
When you’re an entrepreneur, one of the best parts of the job model is that you know where your money goes. Either into your bank account or out to pay the supplies cost.

Of course, the IRS is always going to require a cut of it and your insurance isn’t going to pay itself to look after you. But at the end of the working day, as an entrepreneur, you can rest assured that all the money you make refining your sales tactics and securing a new customer is going to stay in your pocket. It’s this element of job security, one of the most important factors there are, that means you’re going to stay in business for a lot longer.

You’re Finally Living the Dream!
Running your own company means you’ve made it, especially in society’s eyes. You’re not just an employee trying to put food on the table after a 9 to 5, or a 7 to 4, or a 4 to 2 (because the 9 to 5 is a herald of a world gone by when nowadays ‘productivity’ demands everything out of you!). Similarly, you’re not just a manager, getting all your ducks in a row day by day, and having to take the fall when something goes wrong. You’re personally invested, and that’s what makes your customers believe in you.

When it’s evident in every product description, every marketing campaign, and every statement you make about what you offer, you’re going to notice a pick me up in the number of profits you make each month. It’s exciting to see your dream come alive in every sense of the word and to watch it change the lives of the people who bought it off you.

But What about the Risks?
There’s going to be risks to every venture in life, and when it comes to entrepreneurship the risks mainly lie in your chance of missing the true gap in the market and overspending when you’re first starting up. This can usually be wiped away when you’ve got a good business plan and plenty of advice on hand, which makes the idea entirely worth doing.

But at the same time, you yourself are one of the biggest risks. You’re going to need the motivation to keep yourself going at all times, constantly innovating and working as hard as you can. Freedom is a double-edged sword after all, and you need to use it wisely.

Becoming an entrepreneur is going to take time and a lot of money. However, it’s a business model we need more of in the world. Entrepreneurs are the ones who see the gaps in the market that most need filling, and in our current economic crisis, we need the talent who are going to make it cheaper (and more fun) to keep living the way we need to. Take a leaf out of the book of the most creative people in the world and live your dream today.

Leeks, Eggs and Bacon

This is one of our most favorite reset dinners. There are only so many nights in a row we can indulge in rich meals before J and I begin craving simple, vegetable-heavy dishes. While this dish is at its peak in spring, if you can find leeks year round, don’t be afraid to try it out of season. The original recipe is from Genius Kitchen and is one my mom sent me years ago. We make it so often, I’ve forgotten to document our changes until this week!

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Print Recipe
Leeks, Eggs and Bacon
light, easy dinner to reset your palate after indulging in rich meals. Perfect for spring or any other time of year you can find leeks.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minnutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minnutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut each leek lengthwise into halves and then cut each half into half circles. Soak leeks in a large bowl of cool water to allow any dirt to settle to the bottom. The best way we’ve found to do this is using a salad spinner. In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks to the skillet. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. It’s best to let them brown a bit on the bottoms. Sprinkle with thyme and cook one minute more. Add stock, reduce heat to medium-low. Braise the leeks At this point you can choose to either cover the leeks or leave them uncovered. Uncovered the flavor concentrates a bit more but covered there is more broth to sop up with bread. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until the leeks are very tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve. We like to serve it with some french bread, bacon and hard-boiled eggs.
  2. In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks to the skillet. Sprinkle with thyme and cook one minute more. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. It’s best to let them brown a bit on the bottoms.
  3. Add stock, reduce heat to medium-low. Braise the leeks At this point you can choose to either cover the leeks or leave them uncovered. Uncovered the flavor concentrates a bit more but covered there is more broth to sop up with bread.
  4. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until the leeks are very tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve. We like to serve it with some french bread, bacon and hard-boiled eggs.

Christmas Prime Rib Red Wine Au Jus

For the last three years, we have Prime Rib for Christmas dinner. My mom has a fail-proof recipe that turns out perfectly every single time. I’ll eventually get it posted here. When it isn’t Christmas and the prime rib is a distant memory this au jus is just as delicious over a filet or even a pot roast.


Christmas Prime Rib Red Wine Au Jus

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The perfect finishing touch to a decadent and rich prime rib.


Ingredients


2 cups beef broth
1 cup cabernet sauvignon (or whatever you are drinking with the meal)
1/2 cup prime rib roast drippings (we use as much as we can pour off, it is worth it, I promise)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 pinch ground sage (fresh works really well, as does rosemary)
salt & pepper (to taste)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes, taste and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes if you would like a stronger au jus. Remember the sauce is designed to be thinner than gravy. Add salt & pepper, to taste, when the au jus is your desired flavor. The original recipe suggests straining the au jus, we don’t bother.


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