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May 23, 2011 | By Barry Moltz

Guest Post: The Big Brand Trap Or How to Take Your Skills With You

 

Today's guest post is from transition coach Catherine Morgan.  What Catherine describes is exactly what happened to me when I left IBM after 10 years.  I wish I would have read this 20 years ago!

"Let’s imagine that you have been working for a big company with an established and respected brand.  You feel great about calling on prospects because the big brand pretty much guarantees that you will get on someone’s calendar.  But what happens when you leave the big company and go out on your own?

Many entrepreneurs have issues around selling but I have coached people who were business development superstars at their previous employer and now when they are pitching themselves or their small business, they suddenly feel insignificant, invisible, or unworthy.  This is a place where entrepreneurs get stuck all the time.  I have to remind clients that their skills are *their skills* and they still have value without the backing of the big brand.

Yes, it may be harder to get appointments but remember that the skills and experience that made you successful at your last company are still part of you and will hopefully enable you to be successful in your current business.  And don’t think that just because you are a solopreneur or small business you don’t provide valuable services.  Being small can enable you to be more competitive and serve your customers more efficiently and effectively.

I recommend new small business owners create some “props” when starting out to get through this block.  Consider investing in the following:

· Professionally designed logo.  This does not have to be expensive.  I was well aware of the logo/worthiness block when I started my current business so I had a logo designed and I am thrilled to present it to prospects and potential partners.  It makes me feel like I have a “real” business.  Money well spent!

· Quality business cards printed on good paper.  This can be a big psychological boost.  Feeling great about the card you are presenting makes you more confident during your pitch.

· Clean website or blog.  This doesn’t have to be big or fancy and I highly recommend not spending a ton of money on this up front.  Your business will change substantially once you get out and test with clients.

· Registered legal entity.  I started my business a year ago.  While I had always done business as a sole proprietor in the past, this time I registered my company and it does make me take my business more seriously.

When you are confident in your skills and invest in your business, prospects will notice.  They will notice that you are a professional and they will want to invest in your business – and isn’t that the goal?

Have you ever felt like your skills belonged to your former company?  How did you get past that?  What other “props” would you recommend?"

Catherine Morgan is a Transition and Entrepreneur Coach, and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc.  The company is a virtual provider of coaching services and info products to individuals who are in career transition or are looking to establish and grow their own successful services businesses.
 

16 Responses to “Guest Post: The Big Brand Trap Or How to Take Your Skills With You”

  1. Bravo Catherine!!  Well done. When I left Corporate America to build my own business it required a tremendous mindset shift. I had to transform myself first, which meant recognizing that what I had to offer was valuable and would make a difference and I was obligated to share it with the world. My business could not grow until I first grew the courage, the confidence and the wisdom to move forward. My most valuable "prop" was learning how to ask for help. Because no one has to go this journey alone.

  2. Catherine, bravo to you for presenting such clear and concise guidelines to feeling confident and coming off polished! Well thought-out directive to invest in sales collateral that is top-notch, an online presence that leaves a positive impression…. and the thing that I have mostly ignored, and will take to heart: a good legal set-up. I would extend this point by suggesting an excellent digital profile nowadays needs to include a presence on social media sites, if that is appropriate to your product/service. Again, excellent advice!

  3. Susan Kim says:

    Catherine- great advice on the getting a logo.  Something that saved me a lot of money– and I got a huge selection to choose from– was crowdsourcing my mojo40.com logo.  I used crowdspring.com.  

  4. These are all so great! Unfortunately this comment software doesn't allow me to respond directly to the comment so here goes:
    @Sondra – Courage and confidence are so important as entrepreneurs. And thank you for bringing up asking for help. That is a big one. Trying to maintain a beginner's mind realizing that you don't know everything can be very useful. It is important to surround yourself with people who can support you and who you can learn from.
    @Diane – I agree with you completely about having a social media presence. It is critical for an entrepreneur. Why wouldn't you take advantage of something that can promote your business and is free? Recommend people start small and show up consistently and professionally.
    @Susan – Thanks for sharing that resource. I have heard good things about it but never tried it. 

    • Val Bambach says:

      I conceive other website owners should take this website as an model, very clean and superb user friendly design . “Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse.” by Jawaharlal Nehru.

  5. Great tips and encouragement, Catherine.  Thanks.

  6. This is great advice Catherine, and also applies to people re-entering the workforce, after an illness or a few years full-time parenting, as self-employed.

    May I add another thought; that we allow time to re-build or establish our self-esteem. Sometimes it does take longer to get up and running, yet persistence pays!  And acting confidently, eventually has us feeling confident :-)

  7. Barry says:

    Thanks for all the comments- In them, I see my past life flash before my eyes. Wish I had this advice years ago!

  8. @Marianne – Oh that is so good. Thank you for adding that. It *does* take time to rebuild our self-esteem from being out of the workforce, getting laid off, or whatever. Whether going back to corporate or starting a business, it does take time to get our mojo back. We need to plan for that.

  9. Catherine, these are great and helpful words of wisdom. You are so right. If you had the skills to represent the big brand name, those skills don't disappear when you walk out the door. The biggest challenge is reminding ourselves every day that we have the expertise to provide brand name service — this time, it's our own brand! 

  10. @Michelle – "It's our own brand and we need to own it" might be a great mantra for all entrepreneurs. Thanks for that comment, Michelle!

  11. Ryan Lee says:

    You hit the nail square on the head and drove it all the way in!  This is simple, but great advice to help people make the proper "mind shift" when striking out on their own.  Many props!

  12. @Ryan – Thank you. As I have been thinking about this post since writing it, I have realized that my "props" have been incredibly important for me and the way I have felt about my business over the past year. Add in ones demonstrating thought leadership and you are good to go!

  13. Kris Willner says:

    This site is known as a stroll-by for all of the info you wished about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you’ll definitely discover it.

  14. [...] corporations with established global brands have an additional layer of blocks, which I discuss in The Big Brand Trap Or How To Take Your Skills With You (Please check out this guest post on BarryMoltz.com for quick and easy ways to feel like you have a [...]

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