As an entrepreneur and small business owner, it is super important to keep my pipeline full. What do I mean? I have to keep a steady stream of potential/prospective clients waiting in the wings because cash flow is extremely important when you work for yourself. That bi-weekly paycheck you were accustomed to receiving isn’t necessarily a guarantee now; you have to make sure your business (and fiscal well being) stays afloat.  So, how do you do that? For me, it’s all about effectively branding and marketing myself so that I’m attracting the right clientele. And learning how to say “no” in order to protect my brand.

I don’t know about everybody else, but juggling client demands, day-to-day operations and personal responsibilities, is crazy enough without adding sales and new business prospecting to the (always growing) to do list. Nevertheless, it’s still a necessity…especially if you want more paying clients, long -term projects and solid referrals. But it has to be right. It has to make sense. Selling my brand, both personally and professionally has to happen every day. That’s one reason why I am very open to opportunities that will allow me to shine and standout as a public relations professional, as a business consultant, and as a speaker. But, that doesn’t mean I say “yes” to everything. Remember when I said I’m learning to say “no” more often than not? Just because an opportunity is offered to you–like I explain to (read: drill into) my clients– that doesn’t mean yes is always the correct answer.  If it doesn’t fit your brand or mesh well with your narrative, you must walk away and say no. For instance, earlier this month I was handed an interesting (and uber flattering) opportunity that could have provided a great deal of visibility for my personal brand and my company. And yes, I’m always looking to add to the pipeline so my first reaction was to say yes because I was thinking about the potential clientele, new business opts and more…however, when I finally looked past all that, I had to ask myself two important questions:

Is this a good look for my brand? Does it fit my image?”

Perception is everything. And your brand image is too important to jump at every opportunity that comes your way, just because it may sound good at the time.  Always think first, ask questions and weigh your options.  Make every business move count…for the better.

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