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The personal touch… – Birds on the Blog

The personal touch…

Building and running a business is hard work.  Most businesswomen are busy.  Let’s face it – people are busy.

I’ve done a lot of challenging jobs in my time.  Working full-time as a political adviser and doing my Masters was fine as long as I didn’t expect any sleep.  The learning curve doing both was hard, the hours long, surviving on excessive amounts of caffeine and having to operate on all four cylinders 24/7.

Running a business is a whole other thing

It’s a mix between being a student and a first-time author.  A student because there is NEVER nothing to do.  No matter how hard you’ve studied or worked – there are a hundred things in your to-do list.  A first-time author – because you’ve produced something so personal that it’s essential that everyone love it.  I imagine it’s a little like being a parent, having this bundle of joy – the product of your genes and you desperately want everyone to love it.  Personal – oh so personal.

I think I remember a time when business was about business.  Marketing and sales were about products or services, the benefits they could offer to your customers’ lives.

When did it become about us?

When did we become the ‘face’ of our business?  When did our ‘stories’ become as important as the benefits they can get from our products and services?  When did ‘seeing us’ become so important?

I’d imagined when I set up a writing business that I would work hard, behind a computer and not have to ‘do peopling’.  How wrong I was.  I walked into a new world I wasn’t ready for.

Even in politics – in a high-profile world where I gave advice and wrote words that would more often than not find their way to the news – I was behind the scenes and perfectly happy there.  I was unprepared for the requirement for the personal touch.

Like you, I have had to become the ‘face’ of my business.  What I say, how I say it, what I wear are all part of my ‘brand’.  I remember when brand meant a logo and a matching letterhead.

For most of us, it’s a case of grin and bear it.  This is the way of business – telling our stories on Facebook and LinkedIn rather than uploading the contents of our hard-earned CVs and expecting it to work as it always had.

Worse, we have to ‘show’ ourselves – not just networking – that’s always been true – but on video and FB Lives.  We need to show the good, the bad and the ugly in measured ways.

In some ways this new ‘real’ is handy for those of us who don’t get up at 5am, drink wheatgrass and run five miles before finishing a PhD dissertation before lunch.  It’s okay to say that we’ve had a rubbish day, to do a video with no makeup and to express a dire need for caffeine.

People buy people we know that.  But is anyone else being dragged kicking or screaming into this new “face of the business” thing?

About the Author Nicole Johnston

I offer a range of communications, policy and writing services. My extensive experience comes from central Government, Third sector organisations and businesses, both in the UK and Australia. I have held senior policy and communications positions advising Ministers and senior officials including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Lord Chancellor, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, the Economic Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State for International Development and Ministers for the Home Office, amongst others. In addition I have worked at an international level working with the United Nations, the Word Bank and Gates Foundation, to name a few. Writing is my passion in all forms. When I'm not helping people with their communications and policy, I write novels. If you need some help or advice then please feel free to contact me on nicole@njcommunications.uk. If you can’t see what you are looking for listed here then get in touch, as this list in not comprehensive. I look forward to hearing from you.

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