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Brand Yourself!

You’ve decided to start your own business.  You have the idea, the money and the initiative.  You’re all ready to go, right?

Wrong.

No, I’m not telling you to go get a tattoo or visit the local cattle farm.  You need a brand.  A name people will remember and an image to go along with it.  And in most cases, the simpler the better.

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover…

Or a designer by his/her socks.

I’m serious.  As a freshman at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of my first professors in the Interior Architecture department was Peter Exley.  (Peter, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re not offended)  An energetic man who in my memory always had a smile on his face, I remember him most notably for his style.

Photo Credit: http://www.architectureisfun.com

While most of my other professors wore neutral colors (primarily shades of grey and a lot of black), Peter wore color and lots of it.  Accompanied by his longer, curly, blond hair, Peter…  Made a statement.  Up until just recently, I wasn’t sure what his statement was.  But I think I understand now.

Peter’s statement was, “I’m confident.  I don’t need to dress like you to succeed.  I can succeed, if not surpass you, by being myself.”

Wow.  That’s refreshing!

From what I saw, Peter’s architectural designs were always creative and full of interest.  Like his company name (view his website here), he truly made his architecture fun.

As I continued through the Interior Architecture program, more and more of us seemed to convert to the “designer” wardrobe.  Our closets became increasing black and dark in nature, and color…  Well, color seemed to just disappear.  Even in our designs it was phased out.  It was as if our “child-like sense of wonder” was gone.

After college I secured a position as a designer in Manhattan, and the conversion to blacks and neutrals was finalized.  Thinking back to what I saw my co-workers wearing every day, all I can remember is a lot of black.  Even my closet fell victim.  (The picture below is not of my closet, but of one very similar)  Black filled 95% of it, and the other 5% was colors that I never touched. 

Photo Credit: http://www.fiveeightforums.com

Fast forward to present day.  An ex-husband and two beautiful children later, I left the dark days of my life behind and met Dave.  Suddenly I could see color again.  He helped fill my life with my favorite color (turquoise) and has started covering the walls with his incredible (colorful) paintings.  My favorite present(ation) of colors from Dave is the constant stream of flowers I have arriving in my text message in-box.

Copyright 2011 Sutton Creative Studios

Today, I make every effort to not wear black except in the form of pants or a skirt.  Today, for example, I’m wearing a pink *gasp!* sweater, grey slacks and pink, polka-dotted fuzzy socks.  Yes, I repeat, my socks are fuzzy and pink.  But I don’t care.  I find fun in what I do and I’d like to find as much enjoyment in what I wear. 

And with that I ask you…  Would you rather hire someone who simply performs the tasks asked of him/her?  Or would you like to hire someone who enjoys what they do and wants you to be as happy as they are with the final result?  Yea, I thought so. 

Sutton Creative Studios…  We’re in Business to Help Your Business.

*****

Kim SuttonKim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios.  She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.

An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.

In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.

Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.

Design Ideas from the Younger Generations

Last weekend Dave and I had his neices stay with us.  The three girls are 11, 13 and 15, and while very much similar, each has her own distinct personality.  The most common theme last weekend, however, was that each wanted her fingernails polished by Uncle Roo.  (Yes, like his skills on Illustrator and Photoshop, Dave’s nail-polishing skills are superior to mine.)

Give Yourself a Break

You’ve been sitting in front of your computer monitor for hours and your eyes are moving in directions you didn’t even know were possible. You’ve started questioning your work even though your ideas were brilliant and your research was solid when you started work at the crack of dawn.

Photo Credit: http://www.midwestlens.com

But now, like the light, your brain has faded. You’re stuck about where to go next, and you question each action you take.

Showing Your Cards

I’m a people person.  Dave’s a people person even more than I am.  I’ll run into people I know every time I go to the store, but Dave has kids knocking on our door every night as if he’s one of them.  (Yes, we have kids they also come to see, however the neighborhood boys are infatuated with the video game projects Dave is working on.  It pays to be a cool dad.)

The Evolution of My Planners

(From Kim’s Perspective)

When I graduated college more than a decade ago, my mom bought me a leather, business sized portfolio.  Made of beautiful, rich black leather, I…  Honestly had no idea what to do with it.  It sat in my desk for a few years (sorry, Mom) until I began interviewing in supposed greener pastures.

Leather portfolio, currently available at Franklin Planner

How to Court Your Customers

In many ways, developing a long lasting relationship with a customer or client can be much like dating.  As a very happily married couple, we would know.

Whether you’re single relationship-wise or looking to secure a client into a long-term contract, here is some of our best advice on how to court your customers.

Following Your Passion: Business Mistakes to Avoid

01 215 by Victor1558Every business owner faces his or her own obstacles.  Starting from the moment the idea of starting your own business enters your mind, you’re barraged with questions.  Sure, some of these questions may come from friends or family, however I’m willing to bet that you attack yourself with most of them.

Welcome to Our Blog!

We’re glad you found us here!

In the near future we will start publishing articles to help you and your business.  As business owners ourselves, we understand the struggles that can be faced day-in and day-out.  Just remember,  you are not alone!

In the meantime, we welcome you to contact us, or to visit our website or Facebook page.

Our best to you and yours!

*****

Kim SuttonKim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios.  She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.

An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.

In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.

Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.