If there is the chance you are one of the primary decision makers, if not the only one, within your company or organization, then you are likely aware of the sheer focus and responsibility of “running things.” Whether that decision is about new hires, meeting payroll, taking on new clients, initiatives or projects, a brand revamp or introducing a new marketing campaign it’s important to understand the “who”, “what” and “why” at the core of your business model.

The “who” is vital because it clarifies your target demographic. Understanding the audience you want to attract or service will help steer the direction of the branding and marketing. Knowing clearly who your audience is can help with generating targeted sales leads. If your company has not clearly defined who your demographic is, there is a good chance whoever your true audience is doesn’t know you exist or understand your benefit to them. Addressing this can be as simple as evaluating the gender (if specific), age and personal interest of your ideal audience.

Whether your company or organization is established or just starting, it’s important to be clear about what the services or products being provided are. It is also just as important to be clear about what your company or organization does not provide. The reason for this, it eliminates the need to be all things to everyone and presents a greater chance of success because there is purpose behind what is done. A mission statement can be very beneficial in helping to define the “what” and ever so often, it should be reviewed to make sure that things stay on course.

Last but not least, there is the all important “why” your company or organization does what it does. In most cases, this is stated in the purpose. Whether this is centered around a family venture, a niche, a social cause or a passion, the “why” is important because it is the foundation for a company or organization’s story. When a story is well defined it presents the perfect opportunity for strong connection, longevity and growth.

The fundamental success of a company or organization is predicated on the understanding of three main things. They are the “who”, “what” and “why”. When the audience, mission and purpose are clear there is alignment. Mind your business and I assure you, unlimited opportunity awaits.

There are few things in life that truly carry their weight in gold as much as the mentorship ecosystem. I dare to say that the mentor gains just as much as the mentee. In this rich system, information and ideas have a way of transcending conversations to manifest in ways that open minds and transform lives. There are the benefits received by the mentor, the ones gained by the mentee and then those that our society benefits from when actions are taken through these mentorship relationships to cultivate impactful, responsible, empathic influencers and leaders.

I am grateful for the mentors I‘ve had over the years that were willing to invest time, energy and sometimes money to nurture my journey. The countless conversations and time spent fleshing out ideas helped me tremendously throughout my journey. On multiple occasions I was encouraged to think out of the box and it was instilled in me that though failure is never the goal, it’s going to happen, so the key is how you overcome it. To this day, I live by so many of the lessons I’ve learned through my mentors. Now that I’m a mentor to a number of mentees, it’s so rewarding to pass along so much of what I’ve been taught through trial and error.

I truly believe a community that supports mentorship understands the immense impact this can have in the life of an individual. As a mentee, you are able to glean wisdom from those that have already had the experiences you are currently in or seek to pursue. Though becoming a mentee for some starts in high school, for others it’s college, and for people like myself, it has been since starting my professional career. I am still learning so much even now as a mentee and I’m thankful for this.

Some of our finest leaders, athletes, entertainers and industry professionals are who they are because of the value placed on mentorship. As a result, their success affords them the platforms to touch millions more. Though influencers have access to touch more lives at one time the reality is, a society benefits when just one person decides to mentor another. I have seen how impactful mentorship can be and that’s why I never turn someone away when they ask to be mentored by me.

I believe that there are few things in life as rewarding as mentorship. It is my belief that the mentor, mentee and society all win in this fertile system. I have experienced being a mentee and a mentor and the benefits of both roles have cultivated the person I am today. I encourage you to consider your life journey and whether you should look at becoming a mentee or if you should become a mentor. Either way, you are sure to win!

Brand and image: we hear and see these two five-letter words often, whether in print, television, internet, or social media. When speaking of “brand,” we associate it to a company’s identity, logo, product, or service offerings. While thinking of the idea of an “image”, your favorite celebrity may possibly come to mind; photographed wearing the latest collection of any number of designers. It isn’t necessary to have a company or be a celebrity to reap the benefits of a solid brand and image. The fact of the matter is that we all have both, whether we choose to recognize it or not.

Personal brand relates directly to identity; the combination of adjectives used to describe yourself combined with the way you communicate and how that translates both verbally and non-verbally. It’s your talents and gifts; what you spend the majority of your time doing. Image, in essence, is your style which involves the type of clothes and accessories you wear, your hairstyle, and even your choice in wearing makeup or not. For men, image can involve choosing to wear facial hair or not, but it can also speak to personality and character. Brand and image have proven to be intertwined. With this identified, the questions then become; what does your personal brand say about you? Is your image reflective of who you want others to see inside and out? From landing that new job or promotion, to obtaining an investor for a startup venture, grant for a non-profit, to being considered for that next movie role, running for an office, or meeting the man or woman of your dreams. The reality is, your brand and image matter.

Now more than ever, we can all appreciate individuals, businesses, and nonprofits that have authenticity, integrity, and a captivating story. It’s important to evaluate what this means to you. Could you use the guidance and expertise of a professional brand strategist and/or image consultant? For many the answer is “Yes!” Though it will require a little time and money, having end results of achieving a solid brand and image you desire and deserve is a feeling unmatched; following the idea that authenticity is on trend. The idea isn’t creating a brand to change who you are, the goal is to enhance what already makes you special.