These core elements form the backbone of your reputation, and your reputation IS your brand. As oxygen keeps your body alive, your reputation keeps your business thriving. It informs every decision you make, and every training you provide. These three essentials strengthen your company and help build it for longevity.

The survival and longevity of your company is your responsibility. Entrepreneurs must retain ownership of their work, and should never pass off or delegate without being sure beyond any doubt that the person receiving it is honest and competent. I have failed to do this in the past, and have learned indelible lessons from this horrible mistake. There is no shortage of flashy, showy business owners who like to flaunt their glamorous lifestyle. They tend to over-spend, using their funds unwisely. These types hire “established experts,” paying them a significant sum to grow their business overnight so they don’t have to. However, once you pass your ownership to someone else, you lose control of the process.

After learning from my own mistakes, my intent has become to only hire people who believe in my company, set aside their personal agenda, and genuinely want my business to be successful. These workers never make money their predominant concern, and invest their full support in producing valuable product. Business owners, beware of who you hire! Destruction of a business often comes from within. Entrepreneurs and new business owners let their guard down, becoming too careless, trusting, and vulnerable. Do not be naive! As in friendships, trust is built and earned through time and mutual respect. Keep full control of your business! I cannot emphasize this enough.

Finally, know whether or not you’re in the right place! Continually evaluate and ask yourself, “Is this fulfilling to me?” When you find a business that you are passionate about, you will provide excellent services and an outstanding product, because you will value quality over money. I merged my love of reading, books, stationery, paper, and graphic design, and built my business to help people fulfill their self-publishing dreams. I take their vision and create a physical, marketable product, producing their masterpiece by combining all my passions. So, find your niche and give it everything you’ve got!

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