My last article defined what a brand is and how crucial it is to your success as a hypnosis practitioner. In this article, I will delve into the first two steps to develop your brand so that people find you, trust you, and (perhaps most importantly) return and refer their friends.
Step 1: Define Your Brand
Sure, designing your logo and determining your office’s color schemes might be the fun part of starting your business, but those tasks should be at the bottom of your list of priorities. At the very top, you need to sit down and decide what you stand for as a brand. This means asking yourself a few critical, overarching questions like:
Who am I as a person? What are your personal values? What are you willing to do to make your company successful? What are you not willing to do? Remember, it is possible to separate your private and personal lives, but certain aspects of you will be in both categories. Some things to think about that will influence your brand include:
- the way you approach and interact with people
- your energy level
- your sense of humor
- your organization and prioritization skills
- your ambition
- your ability to work under stress
Who am I as a company? What time will I open and close? Am I willing to make exceptions for certain people and their circumstances? What payment method will I accept, and what is my expectation for payment? How will I get involved in the community? How will I treat my employees and clients? This question helps form the outline of your company and defines your company culture.
What are my core values? Your company’s core values are the things that you consider non-negotiable and are your standard of excellence. For example, the United States Air Force’s core values are “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.” In that phrase, you know precisely what the USAF expects from its members. Some core values you can choose from that will shape your company include the following:
- Community Service
Defining your brand is about setting up a framework you can work within to give your clients quality and consistent service. It requires foresight and planning, but it can be a living document that you adapt over time as needed.
Step 2: Process Development (AKA How you do it)
Once you’ve decided on your core values, you need to put processes in place to ensure your company consistently upholds those values.
One prime example of developing a process around a core value is “Mattress Mack” in Houston, Texas. One of his core values is “Capitalism with a Cause.” He continues by saying, “Why work so hard if you can’t do something positive with what you earn?” When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, he immediately opened up several stores to house evacuated Houston residents. Throughout the disaster, he allowed people to sleep, shower, and eat in his flood-proofed stores while they got their housing situated. He even sent out his delivery trucks to pick up stranded Houstonians.
Not only did he have his core values in place, but he was willing to stand by his values in the face of adversity. Allowing displaced persons to sleep on his new furniture cost him a significant amount, but his brand made up for it in the perceived goodwill.
Processes you can develop based on core values include:
Honesty: Bad customer reviews – how will you address them? How will you settle credit card disputes with customers?
Punctuality: Will you schedule a mandatory buffer between appointments and strictly adhere to your schedule? What is the expectation for late clients? What is your cancellation policy?
Service: Is the customer always right? What will you do during an altercation?
Accountability: Will you pay your employees before paying yourself? How will you honor commitments even when they’re inconvenient?
Another significant process to consider is getting return customers. A professional hypnotist’s bread and butter is getting referrals from loyal clients. What procedures will you use to keep your clients engaged with your business? Will you offer:
- A monthly or biweekly email list with self-care tips
- An informational newsletter with information on hypnotism
- Emails with links to hypnosis classes
- Regular social media updates on various platforms
- Referral discounts
- Discounts or other incentives for Google reviews
- An up-to-date website with your core values and current hypnotherapist certifications
Additionally, will you attend continuing education hypnosis training courses regularly to broaden your skill-set and become more marketable?
There’s no way to anticipate every situation you’ll encounter as a business owner, but taking the time at the front end to outline your response to everyday situations will greatly help you on the tail end. Tune in to my next article for two more steps for developing your brand.