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November 12, 2011


You are bang on. However, most start-ups begin their enterprise with a focus on the technology or service that they think could be sound business. I was one of such start-ups some 40 years back right out of college with a bank balance of $20.
It took a while to get used to the idea that the 'perception' is that of the customer. It came as a pretty rude shock.
As a fledgling start-up struggling to survive, I did not try for visibility, rather tried to keep a very low profile. Fortunately I had a mentor who pushed me in gaining whatever visibility I could muster. I remember hesitating in passing around my business card. I know it sounds so foolish.
Much later I worked with a government department as a consultant in establishing incubators in leading teaching institutions in the country. It was then I could push a lot of proposals and projects through the bureaucratic system with relative ease. As a matter of fact I built quite a reputation in that. Even today I get assignments from various teaching institutions and R&D centres without ever approaching them for one.

Great review of the ways to strengthen and market one's brand.

I would add that one needs a clear picture of of what one can deliver for customers and that each contribution is custom made for each particular customer.

This is so true and for me, highlights the distinction between "output" and "outcome". We focus on the "output" of appearing selfish, arrogant, "it's all about me" if we seek positive perception, visibility & influence instead of the outcome of those: the ability to make a bigger difference and have a positive impact for change on many levels. Thank you Whitney for highlighting the issues and the distinction.

"Finally, I know this all seems a bit self-aggrandizing." Not at all, I am curious why it felt that way to you.

I constantly struggle with the paradox of wanting to be visible and invisible at the same time.

Thanks for the link!

I found you from The Power of Moms website.
I have experienced the visibile/invisble paradox. There is a certain task I know I'd be great at doing, however the fear of rejection has held me back from stepping up to the plate.

Doing a talk tomorrow on how people need to take a seat at the table. What I know experience in myself is that the more I seize an opportunity even though nervous and part of me would rather not, the more I build the muscle to seize the next opportunity. We all need to build the muscle of speaking up. So I ask myself: You increased your kettle bell to 50 pounds. Did you increase your speaking up and business communications to 50 pounds? What would that mean?

Interesting how these are related. If you don't have the perception part right then it might be best to fix that before working on visibility and so on. Looking forward to the read.

Managing perception is tricky when there are already pre-conceptions. I had the chance to start from scratch during my internship and I have never felt so powerful! (Sounds cheesy but it was awesome.) Coming back to b-school was difficult because I encountered the friction of a previous brand conflicting with the one I wanted. Anyone have any tips for how to change perceptions when strong pre-notions already exist? Interesting concept. Thanks very much Whitney!

Congratulations to Kelly! You've won the giveaway. Will you e-mail me whitneyljohnson at yahoo dot com with your mailing address - and Joel will send off an autographed copy!


Your comment about "fear of rejection" holding you back from stepping up to the plate is a common issue I see with many of my clients. I recommend imagining everything you would do if you didn't let the fear of rejection stop you from taking action. Would you take on that project that everyone else is scared to accept? Would you assume responsibility that is beyond your comfort zone?

How exciting that you won the giveaway. I look forward to mailing you the book.

I just received the book in the mail and wanted to say thanks! I'm anxious to learn and apply.

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.


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