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Have you tried to ride a bike backwards recently? Kudos to the gentleman that was able to pull off this stunt. I remember trying this when I was a kid. And before you ask, YES, I fell and bust my butt. As an adult, I wouldn’t try this now because as we age, we become more rational and logical in our approach to our behavior (at least the majority of us). I simply wouldn’t try it now, even if I could balance myself on a bike going backwards, because I’m not able to see where I’m going. The same reason why a police officer would pull you over for driving down a road backwards is the same reason why I’m not driving or riding a bike backwards on a regular basis. Ironically, many people do this in business.

I had a conversation with an associate of mine, Corey Wesley, who is also the Co-Founder of Urban FLRT and Managing Editor of UrbanLand Media. He shared with me that after years of running his business, he’s now in a place where he wants to focus on getting more customers because he made the mistake of focusing on that first, before solidifying the brand.

I learned the hard way. I was worried about customers first when I should have focused on the brand identity. I believe people worry about getting the customers when they skip the step of creating their brand identity. The brand identity is what will bring in your customers. Only if I knew that when I started, I would be better off. But I am much wiser because of it.

High five to Corey for realizing how imperative brand development was in building his business. I had a client a few months ago who was in the same boat; wanting to get customers right out the gate and I tried everything I could to convince them that we should focus on building the brand first. People want to know who you are, what you represent, and if you’re in it for the long haul. They want to know that what you’re doing is not just some hobby for you, before they choose to invest in you as a customer or even a potential partner. Although I didn’t show it, but at that time, I was extremely frustrated because I truly want the best for my clients and want them all to succeed. It truly burned my britches because I knew they were riding the bike backwards.

Sometimes, you have to ask yourself, do you want to make a few dollars to buy pampers or pay rent this month, or do you want to build a financial legacy that can be passed on to other generations. I don’t knock anyone that’s trying to “get by”. I truly don’t. But if your goal is to just “get by”, why not work for someone else? You can “get by” working for someone else and live paycheck-to-paycheck because they’re telling you how much you can make and when you’ll make it. Why subject yourself to that in your business when you don’t have to?

What people need nowadays more than anything is patience, myself included. I needed patience so bad that I had a symbol I sketched that represented patience tattooed on my left hand a few years ago so that I’m reminded everyday to have it. I’m not saying that you should go out and get a tattoo, but I am saying that I struggle with patience as well. I’d love to have about 4 people on my team and we sign on large contracts that would result into a 6-figure business, on its way to 7-figures. But I’m learning that it takes time. It will even take time in finding the right people I want on the team. I don’t want just anybody for the sake of having a team. I want good people who share the same beliefs and values as I do and want this business to grow. For that, I’m willing to have more patience because I’m in it for the long haul.

Success takes time. Success takes strategy. Success takes patience. There isn’t one successful person out there who’ve became a success overnight. Even these recording artists sat back and developed their sound and identity before they became household names. Alicia Keys once said that she had been in the industry for 7 years before we knew of her. SEVEN YEARS! Robin Thicke has went through a few identity transformations before the lines were blurred.

Every success started somewhere, while practicing patience as they developed their brand. Don’t ride the bike backwards in your business. 

Photo Credit: Eskil