Angela Tsai is the Founder of Grow Your Brand With Impact, which was launched in 2019 to help start-up entrepreneurs – and particularly women entrepreneurs – who are transitioning from corporate career paths gain the business confidence and “marketing know-how” to quick-start and grow their own business.
Angela’s interest in empowering women first sparked several years ago during a diversity event, debating at a table about mandating women leadership numbers. She realised that working in a competitive and heavily male-dominated corporate environment, men would more naturally boost each other up the career ladder, while women often undersold themselves and were also more critical of themselves and others.
After 8 years in marketing strategy and consulting, she left her corporate career and started to Grow Your Brand With Impact to empower starting entrepreneurs to achieve their business impact whilst realising their passions. While the brand does not serve exclusively women entrepreneurs, this is a key segment where the brand particularly aims to empower and make an impact.
Through her ‘Career-Switch Entrepreneur Quick-Start Program,’ she leverages training combined with bespoke strategy consultancy and coaching to aid her clients’ step into business owner life, and start growing their business.
It is great to have you with us, Angela! Can you tell us a little bit about your story as the founder of Grow Your Brand With Impact?
Thank you for having me! It’s a pleasure to be a part of such an inspirational platform for women. I’ve always been an ambitious career-woman and my close friends and family will vouch for that – maybe a bit too much!! Entrepreneurship always fascinated me, but it was always a thing on the side, and maybe for eventually.
After completing a prestigious executive leadership program at my last company, I was at a cross-path on the next steps. Even though my goal of progression now seemed within reach, I suddenly felt an urge to explore further. I felt I would be cheating myself and the company I worked for not to do so.
In this cross-road, I ultimately decided to do the thing I was never brave enough to do before – and I knew I would regret if I never really tried! So I invested my savings and started a business journey which began 1 year ago – leading to my launching of Grow Your Brand With Impact this year.
Grow Your Brand With Impact’s mission is to help your clients communicate their brand story and proposition within the market effectively to their audience. Can you explore how you are doing that through your coaching programmes and online guidance that you offer?
Our mission is built around helping people realise and achieve their personal impact through their own business. I’ve always believed, that anyone can achieve whatever they desire if they have the right opportunity and the right (guided) encouragement. Having spent years in a competitive corporate environment, you see many people who undersell what they bring… and also the opposite!
My coaching program & bespoke consultancy is aimed at helping the start-up Career-switch entrepreneur gain the “business-confidence” and “marketing know-how” to stand up and effectively grow their own business or side hustle.
I combine a mixture of knowledge training with tailored strategic advice and guided implementation to help my clients bring their strategy to life within their business through our Career-Switch Entrepreneur Quick Start Program. This is all to empower them to stand up their foundational marketing systems and start growing their business.
What I found as I interacted with more and smaller business owners, is that even after completing courses and training, people were still getting stuck in the implementation. For some, the trainings are enough to go further, but it is the ones that need just a bit more of a boost that my program is seeking to help. And it was through these training courses actually that I went through myself, that I found my first clients.
Having spent most of my career in business development and marketing, I realised that the experience which I took for granted, combined with my own journey standing up my business over the last 12 months was something of value that I could use to help others.
Can you explain why without identifying a clear niche and relevant proposition, growth is going to be hard work for any start-up?
Today’s marketplace is saturated, and no matter what line of business you are starting, the expectation is that there are already a lot of “best in class” solutions out there that have been in the market for years.
By not identifying your clear niche and relevant proposition you are competing right up there with these big guys that you stand absolutely no chance of winning against by going head to head. Especially when you are a start-up with little to no budget and very little in the way of authority established!
The thing is with so many options out there today, it is no longer enough for customers to decide based on the what you offer, they also look for the who and why, which helps them resonate and better relate to your brand.
This is what will build your loyal base of customers that will spread your word and enable you to grow. To achieve such a high level of relatability you must be able to connect on an almost one on one level.
I teach my clients to start by thinking if they had their first 10 clients, who would they be? What do they have in common? And what do they dream of…and what holds them back from achieving it? Only by doing so and being so specific can you ensure that your messages will strike deep within the few that it targets and reaches because it sounds like you’re almost talking to them directly.
My own journey to find my own niche was confronting. It took a good number of months for me to realise – what worked for me in the corporate world, was not going to work in the entrepreneurship world.
Even if you have a lot of experience in different areas, the best way you can help someone when you’re a start-up business really is by being very good at a single thing – you need to choose. What could you be famous for? That is the question you should ask yourself.
By focusing on that single thing, you are more easily able to narrow down on who you can best serve with that single thing and craft a more valuable proposition with the result for those specific group of people I spoke of.
What was the setup process like for Grow Your Brand With Impact?
A few months into my business, I knew that I needed a mentor and guidance from someone who had made it before – which I found through Champion Academy.
I wrapped up a freelance consultancy project I had at the time, and put my business on hold while I restructured and really re-thought through the pains of the customers I could truly help. I already had the basic company structures in place from the limited company I had set up – so this was really about the launching of a new brand and proposition that would mean something and be relevant to my customers.
The setup process was simple – and it is also what I teach through my program:
- Focusing first on building your presence on a single platform – Instagram is my main one, with Facebook secondary.
- Testing and engaging my audience with relevant content – seeing what resonates, and building from there.
- I started experimenting with my own marketing engines, and combinations of tools. Hours and hours researching, testing, and a lot of money spent on the wrong tools, and I now guide my clients using a templated marketing engine, which is customised and tweaked based on their needs.
Our first webinar on setting up your basic marketing systems and foundations actually just ran this week!
Can you explain the company structure and the team working behind Grow Your Brand With Impact?
For now, I am a one-woman band, but I do see this expanding in the probably not too far future. I’m realising that one of the biggest pains of my customers is actually in the execution once the strategy and systems are implemented.
Half of all small business owners do all their marketing themselves, and they are overwhelmed with the execution. I’m actually working with one of my more established clients right now – on systemising her marketing so that it is “outsource-ready” to free her up to focus on her core business.
What platforms are you using for your own marketing tools?
I use ConvertKit for my email marketing & customer contacts which I absolutely love. Clickfunnel for landing pages, the more I get to know it the more genius I realise it is. And I use Instagram and Facebook for social presence.
My recommendation to anyone searching for platforms and tools when starting their business is to look for simplicity. While I do teach solutions for people that have zero marketing budget, I also say that if your goal is to grow quickly, it really is worth to invest in some of the paid tools if they will save you time and set you up for a better foundation.
There are free solutions for example when it comes to email and customer email management – but the paid solution I have at ConvertKit has been excellent in its capabilities to organise my list and set up automated sequences that are intuitive to manage.
Do you currently use any apps or tools to help the functionality of your business practice?
Buffer for social scheduling to automate my content publishing and free me up, Canva for on the fly designing of all types of content, Crowdcast for webinars. For the rest, I keep things simple. I have set up basic metrics, templates and systems that I use myself and teach to my clients.
And I’m a visual person – so the wall of my home office has literally turned into a strategy wall – filled with post-its that I’m standing in front of strategising daily! For other functionalities such as finance & accounting, I have chosen to outsource to allow me to better focus on building my core business.
The best lesson learnt throughout the business building so far?
The only way to learn is to do, and the only way to succeed is to keep learning. Even after being in marketing consulting for 8 years, it’s completely different to roll up the sleeves and do it for your own business, and another ball game when the stakes are high because you don’t have the corporate padding and big budgets.
Business is a testing process, and there is no silver bullet formula. The most important skill to have is the ability to learn quickly and be able to keep adapting.
What does 2020 look like for you?
I’m excited about this year ahead! Grow Your Brand With Impact has experienced such great developments since our launch. The major focus of 2019 has been on standing up the basic systems, and the beginnings of building up our brand.
In 2020 I would see the brand becoming further established, on-boarding more clients and helping them to quick-start their growth as a small business entrepreneur, as well as partnerships and further expansions into additional service areas to serve our clients.
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