Who Are You?

(The following is a true story)

As I sat reading at the Barnes & Noble Café yesterday, a Baylor University freshman took a call from her mother. The young lady decided that those of us in the café had enough security clearance to be privy to the conversation. What we learned was shocking: during her first week of classes the student realized that college would just be too tough. Why? Because she didn’t know who she was.


It seems her sociology professor had assigned an insurmountable project for homework; each student was to write a short essay answering the question: “Who are you?” This paralyzed the tender undergraduate.

Who am I? What am I supposed to write, Mom?

It seemed Mom was just as perplexed, because the discussion turned to installing Microsoft Word on the freshman’s laptop. But eventually, they could no longer ignore the elephant in the room…err café. Just when she was ready to pack up her dorm room and move back to the comfort of mom and dad’s house, the girl offered a solution:

Should I just put my name and age on the paper, say where I’m from and where I went to high school?

Mom must have approved this idea because the aspiring sociologist then secured permission to go to Best Buy to purchase Microsoft Word.
(End of True Story)

Who Are You, Entrepreneur?

I share this story, because the sociology professor’s question is one that also baffles many an entrepreneur. “Who are you?” Too often the answer is akin to answering with your name, age and high school.

We are an import store selling European furniture, accessories and lighting.

We are a community sporting complex with complete recreation facilities.

We are a kitchen and bath remodeling warehouse with a knowledgeable sales staff.

That may be what you are as a business, but it’s not what you are as a brand. You are so much more than that, because you have spirit, passion and uniqueness. Your answer to THE question is found by tapping your entrepreneurial soul.

Who are you at the core of your soul?

Steve Jobs didn’t describe Apple as a company that sold iPods and iPhones. Jobs thought of Apple as a company of artists and craftsmen creating beautiful products that changed people’s lives. His demand for simple, flawless design was uncompromising. Jobs’ answer to THE question made Apple the most valuable brand in the world.

You Are not just a business peddling stuff in a showroom or on a website. Don’t sell yourself short. Look into your soul. You’ll find an answer as unique as Jobs’ the next time you are asked:

Who are you?

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