Monthly Archives: March 2014

Branding Basics Book: Must Read for all Business Owners

Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget, 2nd Edition by Maria Ross (Norlights Press)


Branding expert, author and speaker Maria Ross, launches the 2nd edition of her Amazon best-selling book Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget on April 2, 2014.

Targeted to small business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profits and other time-starved and cash-strapped organizations, Maria walks readers through a ten step process to create a strong brand strategy.

Having a clear brand strategy enables your organization to do more with less, attract just the right audience with just the right messages and prevents them from wasting time and money on “random acts of marketing.”

Her book includes real-life case studies from small business brands plus expert insights from author Mike Michalowicz, known as “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” and others.

  • Here’s an interview with Maria:
  • Q:
  • What can readers expect in this new version?

A: I so enjoyed writing and sharing the first Branding Basics and it was incredibly gratifying to get emails from people saying how much it helped them focus their marketing efforts, clarify their business value and avoid costly marketing mistakes.

This new edition addresses the challenges and opportunities that social media, content marketing, blogging, email and new technologies bring to small organizations. Readers can learn from Brand at Work case studies from beloved brands such as TCHO Chocolate, Blue Bottle Coffee, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Happy Herbivore and more.

Q: You talk about the difference between “branding” and “marketing” in the book. Can you please explain?

A: Most people use those terms interchangeably and they are closely related but not the same thing. Brand is your core, your essence, your promise to customers and all the ways you communicate that promise to them. Brand informs your marketing at it’s very foundation. But brand should also influence every other customer touch point, such as who you hire, how you transact business, your company’s role in the community, your production partners. Brand should influence your entire business from top to bottom, not just your marketing efforts.

Q: What are the biggest mistakes you see small businesses making when it comes to brand?

A: Too many entrepreneurs think  they are “wasting” time and money by building their brand strategy first when really they are diving into tactics before they are ready, especially because they have not clearly defined their ideal customer or client. You don’t need to be on every single social media platform, for example, if that’s not where your prime audience hangs out. I still cringe when I hear organizations saying their product or service is “for everyone.” It’s really not. It’s for certain types of people. What are their specific needs, desires, worries, hopes, pet peeves?

Q: How can people get your book?

A: You can learn more abut the book on my website, Red Slice, or check out where you can download a free preview. It is available primarily online or you can request it from their favorite bookseller, as it is distributed through Ingram. The book is available in paperback and eBook  versions.

Q: How can they learn more about you and get your support?

A: I invite you to visit my site, Red Slice, a digital elixir of stories and strategies to boost your business, brand and brain! You can find out more about my services, access useful resources, discover my books, read the blog, and sign up for The Juice email list to get free practical and inspirational tips, interviews and resources delivered right to their inbox.

Q:What is one final tip you’d like to share for all entrepreneurs, small to mid-sized businesses and non-profits?

A: Stop performing random acts of marketing! Take a step back and build your brand strategy first to make more streamlined, focused and effective marketing – and overall company – decisions that will save you time, money and heartache.


Make a Change That Matters


There are many wonderful self-development seminars with the goal to achieve an abundance of inner and external wealth, but as in any type of exercise, the harder the workout, the greater the result.

I recently met with Sarah Edmondson who brought the Executive Success Programs to Canada and has since guided many entrepreneurs to success with her great work. Executive success programs (ESP) challenge your mind and kick your butt, but it’s almost impossible to not come out on the other end as an improved version of yourself.

Dorthe: How did it all start?

Sarah: It started with my parents, literally, but also because they gave me an amazing support system and taught me the importance of making a difference.WEB-anthonysarah

Some nights I’d lay awake at night trying to figure out how I was going to achieve that… I’d see certain things going on around me that weren’t right, but I didn’t know how to change them. Looking back, I had rather ambitious goals, and it frustrated me that I didn’t know how to make them happen. Later on, after pursuing a career as an actress (which I hoped would provide a vehicle for change) and ultimately feeling unfulfilled, I started to do some “soul searching.”

I ended up watching the hit documentary What the BLEEP Do We Know?! Suddenly, I started seeing things I hadn’t seen before, and I began an introspective journey that led me to meet the director of the film, Mark Vicente. He was also at a reflective stage in his life and career, and suggested I take a course with a company called Executive Success Programs (ESP). I did, and it changed my life.

On the third day of my first training, I knew I wanted to be a coach with ESP and help others in the way I was being helped. It’s astonishing that the documentary and meeting Mark led to having a significantly more meaningful career and also the privilege of partnering with him to open the first ESP center in Canada.

What is ESP?

Sarah: ESP is a personal and professional development company. Our courses, in addition to offering some of the most powerful philosophies and practices for success, also use unique, patent-pending tools that help address the root cause of our personal limitations. This methodology is the most profound and effective tool set for growth I’ve ever come across… and both my parents are in the same field!

Who is your course for?

Sarah: ESP is for anyone with an open mind who wants to embark on a journey of self-discovery and expand the current the limits of their potential. We work with people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds, and we’ve developed into a remarkable network of people who truly care for and support each other. It’s an exceptional group.

What is your mission with your work and why?

Sarah: My mission is to reach people who, with our tools, can create as much positive change as possible and reach the highest levels of excellence within their field. So many people are doing incredible projects around the world—I think it’s important to bring them together as quickly as possible! I also want to use film to create paradigm-shifting media, which would ultimately be another tool for greater awareness and change.

How does ESP work? Does it work for everyone?

Sarah: We offer courses in different cities around the world, and you can take them on an on-going basis (just like classes at a university) or in condensed form as “intensives.” But there are two things that make ESP different from other human potential models: The first is our methodology and tools, which can facilitate very profound and, most importantly, permanent shifts. That’s because it works with our core perceptions about the world, which is the foundation for literally everything we do. Once you perceive the world differently, you never lose that perception—that’s why our results stick!

The second distinguishing element is our facilitators: I believe our coaches are some of the most compassionate, dedicated people in the field of personal development today.

While I believe our program has the potential to benefit anyone, there are some people for whom it just isn’t a good fit: people who aren’t interested in making significant changes in their life.

In what ways can your work change peoples lives?

Sarah: In amazing ways! I’ve seen people achieve results they set out to accomplish and results they never imagined possible. With the use of our tools, people have doubled their profits and built businesses they’d only dreamed of; they’ve improved communication with loved ones and co-workers; they feel more consistently motivated; they become more logical, critical thinkers; they boost their productivity and find life more fulfilling.

What does it mean to be successful to you?

Sarah: To me, success has two hands: Internally, it means living a joyful, conscious and meaningful life without fear. Externally, it means growing and achieving what I set out to do, after working through what gets in the way.

What makes you feel accomplished?

Sarah: My greatest joy is seeing people evolve and achieve their goals. Seeing the community we’re building in Vancouver and the network of like-minded people around the world is highly fulfilling for me.

What is your ultimate goal?

My ultimate goal is to always be evolving, to always improve myself.

If I looked back at the world when I’m 100 years old, I’d hope the work I do through ESP develops into a thriving community of ethical and caring individuals.

What is your best advice to yourself to get there?

Be honest about what’s going on for you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t quit.

Learn more about Sarah Edmondson’s work here