Successfully establishing a brand is a vital exercise at a time when, according to the U.S. Small Business Association, 55 percent of new businesses fail within the first five years. Unfortunately, many busy entrepreneurs put branding on the back burner. 

Making your brand stand out is easier than you might think. To do so, you must find your zone of genius--that is, where your greatest passion meets your innate talent. Your zone is unique to you, fitting your personality traits like a finely tailored suit. When you're in it, you get so lost in your work that don't notice time passing. As a small business owner, your brand should reflect this, standing out to potential clients and competitors as something that is truly authentic.

Uncovering your zone of genius starts with the understanding that innate talent, for this purpose at least, is not about what you do, but how you do it. Typically, people equate talent with what they do--singing, playing a sport, or performing surgery.  But true talent has more to do with how you approach your work. How many of us would prefer to choose doctors based their unique approach to health, diagnosis, and medication, rather than their education and location? I certainly would. As consumers, we crave this information, which is why referrals are so powerful. We want to hear about people's experiences with a physician, product, or service. For companies, the key is describing the experience your customers will have using your product or service through copy, titles, taglines, and descriptions. If you do, you'll make the buying process that much shorter for your customers.

How do you identify your greatest passion? It's an activity that you could do for countless hours with joy. This is not always straightforward, but can be embedded in your psychology and linked to your personal journey. One of my clients, Susan, recently told me about her father, who was a well-respected CEO of a prominent business. "He was known for being the best," Susan told me. Likewise, Susan developed a deep passion for being "the best" at whatever she was doing, while helping others along the way. Any environment or activity that gives her the ability to be the best and help others be their best provides her with endless fulfillment. Susan now has the understanding that, in order to be completely fulfilled, she needs to be helping others be their best. Combine this passion with Susan's innate talent for using a personable approach to create win-win situations, and you've identified her zone of genius.

People have to choose you between hundreds of others. If you are clear about your passion and why you are doing what you’re doing, it provides an additional connection point with your clients. Simon Sinek, the author best known for popularizing the concept of the "golden circle," once said, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Identifying your zone of genius can also help you identify your ideal client. No business wants or needs to market to everyone. Your zone of genius provides a level of specificity that allows you to identify the person that is going to connect immediately with your approach and your passion. If you can clearly articulate these in your brand, your ideal client will find you.

Beyond the business benefits of better branding lies the true beauty of finding your zone of genius. Operating in this self-actualized sphere of self-awareness is extremely empowering, and it can make your work a blissful experience. It’s the new American Dream epitomized: making money doing what you love. Because when you are clear to yourself and others what you are exceptional at, you will be better at doing it and your potential customers and clients will be more likely to choose you. Plus, who doesn’t want to work with people who are in their zone of genius? I know I do.