5 Lessons from the Unpopular

5 Lessons from the Power of UnpopularI just finished The Power of Unpopular: A guide to building your brand for the audience who will love you (and why no one else matters) by Erika Napoletano of Redhead Writing. At first glance, this book looks like it has a fat lot of nothing to do with cattle ranching, but I’ve pulled out a few quotes we can apply to our bovine-related lives.

It’s impossible to get everything done on one’s own, and the sooner you acknowledge that you need a team to get you from point A to point Z and every point in between, the better off you’ll be. Ask for help, know what you don’t know, say thank you often, and never be afraid to admit it when you’re wrong.”

Even a small herd of cows quickly commandeers your time and resources. A ranch needs a team of people, whether they are employees, feed deliveries, veterinarian services, etc. I especially love the idea of “know what you don’t know”. It’s hard to admit sometimes, but if you don’t know something, find someone who does and learn from them. If you have the resources, let them do it. They’ll be far more effective.

Understand that there are more than a few people who will never get what it is you do or why you bother with it.

Your brand is a who. It’s never a what. People do business with people, and brands that help their audience understand that there’s a person behind the pitch have the opportunity to soar far above the rest.

I pulled these two quotes out because of their relevance to people who buy food and why it is important for cattle ranchers to share about their beef stories. You don’t have to look much past your front porch to see people who don’t understand ranching.

There are some people who will never have an appreciation for it and will do whatever they can to grind it beneath their heels. But there are a lot of people who just need the opportunity to talk to a rancher about where their beef comes from so they can make their own decisions about what food they want to buy.

Look back at the last time you shared a meal with more than one person. Did everyone around the table agree on everything in every conversation that arose during the course of that meal? If so, remind me never to come to one of your dinner parties, because they’re probably held in Wonderland, and that’s not a commute I’m willing to make.

Be open to new ideas. It’s easy to do things the way they’ve always been done, but that doesn’t mean they should be. Listen, consider, and then make a decision. Don’t skip the first two steps and head straight to the decision-making step.

It’s not hard to lose track of your audience when you’re working every hour of the day to build a new business. At some point, we’ve all lost sight of the customer in pursuit of the end goal, and as a result, we’ve probably had some completely avoidable snafus added to our track records.

Stretch your minds a bit here, because the end goal is where you want to keep your focus. What are you trying to accomplish on your ranch? Are your investments of time and money in line with those goals? Or are you getting tangled in the details?

If it all went away tomorrow, what would remain? Never forget that people and relationships are what grant us access to life’s greatest potential.

I’m closing with this quote for a simple reason: ranching sucks up time like a shop vacuum. Working dawn to dusk is the standard, not the exception. Yes, there’s a never-ending stream of things to get done, but family and friends are more important than a to-do list.

Find a way to incorporate your most valuable relationships with your work. Dedicate time to just be with those people. Make it a priority, even when you’re in the trenches during the busiest seasons of the year. Just have fractions of time to dedicate? It counts, and it matters.

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