Paul Copcutt – Certified Personal Branding Strategist of Square Peg Solution
by Marian Bernard, CPS, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP
The Regency Group … www.resumeexpert.ca
Marian’s note: Inspired by similar articles appearing in Career Masters Institute’s monthly newsletter, I thought it would be interesting for CPC members to learn a little more about one another; i.e., how we apply our unique business models to best serve our clients.
This month’s interviewee: Paul Copcutt, Certified Personal Branding Strategist (CPBS) of Square Peg Solution (www.squarepegsolution.com).
His memory hook: “We build brands … YOURS.”
WHEN DID YOU LAUNCH YOUR BUSINESS, AND WHAT IS YOUR MODE OF OPERATION?
I launched my business in September 2002, initially as a recruitment firm. Since then, I have repositioned my company as a Career / Small Business Coaching organization.
WHO IS YOUR TARGET MARKET, AND WHAT IS YOUR MARKET NICHE?
I work with women who are successful in their careers or businesses; they are deemed winners through the power of their network, the quality of work they do, and their leadership acumen. Where I come in: When these women are ready to “move a notch up the food chain” and crystallize their brand.
WHAT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?
• One-on-one coaching and consulting
• Corporate workshop delivery
• Public speaking
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
HOW HAVE THEY AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS?
Companies seem to be suffering from a talent shortage; as a result, they are more discerning as to who may join their team. People must present themselves as unique or value-added to those potential employers in order to capitalize on such opportunities. Also, companies are more judicious as to who they give business to; that is why business owners need to present a more credible and visible brand.
WHAT CHANGES DO YOU SEE ON THE HORIZON FOR YOUR INDUSTRY?
I predict that an on-line identity will need to become more prominent as companies and recruiters rely more heavily on the Internet to attract suitable candidates or hire prospective suppliers. Talent shortages are anticipated to rise because the top end of the baby boomer group is reaching eligible early retirement age.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR TOUGHEST CHALLENGE? HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME IT?
My toughest challenge: Defining a niche. A lot of businesspeople fear that if they specialize, they run the risk of turning business away.
On the flipside, you earn the reputation of carving out a specialization or a unique niche so that your industry peers deem you as a “guru” in their field – the one to consult.
The bottom line: Others outside of your niche will still retain you because you are viewed as an expert; for example, 33% of my clients are still men.
WHAT HAS IT TAKEN FOR YOU TO BE SO SUCCESSFUL?
(1) Uncovering a niche, (2) building a brand, (3) cultivating good support, and (4) maintaining a strong self-belief.
WHAT ONE OR TWO TIPS – IF YOU HAD KNOWN SEVERAL YEARS AGO – COULD HAVE EASED THE PATH TO SUCCESS?
Two things come to mind: (1) Maintaining a network at all times, and (2) not being afraid to ask for help
WHAT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT YOU OFFER HAVE WORKED THE BEST FOR YOU? WHICH ONES HAVE NOT?
What has worked for me: The ones where I realize my true value. I charge what I believe I am worth, and clients receive premium service as a result. That is why I refuse to compromise on my principles; otherwise, clients could be prone to take advantage of me. When I have taken work that did not “feel right”, I invariably regretted it or felt less happy about doing it.
HOW DO YOU COMPENSATE FOR THE PEAKS AND VALLEYS OF YOUR INDUSTRY?
We should all aspire to block out time and perform marketing initiatives on an ongoing basis. Case in point: Visualize the juggler who spins plates on top of a stick. He must constantly be on the look-out to keep that momentum going so that those plates are kept in motion.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED?
You can’t do it all yourself. Concentrate on what you’re good at, delegate the rest in order to live a well-balanced life, and ultimately be more successful.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ROLE MODELS?
My father (because of his principles and values), and my brother (because he has succeeded by optimizing his strengths).
WHAT HELPS YOU STAY FOCUSED? AND … DRIVEN?
Apart from the bills? <chuckle!> I really believe that I have something valuable and worthwhile to tell others.
WHAT MARKETING STRATEGIES WORK THE BEST FOR YOU?
Public speaking, writing for e-zines and articles, and networking.
WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Next few months: To drill down into my niche and become even more defined.
Longer term: To carve out more of an influence across North America.