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Time is Money

Jayne Agency
Time is money graphic

Build Your Business’s Bucket List (Live it List)

We all know what a bucket list is. Many of us have them. But what you may not know is that businesses need to have strategic bucket lists, too. Nicole Middendorf, a seasoned wealth advisor and the founder and CEO of Prosperwell Financial, recently sat down with us at Beyond the Logo (BTL) to talk about creating a business bucket list—or as she calls it, a “Live it List” and to explain how that financial process can be guided by your brand platform, impacting culture, finances, market share, scale, and sustainability.

BTL: Why do you call it a Live It List instead of a Bucket List?

Nicole: A bucket list is a list of experiences you need to have in order to feel like you’ve lived a full life. When it comes to business, that list is different—or at least I think it should be. To me, a list of things that you want to accomplish with and for your business should be expressive of your brand, meaning your mission, your purpose, and your values. So, in essence, a business’ Live It List is how your business lives its values.

BTL: Knowing that a strong personal brand leads to a bucket list, it would make sense that a company brand platform leads to a business bucket list. How are finances, brand, and company culture interconnected when building a Live It List?

Nicole: Money is everything. It guides your decisions. When you own a business, the finances can control your marketing, hiring, and all your growth decisions. The decisions you make for your business then can affect your personal financial situation. It’s all tied together. Your brand matters. Your finances matter. Your culture matters.

Jayne Agency™Tip: If money is everything, a strategic brand platform is a way to make sure money is something you can depend on.

BTL: How does financial discipline and brand promise work together?

Nicole: Minority and women’s business enterprises (MWBEs) need to feel empowered, comfortable, and happy with their money. If you have discipline with your finances, you usually have discipline with other avenues of your work – and life. Money shouldn’t be intimidating or overwhelming. The Live it List, a positive spin on the classic ‘bucket list’, is how we execute on our brand values and mission for our clients every day.

Jayne Agency Tip: Brand strategy (your brand platform) is an equivalent to financial discipline.

Effective “Live It Lists” align to core values while pushing ambition. The key is involving all stakeholders in three key steps:

  1. Qualitatively describe your 5- to 10-year vision through identifying critical milestones
  2. Quantitatively set 1- to 3-year tactical goals across marketing, operations, finance
  3. Openly track progress monthly, revisiting/evolving regularly

Nicole shared some real-world examples of how she has helped clients work towards goals on their “Live It List”:

Nicole: We had someone that wanted to take their whole family to Hawaii on a vacation. They saved and invested and planned. They worked their financial plan and had a strong cash flow plan to support their goal. They wouldn’t even get a cup of coffee so that they could take their whole family on a Live It List trip of a lifetime to Hawaii that the kids and grandkids will remember forever.

Another client of ours couldn’t even open her financial statements because thinking about money brought so much fear and anxiety. She came in with boxes and boxes of unopened mail. We helped her shred and consolidate accounts to simplify everything. She set clear goals, and we got her on a financial plan that included a Live It List goal of hosting a painting class, which was a dream of hers.

BTL:  Why is keeping your promise so important – in business, and personally?

Nicole: I was raised to “do what you say you are going to do.” Keeping your promises is the essence of trust. If you cannot trust someone, how can you be with them personally or work with them professionally? My business brand of financial services was the first brand I focused on. I learned that Nicole Middendorf needed to have its own brand separate from Prosperwell Financial. But both are tied together. The values I have of treating others how you want to be treated, of helping people find joy and happiness, being authentic, and giving the “WOW” experience is the foundation for us as a company and for me personally.

BTL: What challenges have you encountered in trying to meet an expectation?

Nicole: When others lie, manipulate, cheat or steal from you, it is hard to uphold a promise. I just encountered this again today. A client was going to add more money to their accounts before the year is over. Their girlfriend left in the middle of the night and wiped out the bank accounts. So obviously, this client couldn’t add like they planned on because something happened out of their control. I believe there are many things in life that we cannot control and how we respond to them is what we can control and what we should focus on.

BTL: What lengths did you go to ensure your current day promise? What can you help the upcoming generations point to as hardcore proof points?

Nicole: I have been so focused all these years on giving the “WOW” experience to clients and now I’m extending my promise to give the “WOW” experience to my team. This is something I journal about, think about, talk about with my CPA, attorney, and advisors about, we hired Insperity—this is something I am ALWAYS reading books on and thinking about. We will always continue our brand promise of the “WOW” experience to clients by helping people every day find happiness and peace with their money.

BTL: How does your promise serve you today, and how do you serve your promise?

Nicole: This goes back to how I was raised. What you give to others comes back to you tenfold. I will always remember the feelings of intimidation [when it comes to money] and we don’t want anyone to have that, especially when it comes to finances.

BTL: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are building businesses, tending to personal live,s and aspiring to create their own financial integrity?

Nicole: Give yourself grace. Take risks when you are young. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Trust your gut. Don’t just do something to do something. Read the book, “Traction” by Gino Wickman. Hire people not for growth—hire people to give yourself more time.

Jayne Agency Tip: Have a solid brand platform tested and proven so you can scale repeatedly, dependably and in a means that works for you.

Nicole underscores financial diligence, brand, trustworthiness, and commitment-keeping as integral for both leading companies and guiding others. Focused planning facilitates reaching beyond standard goals to positively uplift communities, culture, and society’s development through ethical action. We want the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs to tap into their full potential too.

Looking to align around a strategic brand platform for you and / or your team? Contact Clarity@jayneagency.com.

Want a more self-directed path to brand clarity, on your terms? Check out the DIY opportunities at Clarity University™, scan the QR code or visit https://www.jayneagency.com/clarity-university/

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