Chip and Joanna Gaines: Build your business around passion, authenticity
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
GRAPEVINE, Texas — A packed auditorium of home builders and industry members eagerly awaited the arrival of the Sunbelt Builders Show opening session leaders, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Wednesday morning at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center.
Chip and Joanna, stars of HGTV's "Fixer Upper," were scheduled to deliver lessons on growing a company and building a successful brand at the Texas Association of Builders' trade show. Turns out, Chip had other plans.
True to form — and seemingly to the surprise of Joanna — Chip decided to give more of a personalized presentation instead. He discussed how he and Joanna met, how they landed the television show and what is currently going on in their lives.
Now, when you hear something like this, as a reporter covering an event with the specific goal of writing an article about branding, it sort of throws you for a loop. But let's really dive into the heart of what Chip and Joanna talked about: how passion and authenticity should drive your business.
Find your passion and follow it to success
It is a well-known belief that following your passion can lead you to greater success, both personally and professionally. Simply put, if you love what you're doing and wholeheartedly believe in it, it is that much simpler to succeed. Well, Chip and Joanna could not have driven this belief home any further if they'd tried.
Chip told stories about their first time on tape, and how he expected nothing less than to shine like a superstar. However, in that first recording, he fought with distractions and expectations, and he lost sight of what he was shooting for. Joanna, expecting her self-proclaimed superstar husband to knock it out of the park, had to pick up the slack and do her part to save their audition to land a spot on HGTV.
After finishing the audition tape, Chip and Joanna came to a realization.
"For the first time in our lives, it just sort of dawned on us, that if we can get to work, if we can get to our true passions, then we're going to make this happen," Chip said. "The more we faked, the more I stood there awkwardly dodging the boom mic, the more difficult it was for us to really get in the rhythm. But when we finally started focusing on doing something that actually meant something to us, it all just kind of fell into place."
Just as it was difficult for this powerhouse couple to get started, it's easy for any of us to get caught up in the "busy" aspect of business. Constantly worrying about the bottom line, the tedious processes, and the everyday challenges of business take their toll and make it easy to crawl into a hole and not be true to yourself.
Recognize and build upon your brand
Chip and Joanna have a motto they use in their business: "Making Waco more beautiful, one project at a time." And according to Joanna, even though their show and their business have grown nationally, their hearts are still very much driven by their passion for Waco, Texas, and their community.
In fact, no matter what stage they're on, there is almost always a mention of their beloved town of Waco. So, from a business perspective, their love for Waco and their passion for fixer uppers could easily be considered their brand — an expression of the authentic truth of their company.
As Joanna said, "We're just a couple from Waco, who really are passionate about the projects we work on, and the clients we work with. So for us, we always have to go back to, 'What is our passion, our mission?'"
As a business owner, you have to find your brand, and build upon it. I'm not just talking about what your marketing slogan should be. I'm talking about how you communicate the characteristics, principles and attributes of your company, and how your authentic values will shape the way people perceive you.
Cultivate the chemistry between you and your partner/staff
Whether or not they meant to, Chip and Joanna drove home one more business lesson during their presentation: chemistry. Chemistry between business partners is crucial to the success of an organization.
It was mesmerizing watching Chip and Joanna interact on stage. The back-and-forth, playful banter and flirtation just showed how much they enjoy being with one another. Yes, they're married with children and partners in life, but you can tell they have chemistry on the business side of things as well.
Even though they are complete opposites — Chip is goofy and most likely deals with a bit of attention deficit disorder, while Joanna is a put-together lady who is more focused on completing the project at hand — they have figured out how to utilize their personal chemistry to make their businesses successful.
Having different personalities from different backgrounds often times gives a business a better chance at success by offering a well-rounded approach, but it also presents some challenges. Dealing with personality differences in business requires constantly maintaining open lines of communication, a clear focus on where you want the company to go and mutual effort to reach the goals you set.
As you deal with your business partner(s) or staff, keep this in mind and make a conscious effort to develop and cultivate your chemistry.
Overall, Joanna perfectly summed up the entire session with one quote: "Wherever you are planted, whatever community you're in, just keep it simple. When you can do the basics well, that's how you become successful."
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