Brand value; what is it and how does it affect small business? Your business brand value is the corporate weight you carry within your profile. A friend of mine ‘Bulelani Balabala‘ says; if at all you have done business as small as supplying the Coca Cola Company with Nail Clippers you have the weight on your profile to carry you to a point where you don’t need to reference anymore. It is a simple philosophy that means to have your start-up company working with industry leaders is much better for your brand value than to be an industry leader working with small brands only.   Everyone has to start somewhere yes, but this does not mean you should be fishing in the pond because you have a small boat; the idea when starting out is to sometimes jump onto or tie your small boat to a ship to get moving faster. Brand value increases according to your business relationships and it is directly proportional to sales. The better the business relationships you have in business the more sales you will have coming your way because of these relationships. Business people are human and they need to trust you to work with you and no one will work with or give business to anyone they do not like. This system works exactly like that of a pilot fish and a shark. The pilot fish has a great service to offer that helps the shark get rid of bad bacteria and in turn it always has food directly from the shark’s mouth. If your start-up does not offer a legit service/product that actually makes a difference to decision makers in your industry than what do you have to barter with?   I was complaining to a mentor about a deal that went sour the other day and he replied by saying; “welcome to business life Ash, people are snakes and it is not as easy as you may think”. This was yet another wake up call for me to just keep putting in the work with as much attention to detail as possible because it dawned on me that things may not get any easier. Your brand value is simply what you can offer beyond the ordinary service offered in your industry and this is largely influenced by your USP [Unique Selling Preposition] as you are stagnant without one. Why do you reckon we encounter small companies like WhatsApp that are bought over by industry leaders such as facebook? Yes one reason could be the massive personal information the database has but the main reason is because of these small companies being a huge threat to these industry leaders and the only way to keep at the top is to either step up your game or buy the biggest threat to your throne, Facebook did the latter in this case.   Your brand matters to the world whether you know it or not. Playing small in an ocean of start-ups where most are small is never a good idea for those that are looking for much more than the daily bread. One thing I have learned over the years of being an entrepreneur is that your age or education level does not have much weight on your brand value if your service or product is mediocre. The key is identifying and ensuring one has a product or service that will make a positive impact on the earth in one way or the other. Great leaders like Steve Biko did not concern themselves too much about financial returns because they had a goal of pushing change and making a positive impact in the fight for the democracy of South Africa.   The lesson to us in this whole ordeal is that we have more than ourselves to work at changing the economy for, we have our families and yes we do owe it up to the heroes that fought apartheid to fix our economy because they did their part by giving us the platform of freedom to create great African brands. It is only up to us to ensure that the brands we create are brands of true value. Twitter: @AshOfCeremonies Facebook: Ash Thekiso