Hi Erin, thanks for your thoughtful article. I echo so much of what you've outlined! Even though I was chomping at the bit to start my own strategic consulting business 4 months ago, my disparate skill set and work experience made it hard for people to understand exactly WHAT I had to offer them, and what my business stands for. After some self-reflection (personal branding!) and looking for common threads across my career, I've crystallized my business brand story significantly and now feel more confident about articulating it to potential partners, employees and customers.
I suspect that some new business owners want (or need!) to start a revenue stream as soon as possible, hence their hesitation to clearly define a brand story in case they alienate profitable customers. It takes a brave & enlightened founder to realize that short-term financial rewards from poor-fit clients could eventually erode the integrity of the brand and, eventually, the entire business.
Look forward to reading more of your articles!