I have always loved working with new start businesses. The positivity and enthusiasm new business owners have are infectious… even if you’ve been in business for over 10 years, like me. Branding a new start business is a great process. You get to hear what the business owner wants to try and achieve and their hopes for the future.

If the person is smart, they will already have been to a Business Gateway seminar or spoken to one of their advisors. This is a crucial part of starting their business because they will advise the business owner about writing a business plan and research the market for their product or service. A business plan will change over time, sometimes you will have forgotten that you’ve written one, but they are always good things to look back on to gauge progress, set goals, or refocus your business.

Thinking about your Brand… capturing the essence of your business

My part of this process is to initially get the person to think about what they want to achieve and who they want to talk to. How can we capture the essence of their business, what their values are, what they offer people, what markets do they want to operate in. We then need to package this together and deliver creative routes that can talk directly to their target audiences and pitch the company offering in a unique way that sets them apart from their competitors… easy enough then!

A lot of new business owners will often try to do too much all at the one time or get so lost in the process they almost become frightened to start! Remember, the branding process should be enjoyable. You’re giving your business its own unique personality and associating it with things that you believe people will value. You are seeing your business idea come to life! The first thing to do is establish the brand, what your business offering is, then communicate that to your target audience.

One of the best ways to do this is by having a website. Your own part of the internet that showcases your business along with its products and services. It should give people ample opportunity to contact you directly and it should really showcase why people do business with you.

Let people know about your website

Whatever you do, don’t view having a website as the only thing you should do. You need to tell people about it. Imagine having a shop that you are really proud of. It features all the lovely things that you sell or do. Whenever someone comes in, they get a warm welcome and they spend time getting to know you, what you do, and why they should buy from you. Now imagine your shop wasn’t on the high street, instead, it was stuck in a back alley that nobody knew existed. That’s a little bit like having a website then not promoting it. There are millions of websites all vying for visitors, you need to tell people about yours and why they should visit it.

Make the most of social media

I always advise people make use of the free platforms. Find a social media channel that your audience uses. For a lot of businesses that have products to sell they may find Facebook is the best option for them. If it’s a business that sells professional services such as accountants or architects, they may find LinkedIn is the best way to connect with their audience. My advice is to find two or three social media channels that attract your target audience and concentrate on building a following on them.

Social Media Marketing is only one part of attracting attention to your business. It’s an important part of the ‘marketing mix’ but it’s just a part of it. I’ve spoken to people in the past that inform me that they have a Facebook page that they contact people on. They don’t want anything else, such as a website, because they ‘talk to everyone on Facebook’. Firstly, not everyone is on your chosen social media channel, so straight away you are restricting your audience. Some people aren’t comfortable using social media or they may have set up a profile and realised it wasn’t for them. They still want to hear about your business. They still want to buy from you. Where else can they find out about you?

Secondly, you are building your business on shifting sand that you won’t be able to control. If a social media company makes a change to its algorithm that negatively impacts the way people view your business, then there will be very little you will be able to do about it. Businesses can have a following over a few thousand people but with a change to the algorithm, or how your business profile appears, then they literally stop communicating with their audience overnight. In the longer term, you should be able to adapt but in the short term, you need to have a constant place that people can have as a reference… like a website.

Business Branding – Enjoy it!

When you are in the early days of setting up your business take time to think about your business branding and the people who will be attracted to your business. Think about the media they use, whether that is social media or traditional print-based media. Will your budget extend to a TV campaign? Plan it out, get an expert opinion on your plan, then make a start. Most of all though… enjoy it.

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