The steps you need
When you think “start-up”, the first thing that runs through your mind is Silicon Valley and high technology. But what about the small business you started in your living room while watching TV and the kids were sleeping? Yes! That is your “start-up” and it counts. You don’t need a garage full of geeks to
claim your title as an entrepreneur.
So you started something new or it’s a seed of an idea still in its infancy. Shall we even call it a business at this point? What is the definition of business? According to Webster’s Dictionary, it’s: “dealings or transactions especially of an economic nature”. So we’re not there yet. Good news, there’s another word: “Start-up”. A “start-up” can mean you’re still funding this gem and your bank account is draining daily. Anyone who has experienced this can laugh or cry at how painful it is to see your hard earned money slowly drain outwards with no returns. Fear not, things will take a positive turn if you do this right!
How do we turn those tears into joy and get this start-up off the ground? The cringe worthy saying, “you need to spend money to make money” couldn’t be more true right now. Be ready to spend some of that hard-earned money into branding and marketing. A lot of people are throwing the word branding around right now, but what is it and what does it mean?
Branding is how people see you or your business. It’s what we call the “consumer touch-points”. Any possible way a customer or client will interact with your business or brand. When branding is done very well and curated carefully, and thoughtfully, the public builds trust and your brand becomes strong. There is a lot of hesitancy when you approach people with the intention of having them consider switching products or trying something new. But if they see a consistent brand image, great testimonials from others and others posting about it, this is where you will see a turn in money draining out to money slowly seeping in.
The earlier you can start on branding, your brand image, voice and vibe, the better it will be for you and the success of your business. There is never a thing as too early for branding. Don’t wait! Even if your budget is smaller and you don’t have the funds today to hire a creative agency like mine, you can still do some of this on your own.
Here’s some tips for branding on your own:
Start as simple as a color palette for your brand. Ideally you want to put together a deck with all the branding components in one place. This is what you’ll need to get started:
Color Palette – Choose 3 colors that are harmonious together and stay with this always. I suggest to almost never deviate from it. You can introduce a fourth color if needed for a pop, or a promotion. Stay strict on this rule of thumb.
Logo – This will be the first thing people will see when they see anything about your company. Keep it clean, simple, and aligned with what you’re about.
Brand Voice – Your start-up will have a brand vibe… we call this a brand voice. What does it sound like? Is it a loud, energetic fun voice or is it soothing and spa-like. The color palette will also align with this.
Research examples of similar or related companies as yours or companies that you love their branding. Use these samples to inspire and propel you.
Social Media – I suggest starting the Social Media first. Yes, seems crazy before you have a website but the method is to gain some history and traction so when you officially launch, you don’t look too raw and have built some history.
Website – Start with a landing page with a way to contact you. This way social media can link to someplace while you’re building your dream website. When looking for a website designer be sure to look over all their current work and make sure they don’t out source at all or almost very little, you want them to do everything in house, that way they have and you have control on what they’re doing. At my agency we do all the work in-house, clients can drop by and see the work as we’re doing it.
The next steps to getting your start-up before the public is a marketing strategy. But that’s another topic ;) Stay strong and keep at it! It will take some time but with the right structure and patience, anything is possible.
Brooke Mason is a long-time entrepreneur, currently running four businesses, inlcuding a start-up, TukkaMate. Her life long passion is to help people, business owners and women entrepreneurs grow and succeed, which shows in her work. Based in Los Angeles, California and with clients all over the U.S., people often ask her how she does it. Her answer, “It’s the fire in my gut that never goes away. I’m driven by seeing my clients and other women thrive”. www.brookemason.com