Starting a business feels like an absolute rollercoaster! Our clients and business owner friends tell us all about their journeys when we work with them. And we’re no strangers to that wild ride ourselves! What we’ve come to conclude is that the rollercoasters we all start on are actually very similar.
Read on, my friend!
It all begins with an idea, and it’s very exciting!
The more you think about it your idea is definitely a solution you want to provide to a specific audience.
Continuing, the research you do makes you feel confident that this is something you need to offer publicly and potentially profit from.
However, there is both hesitation and excitement along the way.
You run with it and it starts to turn into challenging work.
Surprisingly there are more pieces that need to be put into place in order to get things off the ground, and up and running.
Then, the realization sets in that there’s even more to this than you thought – branding, prototypes, legalities, trademarks, CRM software, newsletters, POS systems…
There is no start-up budget and you might also be working another full-time job as you develop this idea. It’s a lot of unexpected work.
Next, overwhelm begins to creep in. You’re tired.
This is where you question whether it is a good idea.
Friend, if we could be on this journey with you this is where we stop you and tell you your idea is great! Look at you! You have come so far to get to this point that it would be a serious shame to stop now! Especially because you KNOW this is a terrific idea. Take a minute for yourself to regroup. Get your favorite pen and the notebook you keep your clever ideas in and let’s go over a few things. It’s easy to skip some steps when you’re starting a business by yourself but we believe in you.
As a result, we offer a free DIY brand audit workbook for this exact reason.
Here’s the deal with brand pillars. Every business has them whether they’re intentionally set or not. Therefore, it’s beneficial to intentionally define your brand pillars. This could be the missing piece at this stage in your journey. These pillars are part of your entire brand strategy framework. They set you apart from your competitors and keep you on track with any decisions you have to make for your brand. Let’s go over them together.
Your purpose is your “why,” your mission, and the reason you’re invested in doing this. It’s not uncommon to come back to this statement many times throughout the lifetime of your business. Brand strategies will be built around your brand’s purpose.
Next, perception is what is behind your actual branding. Branding is your image and the vision of what you’re trying to portray. Perception is what you portray; how your clients describe your brand. Is your brand bold, trustworthy, affordable, etc? Your messaging, branding, design, and reviews all play into how your brand is perceived and the reputation you’ve built.
This is where personality, communication, and consistency come in. Identity makes you recognizable across every platform you choose to be a presence on. The story of your brand and how you present it is the identity. Think color, voice, tone, emotion, culture, and quality; what attracts your audience, and how your brand identifies.
Position yourself to cater to your ideal customer/target audience. This involves your brand values. If you want to be number one in your niche, this is where you decide what you’re bringing to the table and implement it through how you connect. Stand out and position yourself as an expert in your field, add value, and advocate for something. Bring out what makes your business unique in the best possible light.
Not to be mistaken for sales promotion, brand promotion is your long-term growth goals and how you plan to reach them. It’s the strategies you implement to win over your audience and develop loyalty with them; the reason they keep coming back to you, and not the other guy. Where you choose to show up, and who you collaborate with are part of promotion.
Write it down
This is foundation work. In other words, you don’t want to skip it. You will revisit and add to these points as your business, scope, and budget grow but the very basis of it will most likely stay the same. At this stage, you should have an idea of who your customer is going to be. However, this may change as you gain feedback after launching your product or service. There is time to pivot.
It’s also crucial to separate your own personal preferences right now as you begin creating and exploring your concept. Separate yourself from your brand to avoid confusion and disappointment later.
Again, we believe in you.
Do the work and you’ll be working smarter in no time! Your messy middle is going to come together and all the work you put in will be worth it!