The first couple of years in business can be tough in terms of cash flow, with lots going out and not a lot coming in, but it doesn’t mean you can skimp on branding!
Making a note here that investment is both money and time. Remember – branding is everything you do, the gut feeling you want your potential customers to feel. We aren’t just talking about investing in a logo, but put some time investment into the image you want to portray, the types of customers you want to attract and where you want your business to go. Obviously design work plays a large part in portraying all this, but it is the one thing we see businesses fail to do.
So here’s 3 reasons why investing in branding is so vital in the beginning.
1. You want to compete. In many ways business is like a competitive sport, you want to be one step in front of the competition and you want people to support you (i.e. buy from you!). Not having a strong brand at the beginning is automatically giving yourself a handicap. Think about it, you are entering a market where there are a lot of already established businesses, with established clients and an established network. Moreover they will have had time to invest in marketing materials that will look the part, if you skimp on design costs you will look unprofessional in comparison. At the very beginning of your business you need to catch up when it comes to looking credible and branding can help that massively. If you want to compete then having the right image is vital, there’s no point in pretending you have been going for ages (dishonesty and branding don’t mix), but having a suitable brand image that gives you the credibility to compete is vital. And it doesn’t have to be too expensive. See our article on when to spend money on designers and when not too.
2. You understand your business a lot better. When you start a business it is easy to try everything once and see what sticks, however this isn’t the most effective way to grow your business. Having a greater understanding of your brand means you can target and specialise, and then execute more effective marketing strategies. It will help you make decisions about where your business is going in the future, allow you to communicate more effectively with your customers, and help you give a better service too.
3. It is easier than changing down the line. We speak to a lot of people who start with something basic with the aim to invest more into their brand when their business is growing. We see a couple of issues with that. Number 1 – your business will grow much quicker if you invest in branding (due to points 1 and 2). Number 2 – getting it right at the beginning saves time and effort later on. Let’s just look at the extreme basics of branding from a design point of view – logo, business name, business cards (there is so much more to it than this). Say for example you have these 3 things in place and build your business over a couple of years, eventually come the time you are going to have to change your brand to take your business to the next level. However by now people are already use to your business name and logo, everybody uses your email address and domain name which are attached to it, and all the business cards you have given out will now have out of date information on them. It can take time and effort for a company to re-brand successfully and let everyone know what’s happening. Things like domain forwarding and email forwarding can help, and yes it is do-able, but getting it right at the beginning can actually save masses of time and money later on!
There are a lot of tools out there that will help you accomplish some of the above points yourself without spending a penny. Some people may argue that there are more important things to invest in at the beginning, and we have seen some D.I.Y. logos that have been alright. However if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, then please don’t try to D.I.Y. anything! Have a brand that you can be proud of.
ACTION: We are aware this article, says more about the ‘why’ than the ‘how’. But search ‘branding’ on the homepage, and read up a bit more. There is stuff you can do yourself that makes branding not too expensive, and do-able. Like we said at the beginning, a lot of the investment at the beginning should be time, not necessarily money.