How to determine whether it is the right time to invest in your branding
We all want to step out looking amazing right from the get-go, decking our business out in our dream branding. But how do you know if you’re ready to invest in your branding, or whether you’re jumping the gun?
This is a question I get asked by almost every start up business who enquires with me, so I know it’s probably something that’s on your mind too if you’re just starting out.
Now there isn’t a set number of years that you need to be in business for you ditch the DIY train and go straight to professional town! That decision will be different for everyone.
Here are a few things you need to consider:
How well do you know your industry and your target market?
You could be brand new to running a business, but you’ve worked in that same industry you’re now building a business in for 5 or 10 years before going off on your own. When you bring that kind of background to the table, you know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t from seeing how your past employer’s business ran. In this scenario you’ll definitely be a step ahead, likely with much more insight compared to someone who has been running their business for 6 months with no prior knowledge into the industry.
If your business idea is something really innovative and you’ve never had the opportunity to work in a business like it before, you really want to make sure that the demand is there and that people actually want what you plan to offer. If you haven’t “proven your concept” or can see proof that it’s working in the market, then think about holding off on the branding side of things until you can determine how viable it is. It’s super common for new businesses to pivot their direction a bit as they go along and you don’t want to be basing your whole brand strategy on something that won’t be your long-term direction. But sometimes these things can only be worked out over time. Beyond having a market for what you’re offering, you also want to make sure you LOVE your businesses direction. Sometimes we can start doing one thing and realise it’s not really our jam.
Do you know what makes you unique?
While it isn’t compulsory to have a niche, it can be extremely profitable, but so often we start a business, we do so working very broadly. Usually once we’ve worked in our field for a while we get to know what we love and what we hate and likewise what customers find valuable or non valuable. So if you’re working in a highly competitive industry and don’t really have a strategy for how you’re going to stand out or where you want to stake your claim, then you may be jumping the gun a bit. A huge part of the branding process is establishing HOW you’re unique and WHY customers should pick you over your competitors. If you’ve got no idea what you bring to the table that your competitors don’t then your branding may end up too general and not persuasive enough. While we can narrow some of this stuff down during the branding process I truly think experience is the best teacher here, rather than throwing a new idea at the wall to see if it will stick and basing your whole brand strategy around it.
Do you know your heart and soul?
Branding is a deep diving, extremely personal journey. When we can infuse our personality and beliefs into our brands, we can connect emotionally with the right kind of clients or customers we want, not just any joe schmo. That process makes running a business SO much more fulfilling. So if you are experiencing a bit of a brain fog on “Who am I?” or “What’s my purpose” or “Why do I actually believe in starting this business” or “What do I believe in”, then it might be a great initial step to do some self-reflection and figure out what’s driving you before you worry about your visuals. For most business owners, there is something greater or more impactful driving their business forward than just making money. Once you can tap into what that is and get more insight into what you were actually put here on this planet to do and how you can change the world in big or small ways, then you have that magic fairy dust that’s able to make your brand come alive and dive deep into the hearts and souls of your customers. If you don’t know who you are, of what you’re striving for, then it’s way more likely your brand is going to come off as pretty generic, an outcome you’re likely not going to be that happy with.
It’s really important that you feel personally aligned and connected with the branding your hire someone to produce, especially as a solopreneur, personal brand or service-based business where people really want to know WHO it is they will be working with and whether their personality will mesh well with yours. If you’re looking at a bunch of designs going nothing feels right, but I’m not sure why, then maybe you just don’t have enough clarity to get the most out of the exercise. At the end of the day, I always say that our beliefs, personality, heart and soul rarely change much. It’s like your true north, it will always point you in the right direction. So as long as you know what they are, that can form the inspiration for an amazing brand which will never grow old and outdated. If you have enough life experience to know yourself, then you’ll be more than set up for the kinds of things a branding expert will need to know to deliver your dream outcome.
Can you commit to your business long term?
Finally, you want to make sure that the business you’re establishing is something you can genuinely commit to and is something you’re going to actually love and feel inspired to do, day-in-day-out. We all know how trendy entrepreneurship is, but I can tell you right now that it isn’t all glitz, glamour and $100,000 launches. It takes hard work and determination to make your business successful. So the last thing you want is to have this false sense of what running your business will be like and then want out after you’ve made so many big investments in the business already. So really get clear that this is an industry that you are passionate about before you invest, so you don’t end up trapped in a business that doesn’t light you up, but that you’ve investment so much in it feels impossible to quit.
So how do you know when it’s the right time to invest in your branding? Well that’s only something you can answer. But if you’re passionate about what you do, you know your industry and your customers well, you feel you have compelling reasons why customers should use your business and you know yourself, then it might just be time!
Are you missing out on opportunities and discrediting yourself with your current design?
If you think you’re ready, I’d love to speak to you!
You can fill out my enquiry form to get started here
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