People are generally willing to pay more for a branded product than they are for something which is unbranded. I’m passionate about small businesses building a ‘brand’ rather than becoming lost in the sea of ‘Start Ups’. You need to create a brand to stand out! I beat my drum about this at every opportunity. Building a brand that’s coherent and well thought out should be a very important part of your start up process and something which contributes to your overall success. It can help you to stand out from your competition, add value to your offer, and, engage with your clients. Here are a few things to consider when determining your brand: • The big idea – what lies at the heart and soul of your company? • Values – what do you believe in and how will you share your core values? • Vision – where are you now and where do you want to take your business? • Personality – what qualities and style do you want to be known for? If you can start to answer these questions with clarity and consistency then you have the basis for developing a strong brand. Once you have a clear idea of the direction you’re aiming your business, it’s much easier to put the building blocks in place to get there. Here are 5 good reasons why you should brand your business: 1. Appear to be a larger company than you actually are. 2. Give confidence of your intended business longevity to your prospective clients. 3. Endorse your credibility as a serious contender, not just a ‘hobbyist’ business. 4. Stand out as a trustworthy business and engage more personally with clients. 5. Charge premium prices to all clients. Top Tips: Don’t pitch yourselves against other similar businesses; be aware of them but be different. A great deal of branding is about defining and communicating your point of differentiation within the sector you’re operating in. Get this right and your business will start to stand out against your competitors. Invest in your brand and don’t try to find cheap solutions. Invest in a logo design, a professionally designed website and professionally designed business cards; it will pay dividends. Use your logo on all visual communications and digital marketing to underpin brand awareness. Be consistent with every part of branding that your client sees; consistency builds trust. Build a brand that is a separate entity to you. A brand can always be sold (if you choose to sell in the future) but it can’t be sold if the focus is solely on you. A good brand becomes bigger than you. Finally…. to give your business a head start, give your business a memorable brand identity. Remember, it’s not too late…. sometimes it’s better late than never!

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