Five Tips for Branding Your Start-Up Business

Congratulations! You’ve had the idea brewing for months or years. You’re off and running. You’re working long, productive and energizing hours to kick off your new venture. The new business is popping up in your dreams and consuming your head space as you drive to the next appointment, right? Ride the wave, and Build. Your. Brand. Create a buzz. Play like Mother Duckling, and get them to follow you. That really is the place to start. It’s a great idea to get a buzz going even before you open for business.

How will you scale? Be careful … don’t try to sprint to the top too fast.
How will you scale? Be careful … don’t try to sprint to the top too fast.

Consider the following tips to catapult your business right to the top SEO, page rankings, and number of closed deals.

1.Start Your Engines: Starting on day one, create and feed your social media sites. The goal is to engage, engage, engage with anyone and everyone who responds. Ask questions, create a game or trivia, offer innovative and interesting ideas on your blog. Get the buzz going.

2. Build Relationships: Foster relationships with buyers, businesses that complement what you’re trying to accomplish, folks in the media, and bloggers who could help to spread the word and drive business back to your site. Build the relationships (thus your brand) by establishing a reputation based on trust, innovation, and consistency over time.

3. Consider Scaling: How will you scale? What’s your timeline? Get the team together once each month to push the pause button and really think about how far you’ve come and where you really want to go. You must plan. The big idea here is not to grow too quickly. You know the stats about start-ups. Most of them fail, and yours is not going to be a part of that number. The fatal flaw of a lot of start-ups is the attempt to grow too rapidly. The adage is true: Those who fail to plan are planning on failing. Yep. That’s a keeper.

4. Subcontract: Team up with people who know what they are doing, and spend your own time, effort, and energy very wisely. You’ve got the great idea, but there are companies who can help with establishing your positioning, brand management, diversifying revenue streams, tuning into and targeting your demographic, and most importantly – effective marketing.

 One organization that has established success-based outcomes is Akel Ventures. Maybe you’ve got some great employees who can handle some of these steps, but it’s wise to team up with the experts, and to lean when you need to lean.

Carefully study which pitch works best, then nail it.
Carefully study which pitch works best, then nail it.

5. Perfect Your Pitch. Once you hit a dozen or so meetings, you’re going to start getting a stronger feel for what works when you consider words, stories, inflections, marketing tools, email styles, and other facets of your initial sales pitch. Study the vibe and reactions, and respond to what works – and what doesn’t. Listen well. Absorb the body language, direct, and indirect feedback that you’re getting.

In just a few short weeks, you’ll have developed a template for your pitch, and most importantly, stay approachable and just have some fun with it. People take these types of meetings all day long. Establish yourself as a likeable vendor; get them out of the office and to a lunch table, golf course, or walking trail. They’ll look forward to your visits, and they’ll respond with purchase orders.

Put this one under the bed for a while. Subcontract to lessen the load, but you know this: you’ll be busting tail for a while.
Put this one under the bed for a while. Subcontract to lessen the load, but you know this: you’ll be busting tail for a while.

Work Smarter Not Harder? Remember that Four Hour Work Week book? Well, you know better.

To get a start-up off the ground, you’re going to work a lot more than four hours a week, but the strategic must is to get the branding word out there. Putting the focus on branding will save you thousands of hours along the way. Once you get that following, they’ll tell you (through their feedback, buying choices, and direct requests) exactly what they want – and that will drive your business right into the “success” zone.

Good luck, and dream big!

 

Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about business, marketing, and education.

 

Photo Credit:  Observations from the Road Less…

Photo Credit: Big West Conference

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