When is it time to start branding my small business?
Branding is usually one of the first major investments a business makes. Why? Strong branding creates a foundation for an impactful website, social media strategy, content marketing strategy, and better brand recognition.
Branding is a way to communicate what your customers or clients can expect when they make a purchase from you. Visually. Without saying a word.
Your brand identity sets your business apart from the competition and allows your ideal customers to find you more easily.
A note about niching down
The most successful small businesses know exactly who their target market is and they niche down enough that they don’t have to compete with a million others offering the same products and services. If you’re being price shopped, there’s probably an opportunity for you to get more specific about who your products or services are for.
When you become ultra-specific about who your ideal customer is, it’s time to start the branding process. By building a brand identity that speaks to a specific type of person, you will establish yourself as their “go-to” resource in your industry. This alone is incredibly powerful.
If I niche down too far, won’t I be excluding a large group of people from wanting to work with me?
Yes, and that’s the point. You don’t want to work with everybody. Everybody is not your ideal client. Your ideal client recognizes the value of your work quicker than others and will be excited to reach out to you and make a purchase. They’ll follow you on social media and engage with your posts. They will open your emails and click through to read your new blog post. Your ideal client will leave you a raving review for your business without you having to ask them to.
And, when designed correctly, your brand identity will be what drives them to send that first message or make that first order.
So, when should I start branding my business?
I’m glad you asked! There are a few pivotal points in a business’s life to consider a branding or rebranding project.
When you’re starting a new business
The best time to brand your business is before your brand’s launch. Starting your business off on the right foot, with a strong, professional brand identity is one of the best ways you can avoid wasting time on your business. You’ll attract your ideal customers from the get-go and start establishing yourself as an expert immediately.
If you’re a new business owner and you’re not wanting to invest in branding right off the bat, I completely understand and I’ve got your back! This article will point you toward resources that you can use to DIY your branding until you’re ready to make the investment. If you’re interested in learning graphic design instead, try this article. As a business owner, design is an incredibly helpful skill to have at your disposal.
When you’re renaming your company
A new name likely means a new logo and a new brand identity to go along with it. If you’ve decided to rename your company, you’re probably shifting around your products and services, too. Giving your new brand name a fresh look signal to your current audience that your brand is pivoting. Changing direction in business can be scary, but as long as your new name and branding is speaking directly to your ideal customer, your business will benefit in the long run.
Renaming your company also gives you an excellent opportunity to announce new products and services and to build excitement around your newly redesigned brand.
When you’re spending more time chasing clients than working with them
- Maybe, your business is modernizing its visual presence.
- Maybe, your business isn’t achieving the results you thought it would originally and you’re spending too much time on client acquisition.
Usually, a business in the process of rebranding has identified that its current branding is not attracting their ideal client. Making changes to the way you present your business online and in-person through your brand identity will help improve your business’s ability to snag those dream customers and clients.
When you’re launching a new product, book, or course
If you’re launching a new product for your business, you may consider branding it separately. This definitely depends on your personal preference, but many online entrepreneurs choose to create a separate brand identity for their online courses.
Let’s say that you’re a blogger who does freelance work, focusing on work in the law industry. Your blog talks about your personal experience and how to get started with legal writing. After getting a ton of questions from readers about how to start freelance writing, you decide to develop a general course on freelance writing for beginners. Your blog’s logo involves graphics related to the legal industry, so you decide to brand your course separately.
When you’re merging two business
When two businesses come together to function as a single entity, that new business will need new branding. A merge comes with a long list of tasks, but rebranding is an essential step in the process. Rebranding successfully will clearly tie the vision and values of both brands together into a uniform visual presence.
When you’re ready to get this show on the road
If you decided against investing into your business’s branding until you began generating income, there will come a time when you’re ready to take your branding to the next level. As soon as you’re able to validate your business’s revenue model and feel secure enough to make the investment into branding, I recommend that you take the leap. High-quality branding will communicate your professionalism, build trust with your audience, and start enjoying more brand loyalty and recognition.
Where to look for a reputable brand designer
So, you’re ready to work with a brand designer but you want to make sure everything will go smoothly before investing $$$ in your business. I hear you, girl! Here are some of the best places to find a designer to work with:
- Search on Pinterest for a brand designer who creates for your industry/niche or who creates designs that click with your style. To do this, hop on Pinterest and search for “designer for holistic brands” or “feminine brand designer” and see what pops up. You’ll end up seeing portfolio items and blog posts from brand designers who might fit the bill. Check out their websites, look at their portfolios, and contact them if you’d like to inquire!
- Ask in a Facebook group for business owners! This is a great way to vet personal recommendations from people who have recently worked with a brand designer. Lots of times, people who give you a recommendation are more than happy to chat about what the experience was like for them if you’re interested in learning more. Here’s a free list of 20+ Facebook groups for female business owners – start here if you don’t know which groups to ask around in!
- Take a look at a design portfolio site, like Dribbble. The whole point of these websites is for designers to display their style and expertise. If you see a designer who you’d LOVE to work on your project, check them out and see if they accept custom work.
Can you DIY your brand?
For sure! Actually, it’s probably a good idea to start your business with a DIY brand, especially if this is your first business and you’re low on funds. DIYing your brand is a great way to kickstart your business without going through an intensive, multiple-week process, which is usually what a professional brand designer will do.
For more information about DIYing your brand, check out some of these resources:
- Honing in on a Distinct Style for your Brand – Elle & Co.
- How to DIY your Brand Without Spending Any Money – Spruce Rd.
- Creating a Consistent Brand Identity with Canva – Your Geek Chic
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