Back when I first started this here blog, I was so inspired and amazed by all of the amazingly creative and entrepreneurial women out there in the blogosphere. And even now, all of that creativeness and entrepreneurial spirit continues to serve as a day to day source of motivation and inspiration for me. Now that I’ve finally put into motion my lifelong dream of opening a boutique (eek!), I’ve decided to start a new little series here on the blog where I share what it’s actually like to start, run and in my case hopefully grow a business. I know so many of you have dreams that you want to pursue and I get asked plenty of questions regarding starting a business, so I hope that this series helps to inspire, encourage and motivate you to live out your dreams.
Now for our first order of business on this Friday – branding. I can’t emphasize enough how crucial this is. From the very beginning. Please do not wait until your business is up and running to seriously think about branding. You’ll be sorry. By then your customers will have decided your brand and image, and you definitely want to be in control of the image portrayed to your customers, not the other way around. Still with me? Good. Once you have your business in mind, and your business plan in place (yes, you should definitely write a business plan) you can actively begin to figure out your branding. Go back at and look at your plan – who are your customers? What’s your mission? Dive deeper than “my customers are 19 – 34 with an income of $40,000.” Who are they really? What do they enjoy doing? What are their hobbies? What inspires and delights them? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can tailor your branding efforts to appeal specifically to that customer. Don’t waste money, time and effort trying to appeal to everyone. It won’t ever happen and you cannot please everyone. Focus on engaging and connecting with your specific customer and they’ll reward you with loyalty.
Lastly, invest in a great graphic designer or someone who can help you with your branding efforts. It may cost a bit more upfront, but having a cohesive and beautiful brand definitely pays for itself in the end! You don’t have to go with a huge design company either – there are great freelance designers out there who do just as good of a job and who oftentimes I find better understand the needs of a small or start-up business. My own personal graphic designer Lisa Butler, is a freelancer and doesn’t work for a huge company but I love her work. My business cards and initial branding came out so perfect and I couldn’t be more pleased!
Any questions or remarks? Shoot me an email or leave them in the comments. Also, feel free to suggest any other topics for Shop Talk that you’d like to see covered. Have a great weekend!