You’ll see people start businesses, or stay in them for that matter, for the wrong reasons. In order to build a successful brand, people have to be fully invested in it to make it work.
Passion builds strong brands.
Understanding the why and the sole purpose of the brand is what helps customers and clients connect on a personal level. It’s why we all invest our time into things that interest us because we as humans want what’s going to impact us personally. If your brand doesn’t connect on a personal level, then there’s no brand loyalty, your brand will be yet another cog in the thing we all call life. Don’t let it be something meaningless, disposable and forgettable.
Understanding the why.
I was on a Facebook forum not that long ago and someone asked the question “Why did you start your business?“.
A lot of the responses were along the lines of:
“so I can work from home”
“so I can spend more time with my family”
“so I can work when I want”
Now whilst these are all ‘benefits’ of starting a business, they shouldn’t be the reason you go into business; passion should be.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What is the thing that you could talk about for hours on end without being interrupted?
- What is the thing that sets that fire in your belly and motivates you?
- What do you do in your free time that you don’t get paid for and love?
- What could you do for a lifetime and never get sick of?
Now we’ve all watched the Simon Sinek TED Talk about the ‘why’, it’s been viewed over 35 million times and so it should, because never have I seen someone explain something so perfectly. To quote, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it’. Again, passion.
Being a technician vs. business owner
Whilst I’d love to say it’s easy, but being a business owner can really suck.
Working from home can really suck.
Having limited cash flow can really suck.
Being isolated really sucks.
Though if you’ve got passion, this will be what helps you to keep fighting the good fight.
I left work as a designer, but I started YO&O as an accountant, an account manager, administrator, marketer, and [insert every other job role you didn’t have respect for until you left the 9-5 job]. I used to sit at my desk and think, I can do this on my own, but I really underestimated the time and effort involved.
Hit them in the feels.
Just because you can do something good, doesn’t mean people will buy from you. You need to sell the dream, the passion and the difference. Take the 1997 Apple ad ‘The Crazy Ones‘ for instance, at this stage, they were only selling computers, but in this ad, they’re selling what they stand for, and if you buy the computer, you’re buying into their values. Why? because it made you think and feel something. Brands that make you feel, will be remembered. That’s inclusive of every emotion; laughter, sadness, empathy. How can you sell what you do in a way that connects with your audience on a personal level?
The niche market.
When people say to have a niche, it’s because you should. Now sure, it may not apply to all brands, but if you really want to specialise in a ‘field’, becoming an expert in that field will be what helps you find the right market to talk to. When your services are so diverse, instead of doing 10 things OK, do 1 thing great. Have a point of difference and stand out, so that when people need something, they’ll know what you do, how to contact you and what you stand for. It also helps to build your brand loyalty. For more on the point of difference, read our previous blog ‘Why being different matters‘.
Spread the good word.
Show people you’re damn good at what you do; write blogs, guest speak, share tips, shout from the rooftop, but most of all make friends. Making enemies will get you no-where, so let’s embrace collaboration. There’s plenty of people in the world and enough work to go around, so don’t be a hater. Work together with people in the community so the area as a whole reaches the same end goal. Life is too short for pettiness, don’t burn bridges and rise above. Keep negativity off social media and remain level-headed. Earn respect and build trusting relationships, it will be one of the best things you do. These people will become your silent brand ambassadors and in most cases eventually your friends who have similar interests. Sure it’s scary at first, but make the leap, introduce yourself and get out there.
Know your value.
Don’t be fixated on price, because not everyone is. There will be a lot of people who start a sentence with ‘how much?’, and we for one are very hesitant with questions like this because we don’t feel they’ve read or understood what our brand is all about. We offer value, and value by far outnumbers price. For this reason, our clients are long lasting and we’ve built solid relationships. Know your worth and don’t let it be dictated to you.
You will know:
- What experience you have
- How long you’ve been doing what you’re doing
- Who you’ve worked with
- Where you’ve worked
- What you can personally offer
If you were like us and left corporate to start a business, that sure as hell doesn’t mean you devalue yourself because you’re a new business, the experience is still there. We know our worth, our clients know our worth and people that respect what you do will too! To give you an example, we just hired a photographer, the price was the LAST thing we asked for. In fact, we already said yes before seeing the quote. If your product or service, brings value to someone, that is what you’re charging for. In saying that, you also need to establish your presence in the market, so if you do all of the above, that will help here.
Visually, verbally, culturally, everything. Saying one thing and doing another doesn’t help with the whole trust thing. Staying true to your brand culture and its values, cement who you are as a brand.
- How you treat your staff
- How professional your brand appears
- How you reward brand loyalty etc.
Don’t tell people what you can do, show them. Put your money where your mouth is and say it how it is over and over and over again.
Now we’re sure you’ve heard the danger zone for startups is within the first 1-3 years, and it’s usually because of mismanagement. Not understanding the process, not realising the importance of investing in your own brand for marketing purposes, and not just money, time! After all, if you don’t tell people about your product/service, how will people know you exist. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, focus on the foundation, with a strong foundation, you’ll be unstoppable.
Until next time,