Startup Branding Tips to Make a Big Impression

The branding of your startup business should be given careful attention during the business planning phase. Branding alone may very well determine the viability and sustainability of the business itself. If you have budget allocated for branding, it could be well worth your investment to work with a talented creative agency. If you’re on more of a bootstrap budget as most startups are, then giving some careful thought and planning will get you started on the best foot.

The typical process is an easy one to fall into. First you pick a name you like for your venture. Then you rush to GoDaddy and check for the closest domain name available. If you have more budget you buy a premium domain in the secondary market. Next you would move on to turn that name into a simple logo by selecting a font you like, grabbing a related image mark to put next to it and voila – you’ve got branding taken care of. Well, there is definitely more to consider for a lasting brand that will have the positive impact you’re looking for.

Something important to consider as you plan is that your brand is not just your logo. Your logo is certainly a part of your brand, but only the visual representation. A better indicator and measure for your brand is how people feel and what people think when they see that logo – that is your brand.

Your brand is your company’s personality. It’s how people relate to your company and how they feel about your company. You need to make some conscious decisions about how you want your company to be perceived by your target market. How do you want your company described as people tell their friends, family, and contacts about you? Think about how you would describe a friend. How they talk, how they dress, the things they do, etc. In a similar fashion, you would want to establish a personality and image for your company. Do you want your voice to be conversational or business professional? Do you want to be known for taking care of your customers? Being involved in the community? Whatever the values that you want to infuse into your organization, they will be part of your brand.

Once you’ve decided how you want to be perceived by your target customers, you need to commit to infuse that brand into your entire organization and everything you do. If your top value is customer satisfaction, but you hire low-paid, part-time, hourly workers to handle customer support, you will likely fall short and end up with a brand that is known for poor support and low satisfaction. Be sure that you are ready to invest in the areas that support the brand image you are trying to create.  By paying attention to branding in the business planning stage, you’ll be more likely to succeed.

How to Make a Big Impact with Small Marketing Budget

Guest Post by on behalf of BYU Center for Entrepreneurship, that builds great brands.

If you have a small business, it does not mean that you have to do all your operations on a small scale. You do not need a huge budget to make a big impact if you plan well. Effective marketing is the one activity that will result to the prosperity of your business. Promotions can take up so much of your cash if you do not strategize well. However, there are strategies that can help you create a big impact even when working with a small budget. Social media is one of them.

How To Use Social Media

The Internet is increasingly become a preferred advertisement medium and is gaining ground on TV and print media. There are millions of people who use various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter daily. These create a perfect platform for any form of advertising. You can engage your customers one-on-one through social media at low costs.
You can use social media to find out what customers say about your brand before you kick off your marketing campaign. Many big companies have succeeded by first determining the image their brands portray before embarking on strengthening or adjusting it. Also, you can find out your customers’ needs and wants and then tailor your marketing activities to meet them.

Thereafter, you can start your campaign by joining the social networking sites. You need to research well first though. Find out the demographics of the site you want to join. Is the population large enough for your marketing efforts? You can create a Google Analytics account for the business to determine what is being said about you and your competitors.
Next, create at least three accounts in different social networking sites and link them. Linking will give you the following advantages:

• You will only have to update one account at a time and have the same message broadcast on the other accounts.
• It saves you time.
• It makes it easier to manage all the accounts.

Forming a Community

Having created the accounts, you should also form an online community where you will be communicating and interacting with the members. This is basically a fan or customer base and should be targeted to your prospective customers. Spend ample time in developing this fan base because a disgruntled community can lead to your down fall.
Here are some of the key things you should do to ensure you succeed in making a big impact with a small marketing budget through an online community:

• Know why you are building the community and what exactly you want to promote.
• Anticipate who will be using the social site to help you make informed decisions.
• Prepare for criticisms and strategize how to deal with them.
• Determine the ideas you will be sharing with the community beforehand then stay consistent and on point always.

If managed well, an online community presents a great marketing opportunity for your business. Besides, since you are the founder, the ideas you share should be of value always.

Online Video Promotion

When using social media to market, you need to s engage your audience or else you will lose them. Creativity is necessary to make a big impact with a small marketing budget. Audio and video promotions are very vital and cost-effective. Take advantage of these.

Create a high quality video or audio broadcast and then post it on your accounts and let the community share it. This will ensure that you have a marketing tool online for a very long time that will be shared by numerous people within and outside your community. If the video or audio broadcast is interesting, you will get a stream of new fans. However, you should first inform your audience that the broadcast is up.

Blog

Creating a blog or guest blog in one of your established websites is another way of creating a big impact at the lowest costs. Just with social networking accounts, you need to stay consistent with the flow of ideas and information you blog about. Choose a topic and stick to it to remain relevant.

Conclusion

Every business can make a big impact with a small marketing budget as long as the strategies employed are viable. All you have to do is define your niche and stay relevant with your social media marketing efforts.

Is a Work-at-Home Business Right for You?

The keys to starting a successful home-based business are research and personal reflection. You will want to research several home business opportunities and then reflect on which fits best with your lifestyle, schedule, family situation, current financial condition, skills, and of course your short and long term income goals.
When you begin researching work-at-home business ideas, think about your skills, personality, and preferences. If you’re going to stick with it and truly realize that extra income you’re looking for, you’ll want to make sure it’s something you like and that you’re good at.

Some businesses are tied directly to the hours you have in the day: your earnings will have a ceiling, restricting you to the hours you can work in the day and the amount you can bill per hour. Other opportunities have a magnifying effect—allowing you to build a business with the help of additional team members (not necessarily employees).
If you are thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can be overwhelming. Here’s a look at a few of the major business models you can consider:

1. Service: The most basic business model that relies on a particular skill you have and the hours you have to essentially sell your time to perform that skill. If you’re good with numbers and finances, you could consider doing a bookkeeping business, for example. The possibilities are endless and the right opportunity will depend on you.

2. Product: If you’d rather not trade your time for dollars, you can consider a product-based business. Often you can set these up online as an ecommerce business to keep the overhead low. Focus on products you understand and use so that you can anticipate the markets needs and how to target your sales.

3. Network Marketing: Low startup costs and small monthly investment. There is a wide range of products available to represent and sell. If you’re into healthy living, there are products such as dentistnet and eBusinessplan.

4. Franchise: Proven business model with training, but large up-front fees and ongoing royalties. Franchise fees vary greatly, so be sure to have a budget in mind and know what kinds of businesses you would be interested in. There are many choices with franchises.

Even a home-based business requires careful planning for success, so be sure to check out our business plan template to make sure you get started on the right foot!