“The tallest oak in the forest was once just a tiny nut that held it’s ground.”
Small Business Branding: Growth
So, you’re the tiny nut in this scenario. You’re not the tall oak, you’re not the mighty tree…you’re the little nut. Or, in other words, you’re the small business. You’re not the big franchise, you’re not the multi-million dollar company. You’re the new start-up, a fresh idea in a world full of ideas. A little small business branding can go a long way for you!
Daunting, isn’t it? But the most important part about the quote above has nothing to do with the little nut, and has everything to do with what it became – the tall oak. Why? Because it didn’t stay little. It held its ground; it rose up through the hardened soil that tried to keep it down, and it grew in size and strength.
You may be a small business now, daunted by the world surrounding you, but I’d bet you have a fighting spirit in you. What I’d like to do is give you a little guidance and a few good tips to hopefully help you grow that small business and create the perfect brand.
Who Are You?
I’m hoping that if you’re reading this article, you already have the answer to this in mind. The answer to this question is what your business should be grounded in. In a previous article of mine I talked a bit about brand identity and it’s importance. Knowing your businesses purpose, vision, goals, and values is a game-changer when it comes to creating your brand identity, and your brand identity is key to determining the future of your business. Here’s a few questions for you to ask yourself, in case you’re still figuring it out:
- Why does your business exist? What’s your purpose?
- When you think of your business 5 or even 10 years from now, what do you see? What is your vision for your company?
- Do you have a specific goal for you and your company to achieve?
- What do you value most? And how can you incorporate those values into your business?
The Importance of Branding
No matter how big or small your business is, branding still matters. Your logo matters, your website matters, the appearance of your location matters…every little detail is important and necessary. The same energy you pour into your business and your brand, is the same energy you’ll receive from your customers when they see how important it is to you. When you build a good brand, you create a good business. When you create a good business, you gain faithful customers. That brand and those customers are what will help build up your reputation, a reputation which will help your business grow and expand.
Small Business Branding: Top Tips
- Make sure your business has a brand, and that your brand has an identity.
- Figure out a brand statement – a couple of sentences that perfectly and simply describe who you are, what you do, and what you care about.
- Establish a branding strategy – doesn’t have to be complex, just creative and effective.
- Find what makes you and your business unique; find your POD – point of difference. What makes your product stand out?
- Set yourself some realistic goals for growth – they don’t have to be crazy big; in fact, it’s better if they’re smaller. Your company won’t grow overnight – it’s going to take time and hard work.
- Listen to others! Find people who have experience in the small business world, the branding world, the marketing world, etc. Get advice, constructive criticism, encouragement – soak it all up! If you want to build the best brand, you’ve got to reach out to people who have succeeded and failed at building a good brand and listen to what they have to say.
- Identify your target audience – this will largely depend on knowing your purpose as a company, and knowing what goals you want to achieve. Then create your business around the customers you desire to have.
- Find your voice (maybe even create a tag-line!) and make sure you’re communicating your brand identity to your customers clearly and consistently.
- Create an awesome logo, one that is versatile and unique. Also, a good idea is to put it on stuff.
- Create a website – make it attractive, simple and easy to navigate, and full of answers for questions your customers don’t even know they have yet.
- Think business cards aren’t “in” anymore? Try again. There’s always opportunities to pass them out and spread word about your business!
- Use good products – this should be a no-brainer! People want quality. If you can’t give that to them, they may just go somewhere else.
- Keep up with industry trends, what’s working and what’s not working.
- Be. On. Social. Media. Not your style? Do it anyways – social media is an enormously powerful tool in todays society.
- Create good content, and market it well. If you don’t know how, then explore the world of content marketing. One of the first steps to gaining faithful customers is drawing them in with appealing content.
- Advertise, advertise, advertise! Need I say more? Spread the word! Make your statement, make your stand…announce your presence in the small business world, and demand attention.
- Prioritize excellent customer service – your staff is going to interact directly with your customers, and will often determine whether or not they come back. Make sure your staff is trained properly and efficiently and has your brand identity at the forefront of their minds.
- Use your business to build a community – your customers will play a huge roll in this, and you’ll simultaneously grow as a company and make people feel welcomed and included, like they’re a part of something bigger.
- Find a charity or nonprofit to partner with – the company I work for donates 5 cents every time someone chooses to skip out on a bag; it goes towards a charity that helps build schools around the world. Doing this shouldn’t be about looking good for the customers. It should come from a place of wanting to help those in need and wanting your customers to have an opportunity to do the same.
- Delegate! You can’t do everything on your own. Beyond having a great staff, you need to find your people, your own personal community – people to rely on within your business, people to go to outside your business for those days when you just need a friend. It’s not always going to be a walk in the park, have people that are willing to help with the workload when you need a break.
The Future is Now
Rebranding is not, in any way at all, ideal. My hope is that with a brand rooted in your company’s purpose and goals, you’ll never have to rebrand. But just to be safe, a word of advice: always keep your businesses vision in mind. Think about the future now. It’s never too early to start thinking about the future, but it is too late to change the past. Guarantee that you won’t have to try, by creating a vision-focused, goal-oriented, purpose-driven brand right now.
Now, go out there and build your business! You’ve got this.