Your great idea is beginning to feel real. You know it's important to craft a brand your audience will love. But there’s a little alarm going off in the back of your head, and it sounds a lot like a old timey cash register that won’t shut up.
Our work with clients is a true partnership. We take the time to understand the part we play and the larger process our clients are going through. Rather than let your blood pressure continue to rise, we’re here to help with insights from our own start-up experience and the many clients we've served.
First things first: the all-important and ever-loathed start-up budget. Looking at branding and marketing as a portion of your start-up costs, we comment below on the essentials every new business should consider. The temptation can be great to cut corners here — and you may have some abilities to do so — but we’ve tried to be honest about where it matters most to invest properly for long-run savings.
How should I budget for branding and marketing my new business?
Here are the basic areas every businesses needs to have covered to get going:
Unless you’re in the rare circumstance of having a brand designer already on your team, you’ll need a design partner to help establish your initial identity and available to create visuals throughout your launch phase. These visuals should be driven by a clear strategy behind so all those pixels actually mean something. We roll strategy + design together in our Fairswell approach.
Entrepreneurial types are biased toward action and notoriously bad at "wasting" time on a written plan. Even a simple marketing plan will protect you from overwhelm and massive inefficiency. There are great DIY options available, but consulting an expert will ensure your plan is based on up-to-date knowledge of algorithms and trends.
Messaging & Copy
Sure, you understand what you do. But does the audience you’re trying to reach? A messaging expert will ensure that your story gets told with clarity to get your audience motivated. Every. Single. Time.
We all know your business doesn’t exist if it’s not online. Recent years have brought a few great DIY website solutions to the market, but our personal experience suggests that if you’ve got a clear vision for your web presence, a professional will be best equipped to make it happen.
No two brands have the same strategy for tapping into social media’s powerful tools to target and build an audience. Some business owners thrive on social. For the rest of us, a little strategic guidance and content creation support can harness that power.
Each of these needs may vary in cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for most small businesses. Sadly, most often these critical investments are relegated to a small “Branding & Marketing” line item in most small businesses’ start-up budgets, while the big bucks go toward product development and distribution.
The harsh reality is that even the best artisanal widget and bespoke experience won’t sell if the person it’s designed for is never given the opportunity to learn about it and understand why it matters so much. Your dream customer can’t buy products and services they don’t know about. Your branding and marketing ensures that they know and love you. These activities are equally important costs of doing business as your raw materials, rent, licenses, time, etc. Bringing them together thoughtfully — with the perspective of outside experts — will create the context for your hard work to reach its destination.
Right, but how will I pay for it all? We're saving the best for last. In our final installment, we'll talk about creative ideas for finding start-up funding to get your idea off the ground.