How to Start a Business: The Ultimate Guide to Clarifying Your Brand

September 18, 2019

First of all, claps for you! Starting a business is a big deal. It can be stressful, complicated and oftentimes pricey. You might start thinking, maybe I shouldn’t do this, only crazy people do this, can I even do this? The answer to all those questions is yes. You can do this. We’re here to help you achieve this dream. More importantly, we’re hoping this blog will help you realize it’s not as unattainable as you might think. Is it risky? Yes. Will you lose some sleep? Probably. Will you have to skip out on margarita night at your favorite Mexican place with your gang so you can continue planning and save money? Maybe. Is it worth it? 100% absolutely. (And then you can have unlimited margaritas once everything’s done.) 

So once you’ve settled on an idea, maybe you’ve registered a name, got your licensing – now what? Rhetorical question – we’ve got that figured out for you. Here’s what we believe are the next steps in taking your business from an idea you had while in the shower, to a real-life thing.  

First you need to answer these three questions, thoroughly.

  1. What is your business about, and what does it do? 

  2. What service or product are you providing? 

  3. How does it differ from other services/products already out on the market? 

Ultimately, your business or startup is providing the answer to a consumer’s question, want, or need. Make sure you have researched the h*ck out of these questions because what you do or offer must make you different from others in your field. In a more of advertising or marketing sense, how will your business achieve top-of-mind-awareness for your consumers? (Top-of-mind-awareness is whatever brand, service, or product comes into a consumer’s head immediately when they think about your industry or category).

This next step is time consuming (but worth it).

You’re going to need some sort of business plan or business module. In other words, you need to have mapped out where you’re starting, how you’re going to achieve your goal, and where you goal is. Depending on what sort of funding you’re seeking, the types of business plans differentiate. We won’t talk about that today, but know that whatever type of business you’re registering (LLC, partnership, corporation, etc.) is going to affect your business plan, financial needs, and overall structure. 

We’re going to say this one really, really loud for the people in the back: DEFINE EVERYTHING. Define your goals, define your budget. We’ve listed some questions below that you should think about: 

  • How much will you be allocating for marketing? 

  • How much will you be allocating for a store front, whether it’s digital or physical? 

  • When you hit a specific date, what goal should you have achieved in order to move onto the next step in your business module/plan? 

  • What does success look like in terms of metrics? By metrics, we mean when you hit this month, you see yourself with X amount of followers, or X amount of orders. 

When doing this, be reasonable and completely honest with yourself. 

You’ve gotten the first two steps out of the way, all of the boring, financial stuff is finished. (Thank goodness). So now what? Our favorite word – marketing. Now is the time to figure it out. Here are some thinking points for you to consider (and violently scribble in your journal): 

  • What market are you going to be in? 

  • Who is your target audience, or your ideal consumer? 

  • How much do they make, what are the regions around you (or maybe not around you) that they live in? How old are they? 

  • Who are your competitors? Who are they, what do they do well, what don’t they do well? 

  • How saturated is the market you’re seeking to be in, with products/services similar to yours? 

  • How are you going to make yourself unique enough to cut through the “clutter” of everyone else’s marketing and advertising efforts? (Hint: we can help with that. More of that later.) 

The next part is pretty easy. Let’s talk about the platforms to use to get your brand and your message out there! You’ll need to decide the social platforms you believe will be the most beneficial to your business, and set goals for followers and engagement.

We’ve broken down the different ways to consider how you should decide what platform(s) to use in three categories:

1) Consumers

2) Competitors

3) iNDUSTRY

The consumer category is all about researching and defining your “ideal consumer”. How old are they, what is their gender, where do they live, what do they do for a living- understanding who you’re selling to will give you a better picture of what platform to use to sell. A basic example is if you know you’re target market is college /post college adults between the ages of 18-25, you’ll know that most of them are active on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. Also knowing what are trending topics for your consumers that are related to your industry so you can target those audiences will impact the choice of platform.

Our second option, competitors, is similar to consumers. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and seeing what works for your competitors can inform you of what platform is working the best for the industry you’re trying to break into. Analyze their accounts- what platforms do they use? How much engagement do they receive on one versus another? How many followers do they have?

The Industry option involves considering what type of business you are. Do you sell only to other businesses? (B2B) Or do you sell more towards consumers (B2C)? Say you’re an up and coming hair salon or nail salon. Your product is mainly visual, straight to the consumer. The best way to showcase this is by using Pinterest and Instagram! Social platforms such as these can become a “social portfolio” of sorts. This way consumers have a good idea of what you can do and decide if you’re a good fit for them or not. On the flip side, if you’re a commercial printing company and you deal mainly with producing a product for other businesses, then utilizing LinkedIn and Facebook the most are your best options.

Lastly, lets not forget an integral part of your business – your website. Yes, it’s not a social platform, but it’s on the web (which, let’s face it, is the ultimate social platform). How it runs, what it looks like, how well your SEO is will greatly influence the traffic driven over to it. It’s your hub of information for your consumer or client, so making sure it does what you need it to is crucial. We highly recommend website audits for everyone – but if you’re new, it’s best to test it with an audit once it’s been live for about 2-3 months. Your marketing is never ‘“set and forget”. Like you need to go to the doctor for an annual checkup, your marketing materials need attention too.

If all of that is too overwhelming for you…. you can focus on running your brand new business, and we can take care of the marketing and figuring-out of all the things for you.

We know marketing and social media is not every business owner’s forté, which is why we made it our own. So, if you’re a pro in your industry, but want to take it to the next level and don’t know how- we’re the pros you need. Shoot us an email or dm us on our Instagram, we’re ready to take your startup to the next level. Consultations to full fledged planning, we can do it for you. We may even have a budget friendly marketing package in the works for some of you, so stay tuned… 

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