…starting a business is overwhelming.
Then you throw brand strategy and design into the mix. Eek. If you’re anything like all of the other brands out there, you’re probably trying to figure out how to stand out from the sea of competitors.
Along with the era of solopreneurs and other business collectives, came small scale and easy to learn web- and app-based design programs that have provided a way for companies to produce logos, graphics, templates and more with little budget.
On paper (er, screens?), this may sound great. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes it is! But, most of the time, you get what you pay for and you don’t stand out. Templated graphic programs provide just that–templated designs. Your font, colors, and layouts end up being dictated by what the program is sharing with you. While this provides ease of creating pieces, it actually stunts brand development and the individuality of your innovative product or offering.
Pro-tip: Onenote design is a virtual epidemic, but it’s not your fault.
Take a pause and think about this: Is your brand really visually represented through handwritten fonts, pastels and gold foil? Probably not. Eternal design wins over the ephemeral, always. Think about Fisher Price, Apple, Mobil, FedEx… those logos have been around for a long time. Like, 40 to 70 years old. It is obvious that they were very thoughtful about their look and feel in order to create their iconic brands.
In the US alone, there are 28 MILLION small businesses and growing. That means the window for competition is large and we’re betting it’s not about to close anytime soon.
So, how do you stand out? How do you make your mark and do what you can to keep your business profitable?
Work with specialists who want to help you succeed (psst… because your competition is not always doing that!)
When you are so close to a project it can be difficult to perceive your brand outside of that box. We love our concepts, we’re married to our ideas and that can make it very difficult to really figure out the voice of your brand. Sure, you understand your business way more than anyone else will understand, but that’s precisely why you run the risk of pigeonholing yourself. You begin to view your business in one specific way and have blinders on to new and effective ways to approach it. Specialists–specifically passionate brand strategists and designers with decades of experience who are can work with your budget or lack thereof–can make a world of a difference for your brand.
P.S. The people writing this post are a designer and a strategist who love to collaborate so reach out for help → email@example.com!
When possible, educate yourself through trainings.
We get it. It takes time out of your day to get trained on a new skill set, but it’ll be worth it in the end. We find podcasts to be extremely informative and inspiring, too. So if webinars are a total buzzkill, put on a podcast and listen along while you get some things done, whether housework, biz work or catching up on emails. Our greatest A-HA! moments have been in the middle of a design podcast while fiddling around on WordPress.
Sidenote: We are about to launch our own Habitual Mom training series all about branding your small business AND it won’t break the bank! Contact us to find out more!
Have a heart to heart with yourself.
Whether your brand is suffering or doing well, pause and consider this: Are you accurately representing your brand in the most strategically sound way possible? Because if you’re not, you’re missing out on the opportunity to reach an even larger audience. Ask your most trusted friends, join a business message board, or find a local entrepreneurial group in your area where you know people will give you their honest opinions.
These strategies can be anywhere from how you are representing your brand on social media, to what conferences and fairs you sponsor in your field. Everything… and sorry, but we mean everything, should be strategically approached in order to produce the best outcome for your business.
Stop using apps and templated design tools for everything that you do.
Step away from that app… slowly. Put your phone down. Now hear us: Fine, you can use those sometimes! But, if you’ve got a big idea stop before clicking and think about what you are trying to accomplish. Does it have the legs to stand on its own two feet? Utilizing tools that produce quick results to get a message out (maybe a random Friday sale or note to your audience) can be beneficial. Utilizing those same tools to also produce haphazardly put-together campaigns (if we can call them that)? That is not going to work in the long run.
By educating yourself and working with good people, you’re sure to stand out. Take that handwritten fonts, pastels and gold foil!
If you’re still feeling left in the dust and would like to chat about strategy and how HabMom can help, reach out!