Company branding may seem like an expensive undertaking. In reality, it’s actually pretty simple. It just comes down to knowing what your brand is and communicating it effectively. Follow these tips to get started on building your small business brand.
1. Define Your Value Proposition
As a small business owner, you obviously think that your business has value to customers—otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing it! But do you know why your loyal customers are loyal? It could be price; it could be customer service; it could be that you have a superior product. If you don’t know, find out. Read reviews of your products or services. Send a survey to your loyal customers.
Last September, Instagram announced it had over 400 million active users, many of which are businesses. In fact, eMarketer predicts that in 2016, nearly half of U.S. companies will be using Instagram as part of their marketing strategy (about a third did in 2015), with the number climbing to 70 percent in 2017.
While Instagram isn’t necessarily right for every business, for brands marketing products or services (e.g., food, fashion and photography) that could benefit from being seen, it can be a powerful marketing tool. However, with an average of 80 million photos being uploaded to the site each day, if you want to attract followers and keep them coming back to your Instagram page – and then going to your website – you can’t just post the occasional photo and hope Instagram users will find it.
1. Use quality images. “The quality of your images can determine the success of your account,” says Ariana Gomez, marketing & PR manager, LA Fashion District Business Improvement District. So “avoid out-of-focus or poorly constructed photos and overly corporate images, i.e., stock photography.”
A business plan serves two purposes:
- It provides a road map for your business.
- It helps you obtain outside financing.
If you’re going into business for yourself, you must have a business plan – period. Numerous studies have shown that one of the major reasons new businesses fail is poor planning. (Many people want to start a business, but not everyone has what it takes to succeed. Learn more in Are You An Entrepreneur?)
Fear is a funny four letter word.
It is designed to protect us from real danger in our lives (like a bear chasing us) but at the same time paralyzes us from achieving our dreams.
I believe passion is the sword of love that pierces through the wall of fears that hold us back.
Business development strategies and tactics have changed dramatically in the past decade. The telephone is nearly obsolete for making an initial contact with a potential customer, as is postal mail. Cold calling? Forget it. If you are unknown, you won’t get past caller ID. Unsolicited e-mail? You’ll be blocked as a spammer.
Today, successful business development is contingent upon building trusted relationships and leveraging those relationships to meet new prospects. These relationships form the backbone of your business network. It is vital that you continuously grow and nurture these relationships, as a large percentage of your business growth will come from your business network.
Here are five ways to build and leverage your business network to grow your business.