Starting a business can be a very exciting time. For some, it’s like buying a house and choosing all of the finishes, deciding what will be in each room, and going furniture shopping. Those are all of the aesthetics of home buying, but we tend to forget about the money that’s being put down, the contracts being signed, the loans, closing costs, and everything else that is involved in the logistics of buying a home.
In the same manner, we forget about the foundational things that allow us to build a proper foundation for business and run towards choosing fonts and color schemes. There’s so much more to consider before you get to the super fun stuff. We’ll be talking about that today.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Brand Personality & Attitude
Before you get started with your business, go through each of these concepts and make sure that you’ve at least thought about it and written things down so that you have an established plan and strategy, moving forward.
Purpose is the reason why something exists. I know that many of us get into business with the desire to make money, but contrary to what some may say, money is not a great motivator. Business is a long and hard journey that requires persistence, and long-suffering. Your desire for money may not be enough to push you when times get hard. Think back to why you started your business and use that to craft a purpose statement. Your audience will thank you for it. They are also more likely to support you if they can relate to your humble beginnings.
Vision has everything to do with your mental sight, if I can say that. What do you envision for your business in the next 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and beyond? What do you see yourself accomplishing? Are you looking into partnerships, or even hoping for a store-front? What dreams are you actively working towards in order to make this business successful? Vision isn’t just a mindless map of things you hope for. You actually need to make a plan towards achieving each item. Creating a vision statement allows you to focus all of your efforts. It ensures that your goals go beyond just selling your offer, but more so towards the impact your offer makes to those who are in your audience and beyond.
Values are a way of life. Before you’re born, your parents or caregivers have already decided which values they are going to raise you with. As you grow older, you then decide which of those values you want to continue with and how you also want to raise the next generation. Values shape the way that we live our lives, the way we treat people, and how we influence our communities. They also help you decide how best you handle your business. So with that said, what’s important to you? Integrity? Communication? Timeliness? Education? List some of the things that are most important to you in the way that you’ll be running your business. What do you want to be known for? What common themes do you want to see when your audience writes reviews about your business?
Let’s tackle your audience. Who can benefit most from what you’re offering? Notice that I said “benefit most”. That means you need to focus on a specific group of people. We all want to sell to the whole world, and at some point, maybe we will, but it’s important to choose a group of people who we can focus on in order to yield results. If you were looking for snow, would you go to Florida, Atlanta, Alabama, Arizona or even Cali? No, you would focus on the states that actually get snow on a regular basis. In the same manner, while everyone may have some interest in what you offer, there is a specific group of people who can benefit the most from what you offer. Write down their demographics, and go a bit further to define what they enjoy doing in their free time, their values, and the types of characteristics they may have. Try to put a face and name to the various types of people in your audience in order to humanize them. It’s a lot easier to understand the needs of Sally who lives down the street and walks her dog every morning as she grabs her coffee from the “mom-and-pop” coffee shop up the road.
Take a look at your competition. What makes them successful? It’s always good to take notice of the things that captivate their audience and the things that make them stand out in the crowd. You can easily use that as motivation or inspiration towards building your own brand. Now based on what you’ve noticed about other brands, use that information to shape the way that you’ll do business. What will make you different from others? What’s your secret sauce? What will be the greatest benefit your audience will experience when they encounter you?
When your audience thinks of your brand, what do you want them to think about? Which words do you think will come to the minds of your audience? When you think of Apple, Tesla, and Nike, what thoughts come to mind? This is your opportunity to actually craft your statement. Crafting a statement will remind you to make decisions that continue to make that idea true. If you want to be the number one company that uses green energy to make coffee, you’ll then be reminded to keep that at the forefront, which will cause your audience to notice and also hold you accountable.
We’ve already talked about your vision, but now let’s talk about your goals and how you plan to get your name out there. Touchpoints are different ways that your audience comes in contact with your brand. That can be through ads, pamphlets, social media, websites, and so much more. In what ways will your audience hear about your brand or encounter it? Take a moment to think about the faces and names you attached to your audience. Sally loves coffee, right? Maybe you should consider purchasing an ad near the coffee shop or even in the shop so that she can get in contact with you.
Brand Personality & Attitude
Did you know that your brand can have a personality? It’s actually really important. There’s a part of your brand that requires you to create an “invisible person”. You’re basically creating a human connection with your audience. Have you ever been to DisneyLand or DisneyWorld? I’ve never been, but I know that it creates a magical feeling. It’s wholesome. It allows people to feel like a kids again. What does it mean to feel like a kid? It means that you have no worries, and that you can enjoy life in the moment. It means excitement! It means freedom! That’s what the brand exudes. That’s how it connects with its audience. What personality does your brand share?
How do you want to speak to your audience? In what voice and tone would you want them to recognize you? Think about it this way. I’m sure you have a best friend whom you know like the back of your hand. If they sent you a specific text message, I’m sure that you’d be able to read it in their voice, sarcasm, jokes and all. Your audience should learn and know the voice of your brand. Whether its formal, informal, sharp, or gentle. It makes you more distinct and adds to your brand’s personality.
A tagline is essentially a promise you make to your audience. It’s your entire brand summed up into a few words. You want to make it short and memorable. Brands can have several taglines based on different aspects of their business.
While starting a business is great, setting a proper foundation with the concepts we discussed will definitely make a huge difference in the way your business is run. Take a moment to go through each section, and jot down some notes as it relates to your business.