Your branding consists of your:
- Website look & feel
But, these are your colors and brushes, your canvas and artist’s signature. Important as they may seem, none of these make up for the picture your’re about to paint.
Before you start using the easel, you need inspiration. Figure out why you’ve become a start up, what’s your mission, what are the benefits of using your product or reading your blog. The process of figuring out never ends and as it changes, your small business will grow, your blog will gain more readers, you’ll learn a lot about yourself, about what drives you, what you stand for.
Branding is the idea you try to build your brand on top of.
The most important branding spice that will help you achieve this is – value. You need to add value to the world by using your words, deeds and ideas. Once you attach your signature to that value, people will recognize your brand.
For example, the idea behind ThematoSoup is that we want to offer you simplified online presence. We do it via our blog by sharing our knowledge and experiences and by producing WordPress products made with best practices in mind, easy to install and configure.
This is a cycle which never ends and we constantly try to improve ourselves.
If you can simplify your business model you will have:
- More time to focus on what’s really important
- An easier time managing your business
One of the most common reasons startups struggle is because they focus on the logistics instead of the idea.
You should focus on starting, not preparing to start.
Put your idea in motion right away if you think it’s worth exploring. You’ll save the time and energy if it’s not.
If you decide to use WordPress or you already use it, I suggest you go with one of the default WordPress themes (at the moment of writing: Twenty Thirteen or Twenty Fourteen). They are superbly coded, have great support and are future proof.
The reason I’m not suggesting any premium themes is because they go through crippled reviewing process themes and plugins on the WordPress.org repository go through. They may look powerful, but they’re very brittle, not future proof and should you ever decide to switch to a different theme, you may find yourself unable to transfer some of the content.
For any additional functionality, you should always use plugins. If it’s possible, try to find free plugins with good support. Plugins on the WordPress.org repository also go through a review process, most premium plugins never go through.
Our friend Amanda has written a nice post on How to Choose a WordPress plugin. The logic is the same for any digital products you want to use.
Staff or Skype weekly meetings are not necessary for startups. They can be stressful and not very productive. Instead, you can get email or 5-minute updates via Skype every day. Fewer meetings mean less talk and more action. Prioritize by figuring out what’s most important and assign people to work on that first.
What’s most important will vary from day to day. Focus on what generates the most money or has the potential to do so. Schedule blocks of time to work on important projects and during that time go offline (if possible), close your email client and use only one or two browser tabs. You’ll be surprised what can be achieved with just 1-2 hours every day, using this routine.
You don’t need to be involved in everything about your startup business and you can’t. Learn to trust people and your judgment in them. Outsourcing a few tasks gives you time to focus on the things that really matter and simplifies your decision making.
You can refer to this article for tips on how to build better business with outsourcing it. It will teach you when and what to outsource and how to find the right contractors for the work.
First thing you need to do is shorten your to-do lists. Once you do that you can create tasks for each day. Even if you can’t keep up with the schedule, assigning due dates encourages people to stay engaged.
I use Google Docs to create, collaborate on and share documents, but with all the privacy drama over the last couple of years, I’m trying to switch to Microsoft’s OneDrive and its web apps.
Marketing is a vast topic and I’ll write a new post about how to establish your startup’s presence on the web. For now, you should focus on content marketing. I recommend you this video post on how to speed up the process of content marketing and gather email subscribers.
The easiest way for getting ideas and creating content is listening. Your niche has a lot of problems people talk about. Offer products or articles that solve these problems or use your support forum and elaborate on issues to create tutorials and how-tos.
Bootstrapping your business through minimalism, focusing on tasks that are important, creating minimum viable products that can sell right away is what simplifying your startup’s business model is all about.
You’ll be able to easily identify unnecessary friction points and refine your startup business, so it becomes more efficient and easier to manage. Always start with the minimum and add components (features, tasks, revisions) and people when you need them.
If our WordPress products and articles deliver on the promise of simplifying your online presence, then our logo and our name will be attached to those values.
How to do branding
It’s easy once you know what you want. Then it comes down to creating it yourself or paying someone to do it by your instructions.
1. Develop a tagline and make your business philosophy around it
It’s easier once you have your pillar stone.
2. Think of and create a logo that will be unique and easy to recognize
Use it with your product lines, on your website, social media networks, etc. Create multiple sizes, you’ll need them.
3. Design templates and brand standards for your marketing material
Use the same color schemes, same look and feel for everything connected to your brand.
4. Be consistent
We’re working on some of these points ourselves, so don’t feel lonely. It’s a process of self-realization. We’re still discovering ourselves, how we want to contribute and make it easier for all of you starting up or developing your small business.
Done right and it’s branding that:
- Delivers your message clearly
- Enhances your credibility
- Connects with your readers emotionally and establishes loyalty
- Motivates the leads
If this is something you want, then you should spend time researching, defining and building your brand. It’s the foundation of your marketing and the core of your every action.
Your branding is the reflection of the ideals you aspire to. Make them big.