Category Archive Business

Building a brand-where do I start?

For many people making the decision to start up their own business whether it is going to be a sizeable company employing staff or a small home-based business is an exciting but anxious time. One of the first things you will need to decide on is a company brand name and how you are going to create and promote your brand.

Initially you will need to come up with your brand name. Give some thought to your business services and whether the name reflects what exactly your business is and what services and products you supply. Once you have come up with a memorable name, you need to double check that no one else has that name because if there is, they may have a copyright on that brand name and you could find yourself in breach of copyright and facing a legal challenge.

Next you will need to come to a decision about your brand logo. You can employ a graphics designer to create a logo for you, but the majority of people will be able to create a design themselves using the internet to give you a few initial ideas if you are struggling.

To promote your brand successfully, use your logo and brand name on all communication, advertising and marketing materials.

Promoting your business on a budget

In this increasingly competitive marketplace for any business it is important to promote your business as effectively as you can within the limits of your advertising budget, but what is the most efficient way of doing this?

The most important aspect is to get your brand recognised by your target audience. Social media advertising is an effective way to do this as it is straightforward to set up and maintain a social media business page. Advertising videos can be easily uploaded to show product usage and range whilst customer review videos can be used to convey positive comments from previous clients.

You may decide that it would benefit your business to have a website alongside your other advertising. There are many build your own website programs available online with step by step instructions meaning that even if you are not an expert in this field you can still build a simple website for a fraction of the price of a custom-built site.

Although online advertising is probably the most effective form of advertising, if your potential client base is very local it may be worth doing a leaflet drop especially if your leaflet then directs people to your online sites.

Are you unsure how to design your business cards?

A business card can be very useful and as a business owner you should always try to carry a few on you at all times as you never know when you may need one.

Business cards are perfect for handing out at networking groups, leaving with your clients or potential customers or even handing out when you do cold calling. A business card  needs to be clear so that your information can be easily read but you should also try and stand out a little bit. You will need to include all of your contact details such as name, office address (if required) phone number, email as a minimum, maybe even your social media profile names etc.   

When it comes to designing a business card you should try and keep in line with the rest of your print design for example, your logo and colourways should all be consistent across every platform. You may want to be a little quirky with your business cards, possibly by making them a slightly different shape or texture. Even subtle changes like this can make a big difference and if done correctly and can you noticed for the right reasons.

Creating a professional looking flyer

With 2020 nearly upon us many companies are thinking about how they can kick start their marketing in the new year to give their business the best chance. Many companies spend a lot of their marketing budget online, which often makes sense, but some companies still invest in offline marketing such as leaflet dropping. For certain types of businesses leaflet dropping works very well. This may be for a business that offers their services to the local community such as a florist, butchers or window cleaner.

If you can offer people a discount such as a money off voucher on the flyer then this will often increase the response that you have from the advertisement. It is very important when creating a flyer that it looks professional. If you are a small business you may be tempted to skimp on print or even print your own. If you are going to do this you need to make sure that the paper is of high quality and the images used are not pixelated. Always print off one or two test flyers before you print the rest and double check for spelling errors or issues with the layout which can often slip through.

Branding for small businesses

Recent surveys show that although small business owners understand that branding is important, they often don’t really understand what a brand is and how they should be growing theirs.

A brand is not just a logo or a strap line but it is the whole ethos of the business. It covers everything from logos, designs, premises to staff attitude to customers, customer service and values. To have a successful brand you need to have consistency in order for people to start to recognise your business branding. Before trying to market your brand it is vital to ensure that all internal and external procedures are working as they should and that all members of staff understand the business and how it works.

When building your brand it may be useful to think of it as a person with its own beliefs, values and purpose. What are your businesses values? What does the company believe in and what is the whole purpose of your company. Every bit of marketing you do needs to reiterate this in some way and allow your customers to start to understand the story behind your business.

Branding and business to business marketing

A brand is the whole identity of a business and not just a logo or your colourways. The more recognised your brand is the more chance to have of securing deals and making sales. Marketing can be a very confusing world to get in to. There are so many different ways in which you can market your business that you may not know where’s best to invest your time and money.

If you are a business that sells to other businesses then you will need to have a different marketing strategy to a business that sells direct to the public. Some parts may overlap but your overall focus will probably be quite different.  The buying cycle is usually longer for business to business sales, the requirements are better defined, more people are involved and the stakes are typically higher.

When dealing with other businesses you need to make it feel like you are a partner of theirs, working together towards a goal rather than a sales person trying to get them to buy your product. When you’re easier to do business with, your customers feel it. It makes their work more efficient and predictable. You may need to spend more time with business customers and expect a slower process than if you were selling to a member of the public but the rewards are often greater.

Where to get advice as a start up business

Starting up a business can be stressful and you may worry about exactly how you go about it. You will want to know that you have all the legal requirements covered as well as your business strategy and marketing in place.

England has a very supportive environment for startups, with a flourishing wealth of networks, groups and organisations for all types and style of new business. There are many places you can go for help and advice and much of it is free, so before you go forking out a lot of money, see what information you can find yourself.

When it comes to marketing your startup business you need to have a clear plan of action. Unless you have a very large budget it is always worth starting small and then investing more into your marketing as you start to see a return on your investment.

If you think you will need a loan to get your startup business off the ground, then make sure you have a good business plan that you can take with you to apply for the money as this is definitely something they would want to see.

Are you disciplined enough to run your own business?

Many people say that it is their dream to have their own business and be their own boss but it is not always as easy as it sounds. To be your own boss you need to be able to be focused and to be disciplined to work as much as you need to. This is especially true if you are going to be working from home as you will often find a hundred and one distractions which can easily take you off task. It is a good idea to have a space in your home which is only used for work and which you can go to when your working day starts. You can then give yourself a lunch break and come away from the room and return after. This will mean that you can get all your work done when needed without having to try and work late at night or weekends if you don’t wish to.

You will also have to be responsible for keeping an eye on your finances, your incomings and outgoings and unless you are going to pay a bookkeeper or an accountant, all of your tax paperwork too.

Help with setting up a new business

When setting up a new business there are many things to consider. Firstly you need to decide which type of business you are looking to set up. You should consider points such as how much time can you afford to commit and how much money would you ideally like to earn from the business? It is important that you are honest and realistic as otherwise, you are only fooling yourself. Answering these fundamental questions will help you to decide whether you need to start a full-time, part-time, spare-time or possibly even a seasonal business. If for example, you want to open a business that sells Christmas decorations then you may only run it from August through to February. You also need to consider if you are going to have a physical location for your business or if it is going to be online purely. Next, you need to decide when you are going to launch your business.

You might want to get your business up and running quickly, but if you don’t sort out the main key points prior to starting the business you may end up failing. You need to be realistic you’re your expectations and understand that many businesses take time to start turning a profit.

Management styles – being an effective leader

What makes a good manager? As a manager yourself, or moving up in to a management role you have probably already asked yourself this time and time again. There are so many different ways to manage a team or another member of staff that it can be hard to put your finger on exactly what works and what doesn’t.

Research shows that what makes is a good manager is often linked to how flexible they are and how they can adapt to different situations. As a manager you will have to often make decision quickly but also fairly. You need to be assertive but also know how to listen and know when you need to be firm.

Different management methods are used at different times and even some that seem harsh, can be effective if used at the right time. For example, a manager who is very controlling and likes things done in a certain way, who is very strict and shows their authority can be great in a crisis and in situations when order is needed quickly.

A manager who allows everyone to have their say, often compromises and can seem as a bit of a push over may be good in a situation that is getting out of hand and needs calming down a bit.