Hi friends! Welcome back to the blog, where today I’m going to give you the exclusive on everything you need to know and do before launching your branding agency or small business. Finite details will look different for everyone based on your business model, personal wants and needs, and timeline – but I’m here to help provide a comprehensive list of everything you should know before you begin. Let’s get started 🙂
#1 – Get crystal clear on your brand vision. Some questions to consider: What are your brand goals? What are you trying to accomplish? How are you adding value or differentiating yourself from competitors? What are your key values that your brand will emulate? For me, this looked like defining my niche and finding what really inspires me to get up each day and keep working. Coming from the corporate world, I knew what I didn’t want to do, and the industries I didn’t want to work with. Through experimentation and trial and error, I found that the wellness space was calling my name, and I wanted to help elevate the online presence of those in that space. And so she was born, Chloe Creative Studio.
#2 – Identify your target audience. This is important. But why? As you just read, finding my niche happened through trial and error. That’s perfectly normal, to shift your area of expertise as you’re still starting out. The concreteness of this step is highly dependent on what your business is doing (ie, are you a brick and mortar storefront, or are you a web-based business that is searching for long-lasting client relationships?) For me, this meant I had a bit more flexibility in the process of finding who I wanted to work with. Fun fact: I still work with clients outside of the wellness space, but I only intentionally market myself to my target audience; dieticians, nutritionists, and wellness entrepreneurs. Now, let’s say you are a brick and mortar storefront and you need to get customers walking through your front door ASAP. This will require a lot more intentionality, early on. Finding your target audience before those doors open will be key for you. That’s where the next step comes in!
#3 – Establish your brand’s identity. The fun part! Well, it’s all fun, but if you’re an aesthetic-thinking person like myself, this part will feed your soul. There can be many components to this step, but a general overview would look like this: Get your branding in check (hello, me!), establish your social media presence, connect with your audience, and bring value to them. Oftentimes, this part can *instill panic* because unless your business foundation is based on design, social media, and content creation, you will likely be a bit out of your comfort zone. But, never fear! There are so many tools to help with this if you’re not familiar with design and social. Think: Canva. It will be your best friend 😉 If you want to get a bit more down and dirty, consider taking a class to familiarize yourself with the Adobe Suites. Learning Photoshop, InDesign, etc, can and will elevate your branding. If you have the budget, invest in someone who can do this for you. And believe me, I’m not saying this because it’s what I do – because I, too, outsource some of these tasks (Cue my Creative Director, Amy and my Marketing Coordinator, Izzy!) Once you’ve taken these steps – don’t forget to connect with your audience. We’ll talk about that next!
#4 – Make connections. All of these steps are essential, but this one truly makes a difference in your lead generation. This can happen in many different scenarios, but to keep things simple let’s talk about Instagram. Remember how I talked about finding your target audience early? Ah-mazing. Once you have a pretty good idea of who that is, you’ll want to find them. How do you do that? Well, when you don’t have many connections yet, hashtags are your friend. There are tons of tools to help you elevate your hashtag game, but here’s an example that is all manual. Let’s say I want to find a dietician in North Carolina to connect with. I might search #NCDietitian to see what populates. BINGO! Found one. Now what? Check out their hashtags, and there’s your goldmine. Who are they having conversations with? Are those people you too, can connect with? This is an ongoing process, but finding your community on Instagram is entirely possible! And remember, this is just ONE way of connecting! The possibilities are endless, but the ultimate goal is for referrals and word-of-mouth to be your way of landing new clients or customers. And in order to do that, you must connect. This also comes from your very own accounts, and will require some thinking about what you can provide your followers that will make them come back for more.
#5 – Logistics. This is the not-so-fun part, but a very necessary part of setting yourself up for success. There are many, many topics that fall under this category, but for the sake of simplicity, business expenses, billing/invoicing, and customer service expectations are just a few of the essentials. This part really does look different for everyone, but it’s important that you have this mapped out in advance. Spreadsheets will be your best friend here. If you are in a position to outsource any of this, make sure your ducks are in a row and that you are prepared to lead others! But hey – that’s the goal, right?!
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s your time to shine! Remember that just starting is better than delaying yourself, waiting for perfection. As someone who has been an #entrepreneur for a while, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Perfection is always a step away. You will always be striving for it! Don’t wait, don’t give up, and don’t stop – you are ready, and your audience can’t wait to meet you!