5 Branding Tips For Startups and Small Businesses | Business

A brand is a perception associated with a business’s service or product. This perception cuts across the whole spectrum of the business. It extends to customer service, customer experience, visuals, values, mission statement and feelings or emotions derived from using a service. A good brand enjoys customer loyalty. It enjoys repeat sales and has a good relationship with customers.One unique feature of a brand is that whether created intentionally or not, every business possesses one. Some small businesses and start-ups pay little or no attention to their brand, while others take their destiny into their own hands. Consequently, big companies work very hard to edge their brand into the minds of customers.Rather than leave your brand to the mercy of the market, why not take action to position your business today? Here are 5 branding tips to help you do exactly that.


Brand identityBrand identity is associating a startup or small business with a particular image that becomes the face of the business. The logo does a good job at this and so do tag lines. Whatever the image of choice, it should appear on all your products. Newsletter, letterhead, banners, business cards, and promotional items like pens, t-shirts and mugs should all carry the image.Deliver on promiseCustomers place high demands on brands. They expect businesses, small business and start-ups to deliver on value. If for instance, customer refund is one of your values and you fail to honour that promise, you are damaging your brand and you are hurting your reputation. And in this day of social media, it wouldn’t take long before a ‘#hashtag’ is created. It wouldn’t take long before one little bad seed pollutes the rest of your harvest.Care for your customersCare for your customers because care breeds loyalty. Once you have repeat purchases, create a system that rewards loyalty. Provide some kind of incentive for introducing new customers. Introduce offers for first time buyers. If a customer does not get the required attention from you, they would go next door. Treat them well. Honour your word. Be quick to accept responsibility. Calm agitated customers down. Be nice to them and you would be on your way to creating a good brand. After all, branding revolves around perception.


Go the extra mileIf you are a small business or most probably a start-up business, and it’s within your means, throw in that extra gift. Meet customers halfway, stay the extra five minutes to accommodate their schedule. Give customers an experience they would cherish. An experience they would find hard to get somewhere else, one that would differentiate your product, and one that would trigger repeat service or sale.Conduct a surveyConduct a survey to find out what customers think of your business. You don’t have to make the research formal but be honest with yourself. Put in place measures to correct defects. Reward those who bothered to comply with the research. Use the intelligence gathered to make strategic decisions that would take your start-up or small business forward.

the best business to start right now

Nearly everyone likes the idea of being their own boss. Entrepreneurship has long been a popular goal. With the current challenging economic times, this goal is even more desirable – and more difficult – than ever. Many hopeful entrepreneurs are turning to their computers, as internet based businesses typically have low start up costs and are easily managed in one’s spare time. This leads to the question, just what is the best business to open on the internet?

You have probably encountered a variety of get-rich-quick schemes (if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is), and work from home offers (usually minimal pay, and they still include a remote boss breathing down your neck). Along with these simple sounding, yet not feasible, solutions you will find a host of expert advise. If these experts claim to have a one-size-fits-all solution telling you the best business to open on the internet consider this a red flag. In truth, the best business to start online depends largely on the person starting it.

One of the first rules of business is selling what you know. We are all experts in something. Hobbies, interests, life experiences and current or previous employment can provide you with above-average knowledge of skills in specific areas. Likewise, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Think of things you are better at than your peers, and specific strengths such an organizational skills or communication. Make a list of your own special qualifications, and use that to build your own business opportunity.

CHOOSING THE BEST BUSINESS TO START ONLINE
Once you have determined your skill set and area of expertise, it’s time to decide what to do with it. Here are the top three ways to turn your skills into online business opportunities.

1) Affiliate Marketing. If you have enough knowledge about a subject to create an informative website, you can easily monetize it through affiliate programs. For the cost of a web host, and the time to build a website you will be on your way. There are companies in nearly any niche imaginable, offering affiliate programs. Select the ones you feel comfortable promoting, and post testimonials or advertisements on your site along with the affiliate link. You will receive a percentage of every sale made from a click-through on your website.

To start with, you will need enough content for a 5-10 page website. Make sure you provide valuable information or insight, as this will keep your traffic and page-rankings high. Add to your site weekly at minimum. Fresh content will boost search engine traffic. Affiliate marketing can be easily incorporated into a static website, blog, or both.

2) Outsourcing. Contrary to popular belief, outsourcing isn’t all about sending our jobs overseas. Many companies are streamlining operations by contracting out work previously done in-house. If you have skills such as accounting, preparation of legal paperwork, or art that can be performed remotely, this may be the easiest and best business to start online.

There are a growing number of websites dedicated to freelance work. You can choose one of these or create a website to promote and sell your service. This is very similar to setting up a professional practice with a home office, except your clients come to you virtually.

3) Consultation and Tutoring. If you have truly expert knowledge in any particular area, you can start your online business by selling that knowledge. Whether the subject is world travel, coping with grief, or advanced algebra people in need of an advisor will typically pay good money. This option requires good people-skills, as you will likely be dealing with clients one-on-one.

You will need a website to promote your service, and allow potential clients a way to contact you. It can be a simple one-page site with a description of services and contact form, though websites including valuable information about the topic will lend credibility. Online communities and topic specific forums are often the best, free, places to advertise your business.

Depending upon your specific area of skills and knowledge, the best business to open on the internet may be some combination of the three discussed above. Whatever your choice, remember the first rule of business (sell what you know), as well as the second rule – offer value to the customer. This is always a winning combination.