When things get slow many of us take the time to reflect on why, a good company then takes that down time to fine-tune or even revamp some of their offerings to gain a competitive edge. At the start of this year I did exactly this, and now as things really kick into gear I have a few lessons about brand safeguarding that I’ve learned and would like to impart.
Beware of quick responses
I love it when my phone rings, however, sometimes a caller is asking for something I don’t have ready material for. As a designer it’s hard to reign myself in and not fire up my artsy software and revamp an existing document to respond. If brand is an impression the audience has of me and my business, then I need to first consider:
- What am I promising to deliver?
- Does this fit into my target business and audience?
- Am I presenting this differently than my competitors?
- Once designed: Does it target who RBKartworks wants as a client? Does it look like us and consistent with our other material?
Every piece of material sent out is part of a company brand.
Each invoice, quote, email, assessment, report, or presentation carries with it an impression of me and my company. It doesn’t matter how small or large the piece, if it is leaving something behind it is important. As a small business owner I strive to build a consistent brand (being a designer this is doubly important) by making sure my identity system (logo, colours, fonts, design) is applied to each of them. The resulting professional look is worth the investment.
Names and Spelling Count
This year I lost an excellent chance at good business because I made this error. Spelling errors in names or any of the above material, even minor, carry an impression. I don’t want my brand message diluted with the resulting small doubts so : lesson learned.
Acknowledge who the target client is
In the quest for business, it’s fair to say this can sometimes fall lower on the priority when taking on jobs to meet the bills, but shoehorning someone in to make the bills can cost me more time and energy than the job was worth. Building my portfolio with my niche market is far more productive and focused, and when the opportunity to work exception “passion” jobs come up, I have more energy to take them on.
Taking Breathers at checkpoints
Caught up in the mechanics of my business’ day to day activity, I can start to lose perspective on goals. Stopping to take a deep breath, sit back and assess the situation before continuing is key to maintaining some focus and objectivity.
Saving valuable energy
I do what I do best in my business and I enlist help from other professionals for the rest. I admit, this one can be hard one when you are used to counting the coins in the bank, but it comes down to simple math. If I save myself 5 hours a week doing stuff a book-keeper can do in 2 for half my cost, how much is that time worth to me? The answer in my case was “A whole lot!” Hired professionals can help a business run smoothly and appear more professional (brand), so in growth I am expanding my support team.
Enjoy the business
I love what I do, and consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to do it everyday. My business is growing and it’s a good thing, I’ll take the stress of growth over the stress of no business any day!
What key lessons have you taken out of your growth mode? Feel free to share.
Additional Resource: For start-ups and small business here is a good article on Brand Building Tips found at ConceptCurry