As a startup or an entrepreneur who has just started their business, this is a question that often pops up. I totally understand we all have our bills to pay and priorities to take care. It is really hard to come up with the extra cash to spend on “brand building”. Not only that, in the initial stage when nothing is coming, it is hard to justify too.
It’s a horrible feeling to feel stuck between having this great idea or passion and being able to actually make it real. I know what it feels like, because I have been there. Simply put, as entrepreneurs we know, it takes money to make money.
Let’s not get me started on how life somehow keeps adding extra things to your plate when you finally decided that this month, you’d buy that domain or pay for that company logo. I get it. I’ve been there. In spite of all these, we understand that we need to invest in building our brand. We’ve all been there, most brands don’t start with investors and I personally, am not rich. But I did have a plan. Coming from marketing and communications background, I understood that in order to make this happen, I’d have to make some sacrifices and be diligent and conscientious in my approach. I had to make it happen, no matter what.
No Funds, No Big Deal
Most business owner when starting does not have funds. Does that mean, you just sit and watch? So, what should you do until you have the funds? You can still create a voice for your brand that people love, without spending a dime. In today’s day and age thankfully, there are plenty of ways to establish your brand while you’re getting your business finances together.
Most people have not even scratched the surface with the potential of social media. You can start a blog, social media profile, videos that has potential to go viral that enforces the brand. Not only is it free but it is also in your control. People are always on social media, they can access your brand story from anywhere across the globe. You can establish yourself as an authority in your industry even before you are ready to promote and sell your product or service – rather you should do it.
Here are some of the things you can do to get started and these are things that I did as I am building my brand as a business strategist and an author:
Company Name – Based on the service I am going to provide and my expertise, I would decide on my company name. Once I have done that I want to make sure that it is available for me to brand it.
Logo –I made my own logo, at first. It wasn’t amazing, but it served its purpose until I was able to rebrand and invest in a new one created by a professional graphic designer.
Domain and Web Host –Today there are so many ways you can get a domain name. You can services like GoDaddy, 1&1 Internet where you can not only get the domain name but also hosting should you chose. (Note: There are numerous online promotional offers for a “free domain name for a year” along with coupon codes from trusted web hosts; research the best host for your business needs.)
Website –When you buy the domain name and the hosting you have the ability to create your website through WordPress if you are open to learning. If you have a techy friend to help you set up your WordPress domain and you can pretty much take it from there. You can also use website builders like Wix.com, Square Space, etc. who offer amazing and user-friendly resources to create your own website. I suggest learn to create the website in WordPress as this is a skill you should know and it will help you customize your website the way you want. Later, I used the barter system to get an even better website. I gave business to a budding web designer and in exchange he finessed my website.
Content – Content is king and I cannot emphasize how important it is for you to launch your brand. This is one area where you get the chance to differentiate yourself from your competition. You need to do a very small investment for this. You can create some amazing visuals with simple apps like Canva, Pickmonkey etc. Also if you need some specific images, you can purchase a camera and created visuals to go along with the content. (Note: You can create great, free visuals with most smartphone cameras on the market today, and the right lighting.) I recorded and edited my own videos on iMovie and upload it on You Tube. By the way the editor of You Tube is equally easy to use. Learn what kind of content you need to put on social media, because there is always a method to madness in a good way.
Marketing – Before you invest in building your brand, figure out what your brand stands for and get familiar with the art of guerrilla marketing. Stand for something that your target audience can relate to so they can join in on your mission. You’re attracting a tribe of people that believe in your brand values. You are the voice, and your goal is to create brand loyalty. Once you are considered an industry authority, launching products and services will come easy.
As you start to build your brand through the above mentioned tips, and start to gain some traction, make sure you are communicating with your audience regularly and growing your base. You can then get into taking to the next level by using Pay per click (PPC) as this would give you the control on your budget and the type of target audience.