Start–up's & building your brand

Our world keeps spinning, new businesses are being born every day and these business need to sell their goods or services - the fundamentals are unchanged. But, how customers are interacting with business, locally and globally has shifted dramatically. The shininess of your brand is important and the experience people have with you and your brand is absolutely essential, because both good and bad reviews are quickly published worldwide.

Photo Credit: @unsplash

Cafe's and restaurants now have customers walk in pointing wide-eyed at the their instagram account saying "I want that one". These same customers then want to photograph themselves with that same bowl of food they just posted this morning... validating their life choices on a worldwide platform, all the while promoting the same venue over and over again.

In the case of cafe's and restaurants, constant social media activity will work in your favour, as all of the customers want to be seen at the venue consuming your delicacies; win-win. So is it worth you building a website as well as multiple social media accounts and all the trappings that go with it? Well, it really depends on what you're trying to achieve. First, we need to look at the bigger picture and then you need to confront yourself with the hard questions and answer honestly.

How do you compete if you're brand new and have a smaller budget? What do you do if your venue doesn't match the decor and vibe of the top 1-2% of venues leading the way? What do you offer your customers?
The short answer: your very best, with what you have.

Providing the best you can with what you have, without biting off more than you can chew, may seem like a humble less glorious venture than your final dream, but you have to start somewhere! You are better off honing your trade, finding your way of doing things, setting yourself up in a way that works for you and your customers. The last thing you will ever want to be is a slave to your business. Your business should serve you and your needs, not the other way around. Consider the options;

Option 1:

You go into debt big-time to launch into the biggest and best version of your dream and you work your fingers to the bone just to keep up the cash flow, let alone pay the debt you owe... and possibly hate every single minute of a dream that has become a nightmare.

Benefit: you might, just might achieve your dream.

Option 2:

You work within your means. "Whaaat?" I hear you say. Oh and find some heroes and a mentor. Your heroes are the people inspiring you to go out and do likewise, the people who light your internal fires. Your mentor is someone willing to catch up with you and ask you the hard questions that you're not allowed to dodge.

Benefit: a good night's sleep, no major debts.

For every start-up there is a different scenario and Option 1 & 2 might sound a little too simplified for any business and they are. Some start-ups are assisted into their niche through generous financial backers, some people seem to have all the connections in the world and there is the rest of us, the one's outside the top 1-2% of the population who lead the way in any given industry, while the rest sit in awe. But who said you need to achieve your dream tomorrow? The beauty (and trap) of good marketing / social media is that something can appear much bigger and more refined than it really is - watch Fyre Festival on Netflix for the best example of this.

So where does that leave you? Here's a list of questions we recommend you ask yourself and your team:

- What's your budget? Be honest.

- What's the end-goal on both a personal and business level?

- What resources do you have available to use right now?

- What can you reasonably expect of yourselves in terms of time, effort and energy?

- What can you do yourselves and what do we need the experts to do for you? (Can you honestly achieve the desired result without the experts?)

- What does your ideal week look like and is there room to move?

- What is your greatest danger / pitfall?

- What are your strengths?

But this just sounds like business advice, what about the branding?

Good brands are built holistically, with the entire experience from start to finish thought through. In assessing your own limitations you can then determine how you want to position and build your brand, knowing what you want to introduce at what milestone. Considering the bigger picture also enables you to set-up better the first time around, with a brand that can scale up or move sideways with agility, rather than having to knock-down and re-build every few years.