When we launch a new business idea it’s hard not to get over excited about the end product, but have you given enough thought around how you get there before getting caught up in all the marketing chaos? It costs you nothing other than your time to take a step back, sit down and really consider how your business should be perceived, but yet in my experience so many businesses don’t think often enough about there brand basics. Such as, what makes them unique, brand positioning, there target market and how they really want there brand to be perceived online and offline.

Put the time and effort in now and it WILL save your thousands in the long run, in rebrands! Whether you are a new business or wanting to give your brand a refresh this year – it’s all in the planning, so sit down, write those goals and aspirations – grab a pen and paper and you may just surprise yourself with your idea’s and answers to some of the questions put your way.

Do you have a vision of how you want your brand identity to be?

Get inspired! Have you considered putting together a brand board before you start creating your brand identity, and before employing a brand mentor or graphic designer to help you achieve and develop your ideas? Simply by clarifying what you really like and dislike and documenting this first will save not only time but money in the long run. Pinterest is a great app for documenting what inspires you. Create a new board called “brand vision” and get pinning. Ask yourself why you are attracted to an idea , this all helps with clarity for your brand identity. Check out my article on Brand Vision Boards for more ideas to get you started here!

What do you offer your clients and specialise in most?

This may sound like a strange question, but you don’t want to come across as “everything to everyone”. You need to refine and focus: Where are you right now and where do you want to be in the future? For example if you go to an Italian restaurant you don’t expect to find Chicken Tikka on the menu!! Each of these are specialist in their own field.

What is the one thing you would like your business to stand for? Does your business inspire you? If it does it will inspire your prospects as well! This is your opportunity to refocus and reinvent yourself through your brand identity. Your brand and marketing message will be clearer and sharper and you will attract the clients you love to work with effortlessly.

What makes you unique and stand out above your competitors?

In the first instance, you must have belief and confidence in yourself and what you are doing. Focus on the positives and don’t worry about what everyone else is achieving. Your vision, your style and commitment will be the greatest assets to your business – so celebrate them. Focus on what you are doing right. Having a strong brand you believe in gives you the confidence to be persistent and drive your business forward.

“There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions” Richard Branson

Who is your ideal client – you know that one you loved working with?

Your ideal clients are the ones that value what you do and are prepared to pay your worth. They don’t think twice about referring you to new prospects and are confident in what you do for them? Think about what you offer that makes them feel like this, is it your customer service, the know, like and trust factor or value for money. Are these the attributes that make a client choose you for the first time or for repeat business?

Is your brand strong enough to attract the clients you want?

Are you strong enough to back up your brand promise and values? Does your personality shine through? Is your message consistent across all your social media platforms. Remember, it is always about your clients and what you can do to help them and provide that solution to their needs. Are you listening to them? It’s not about you! Even if you lose the tender or contract ask the question WHY? You can always turn a negative in to a positive if you know the reasons why. If you learn from these set backs your business will become stronger and so will your brand – so win win!

Why does your business inspire you?

Do you ever stop to think about what inspires you and how you should present your brand image? The right brand identity can help you attract more of the clients that have you leaping out of bed every morning rather than pressing the snooze button! Think of the clients that have inspired you, and the projects that motivate you. By tapping in to that energy you will be happier, more confident and drive your business forward more successfully.

What are your personal and business values?

What is your WHY? Why do you do what you do? This is about bringing the authenticity in to your brand. This is what will keep you going when you face your biggest challenges. List 5 of your business values, you may find that your life and business values overlap (as in my case). Put yourself in your clients shoes, what do you want to experience? Weave these values in to your brand and this will add to your personality and authenticity, which is key in a world full of global small businesses that need to be unique. Remember people buy people.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What do you want to be recognised for?

What is it about your product or service that your clients really value? What do you offer that is completely unique over your competitors? What skill do you want to be known as the “go to” person for in your industry? Ask yourself who are your 3 favourite brands and why do you resonate with them?  This could be reflected in your business. How can this be communicated through your brand identity and marketing strategy? Success breeds success.

Why shouldn’t I be number one – your big vision?

Play on your strengths. Give yourself the opportunity to think really big. Why shouldn’t your brand be at the top of the league. Be aspirational and have the brand that your competitors aspire to be. Many of us don’t like to push ourselves forward in case of failure but unless we go outside our comfort zones we will never know what we can achieve.

“Defeat is not the worst of failures not to have tried is the true failure” George Edward Woodbury

By understanding why it is so important to have a strong brand identity these are the fundamental basics that I bet a lot of you didn’t even think of, but it IS the brand structure that helps you build a successful business. Get the foundations right and you will have the confidence to be the face and leading force of your business.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you” Steve Martin

Instructing a graphic designer isn’t always easy, it is a challenge in itself to get your vision across. But I hope by following the questions above, this will make your first consultation a lot easier and less stressful. Always go with your gut feeling and don’t be afraid to say “no” if they are not feeling what you are feeling. Keep refining the brief and keep talking to your designer – the right one will be as passionate as you are about your business and it’s success.