This is absolutely paramount. It is essential that you don’t whimsically embark on this kind of venture without knowing what you are doing. Many people have fallen into this trap and lost money. Research strategically from the outset and you will be on to a winner.
TIP: It is wise, from the research phase onwards, to invest in sound advice. While it might involve some upfront costs it means you can talk to experts who understand the intricacies of your niche market. It is safer to have a business hand to hold throughout the start up process rather than risk failure.
Stand out from the crowd
Find something that makes you unique and sets you apart from others in your niche. After all you want your potential clients to notice you. If you are the same as everyone else you will become invisible.
Ask yourself questions like:
• Is my physical environment state of the art?
• How does the environment reflect my brand?
• Are my staff leaders in their field…or will we provide a service no one else has so far?
• Is this what my potential clients want? Some people follow a whim…a dream…but it is not what their customers need or want.
• How can I test the market so that I don’t make a mistake?
Set a culture of putting people first
People come first, money second. Invest in your team. Without them your brand means nothing, your business lacks momentum and more importantly lacks soul. Good staff who are treated well bring expertise, confidence and loyalty to your business. Their belief in your vision and philosophy will follow on from this feeling of goodwill. They will act as a positive window on your business and naturally promote your brand, both in the workplace and socially.
Know who you are and be what you say you are. Follow through. This applies to every aspect of your business.
Remember bad news travels fast. If you say you are one thing and behave differently you will soon be spotted. When people are disappointed they don’t hesitate to share the news. With the speed of today’s technology this can rapidly destroy your brand.
Develop a culture of responsibility and accountability
Put systems and procedures in place so that everyone you are working with knows exactly where they stand. They need to know where their responsibilities start and stop and to agree to be accountable. This type of planning brings clarity, consistency, saves time and leaves people feeling secure.
Love your brand
You have given birth to your brand and you should be passionate about developing it. If you model that passion to those around you they too will sit up, notice and respect it. Keep an open mind and listen out for other people’s ideas regarding your brand. Listen objectively and decide what advice to use and what to abandon. As much as you love your brand, you have to be realistic and make the figures stack up. It can be a delicate balance. You need to have a budget to keep your brand alive. If you invest in the right advice and set your business up in a logical and entrepreneurial way, you won’t be the only person who loves your brand! And that’s what you’re aiming for!
Protect your brand fiercely!
Protect your brand like your baby. Nurture it and give it the respect it deserves. Again, be consistent and follow through with what you say you are. Be utterly professional and dignified at all times to reflect your brand. Be prepared to stand your ground and back it if challenged. Remember your brand is your livelihood. Trademark it to make it uniquely yours. Officially protect your intellectual property
Don’t just settle for good…it’s not going to be enough to survive in a competitive market. Constantly strive for better. That doesn’t mean making endless changes for change’s sake. But being aware of potential improvements that will enhance your brand and keep you ahead of others in your niche. Remember the physical environment you create will become a mirror on your brand. How you present it is an enormous part of your business. This aspect should be strategically planned, preferably on the advice of professionals who know the business. Be prepared to evolve…do not allow your business to become stagnant. It simply isn’t an option if you and your brand are to survive.