I’m a branding and design agency, yes, but also a business and through the years of being self-employed I have gone through a few mistakes, which relate to brand and business. These mistakes have most of the time a common sense side, which we sometimes don’t see due to having to do everything ourselves when we start our own business. So hopefully this will give you a head start, and you will avoid making those silly errors as I did.
1. My friends say that I have a great business idea
This is a common mistake I have come across with new clients and some friends. Your friends and family won’t be your target market, so don’t bother asking for their approval or opinion on your business proposition. Is likely that your friends are similar likeminded, which means that their view will be similar to yours. Also, there is the factor of not wanting to hurt your feelings.
Find your potential client and ask them if they think is a good idea. There are a lot of ways to test your idea, from a prototype or focus groups to a simple online survey.
2. Everybody is my target market
No, not everybody. Your target market is the people who are ready and willing to give you their money in exchange for toy services or products. And it’s essential to target the bigger and most loyal group because if your service is too niche unless is an expensive service, your business won’t be sustainable. Knowing who your customer will help you to communicate with them clearly and in their own language. You don’t speak to a Grandma in the same way that you talk to a millennial, do you?
Find a big group that need your service and make sure you create a persona document where you state as much information as you can. Gender, age, salary, where they hang out… everything that you can gather will help you to use the right tone of voice, visual communication and where can you advertise.
3. I can do it on my own
I still fall into this trap now and then. Budget is always tight, and I decide that I will do it, but then I do it wrong or just not do it at all. Getting help is an investment, as long as the right help. For example, an accountant is an investment to get your accounts appropriately done and avoid fees.
Automate or delegate. There are lots of ways to get help in a money effective way form virtual assistants to automating through your website and email. Find which tasks are a burden and make you lose money and find a practical solution, even if it involves paying a fee. Automate with Buffer and Zappier.
4. Focus on the wrong area
I enjoy writing blogs or playing around with new social media, but that isn’t money making. Don’t get sidetracked for chores that don’t bring money, a blog or social media is a nice to have but not essential. What’s critical is delivering your projects and invoice them, if then you have time do fun stuff.
Mark your tasks as Priority 1: Important/Urgent, Priority 2: Important/ not-Urgent and Priority 3: Nice to have. And work through your list on priority.
5. Branding for you and not your customer
It’s essential that you brand your business for your customers not what you like. I have a customer that branded their business in a surfer style. Their business delivers top-notch events for a specific public. A ticket to one of these events is a 4-digit number.
Ensure you understand what your customer expects and deliver them that. Your taste is irrelevant, although you need to love the brand too, as you have to sell it.