Now that you’ve decided to start your own business, explored your financing options, and come up with a name, it’s time to think about your brand.
[Ominous music here]
Fear not. While branding is a crucial part of your future success, it can also be broken down into completely manageable parts.
When you were coming up with your name, you likely already put a lot of thought into your branding without really meaning to. A great second step is to come up with a tagline or slogan. Even if it doesn’t end up being integral to your logotype or your small business website, it will help you distill down your thoughts about what you want your business to be when it grows up.
Start by thinking about your company’s unique selling proposition (try using this handy infographic). What sets you apart from others? What did you think you could do differently that inspired you to start a business in the first place?
While it can be tempting to go with the product of your first eureka moment and set off to the business card printer with guns blazing, this tagline is going to be with you for a long time, and it’s going to determine the course of your business’ future.
So cool your jets, and listen to these 3 tidbits of tough love for tagline writers:
1. Keep an open mind. Your first idea is rarely your best idea. So when you do come up with something you like, keep going. You can always circle back, but it would be a shame to stop before having your best inspiration.
2. Break it down into the elements. Instead of trying to come up with a dozen catchy phrases off the top of your head, try putting pen to paper (or marker to whiteboard) and writing down a list of adjectives, nouns, and verbs you want associated with your business and use those as building blocks or inspiration. Try roping a friend or family member in to the process!
3. Ask for input, and actually listen to it. While it’s true that you are the person best acquainted with your business, that doesn’t mean yours is the only opinion that counts. It’s scary to come up with an idea that you love and then put it out there for friends/colleagues to critique, but it’s critical that you do. If it doesn’t make sense to them, it won’t resonate with your potential customers either. Just like a good joke — if you have to explain it, it just doesn’t work.
What other advice do you have for the branding process? Have you already been through it, or just getting ready to start?
More posts in this Setting Up Your Business series:
Naming Your Business [INFOGRAPHIC]
9 Strategies for Starting an Online Business on a Budget
Identify Your Small Business’ Target Audience in 3 Steps
Designing a Small Business Logo 101