Career Trends: Ready to start a business? Think about your brand strategy.

3 min read

Edition: October 1st, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Your brand strategy needs to be at the forefront of your planning. (Image Credit: iStock)
  • Excerpts from article by Adam Horlock, published on

Ready to start your business? Many who start a business in the industry they have been working in have some familiarity with the operational requirements. Due to this, they may assume that they know everything needed – overheads, office space, equipment, employees, etc.

However, this is a flawed approach. One must set a budget for brand identity or strategy. The assumption that “if you build it, they will come”, can result in a costly pivot after launch or, worse, higher and unnecessary overhead costs that could delay or prevent business growth.

How can an entrepreneur ensure that this does not happen? Here are some tips:

1. Start with a strategy

  • While the idea is just a concept, before the first conversation with a bank, landlord, investor, or other parties, start with a brand strategy.
  • Identify what type of brand your business will be and an initial concept of the customer base.
  • Begin developing goals for the first six months, year, five years, and more.
  • What do ‘wins’ look like in those time frames? What is truly necessary to spend now, and what can wait?
  • With sound strategy, many startups can use incoming revenue after opening to help fund additional expenses if required, rather than purchasing everything at once before launch.
  • With a sound strategy first, an entrepreneur can spend both less and better, and get better results. 

2. Work with a team of experts to shape your brand identity 

  • While many marketing agencies claim to assist new startups and existing businesses with their brand identity, entrepreneurs should be cautious of such claims.
  • Some agencies are more interested in a monthly retainer or pushing companies to purchase services and deliverables that may be unnecessary for business growth but instead helps the agency in an area where they may not have enough work.
  • While an entrepreneur should always do their due diligence, this is one of the critical areas required.
  • Ask for references, and check those references.
  • Ask other businesses how the agency has helped and what impact the recommended strategies had on their business. 

3. Define the ‘me only’ differentiator

  • One of the first steps in working on your brand identity is to define the ‘me only’ differentiator – something offered in a way that’s wanted by your customer base but cannot be sourced from anyone else.
  • Getting the help of brand strategy professionals with experience navigating this process is critical, especially before launch.
  • Determine competitors, the value or perceived value those competitors bring to the market, and then determine what differentiating factors separate all in the market. 

4. Consistently evaluate and pivot when required

  • After launch, evaluate the brand strategy. What is working and what is not? Are there other opportunities for the business that are not currently realised?
  • In choosing and working with an agency, make sure it is an agency that can produce on strategy both before launch and after.
  • It is not enough for an agency to create videos or social media content. Ensure that the agency can build a strategy that promotes continued growth and expansion.  

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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