Starting a New Business: Branding, Print Materials and Networking
So you’re branding a new business, amazing! It’s an extremely busy and exciting time in your life. It’s easy to get caught up in making sure your product or service is perfect (and so you should!), but don’t forget that there’s more to starting a new business than a top-of-the-line tool, the newest products or fresh paint on the walls.
As you read through, take some time to look at the photo collages. We've featured 3 unique businesses with outstanding brands, smart print pieces and who network regularly in the community and keep their social media profiles fresh.
Starting with a great brand, here’s 3 things that we know you’ll need to have when starting your business:
1) A Brand:
Give your business a personality and life of its own by taking the time to establish your brand. Your brand is what identifies your product or service to the customer and sets it apart from the competition. Your target customers need a face that they can see, understand and trust…and your soon-to-be repeat customers need a brand that they can recognize and remember as your business grows.
The most obvious part of a “brand” is your business name & logo, but a brand is made up of so many moving parts…it’s defined by your company values, product quality, the language you use, the photos you display on your social media, and how well & often you connect with your customers. Take the time to define mission statements, goals and target markets for your business, and then work with Graphic Designers and Marketing professionals to create a brand that reflects what you have to offer.
2) Print Materials:
Digital advertising has endless ways to regularly and consistently show off what you can do. Even though today’s focus is on technology, having something tangible like a business card is irreplaceable. It’s important to carefully choose and create print pieces that give your customers something to hold onto and remind them of you, something that isn’t as fleeting as an Instagram story.
There’s an endless list of print possibilities, so it’s important to plan and invest in quality print. Talk to your print house or Graphic Designer to brainstorm ideas that will give you the best bang for your buck. Perhaps one printed piece can serve a dual purpose? Consider a business/appointment card, a rack card with a coupon tear-off, or generic fillable labels that allow your product line to change and grow. With a new business it can be handy to keep your materials as generic as possible while you learn what pieces are more useful. Imagine what would make your business look spectacularly professional (don’t be afraid to dream big!) and then think about which items could check off a few boxes! It’s also important to consider a variety of complimenting print materials…make sure you have a great banner and an informative rack card rather than a rack card AND a brochure.
3) A Professional Network:
The Bay of Quinte Region offers so much to new business start ups and enthusiastic entrepreneurs! We’re located in a hotspot for tourism, rural and outdoor living, all the while just a stone’s throw away from major city centres like Toronto, Kingston, Peterborough and Ottawa.
Get started by contacting your local city hall, researching various networking events and organizations, and by joining & supporting community initiatives. Networking in person gives you a chance to know the other businesses that you’ll be working alongside. This relationship also provides a great opportunity to pass along trust-worthy referrals from one business to another. Make sure you have some business cards and informative handouts to give to new connections. Remember: No one is born knowing how to run a business, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from and make local support organizations like the Quinte Business Development Centre at Loyalist College a part of your network.
Here’s a few places to get inspired and check out what’s going on in the area:
Lastly…we took the focus away from technology for a moment in section 2, but make sure your professional network also includes streamlined social media pages for your business to connect with local customers, business owners, similar businesses and people across the province, country and WORLD!