How long does it take to form a business? If we are looking at the paper-work to be filed then in the present online world you could be a business with only one or two hours of work. You’ve got an idea of what service you would like to perform, there is the beginning of a business outline completed, you have aspirations of how much money you may make, and you’re anticipating a bright future where you can enjoy the flexible life of being a business owner. Congratulations!
Wait a moment! You are determined not to be in that fifty-percent-plus group of small businesses that don’t make it, right? Then put on the breaks for a bit because there’s one thing that you definitely need to think about – how are you going to stand apart from the competition? If your profession is a real estate agent, then you want real estate branding. If you are a car repair shop, you want car repair branding. If you’re a catering service, your catering service needs branding. The point is – branding is what makes you distinctive, it is what sets you apart from your competitors, it is what makes you stand out.
What’s a brand? A brand consists of a look, a feel, a design, a consistent image, and something impactful to the customer. A brand visually shows what your small business is about to potential clients who know little about you and the look of your brand provdes a narrative about your business style.
Let me give you an example; you either love or hate Donald Trump, but as an example of someone who gets branding, he’s someone who truly knows what he’s doing. From day one he associated a certain image with the Trump name and he spent the subsequent twenty-five years building it up. When you hear the name, immediately you think of NY property, skyscrapers and business ventures.
On a completely different level, what quickly comes to mind when you hear the name Starbucks? Straight away, you can almost smell the dark coffee, hear the jazz music and see students with their laptops studying for examinations. Whether you’re in Seattle, Boston or Chicago, you know what to expect when you walk in the door. Starbucks is another fine example of branding.
For many small businesses, the common fear of building a brand is that they will be limiting their market. The reality is completely the opposite. When you build a brand, you open your market in ways that you cannot see now, in ways which will provide benefits to you in your business future.
Early on, Trump decided he was going to stay out of a certain segment of the market – flat out NOT SELL to them. Did this hurt him? No, it brought more business because the clients who wanted precisely what he sold – exclusive luxury residences – gathered to him for it. In a similar way, Starbucks ignored the “donut-and-cup-of-joe” crowd, leaving them to Dunkin ‘ Donuts and Krispy Kreme. By doing that the clients they wanted – professionals and scholars with eclectic tastes – ran to them.
Think about you and the customers you would like to serve. It’s more than hanging out a flashy sign that claims, “I’m the best!” The best what? What’s your specialty? Investors? Thirty-somethings? Mull it over. You may get more business than you ever thought by literally building a brand that ignores certain segments of the market. The best way to do so is with a solid marketing campaign that targets your best prospects with the right branded message, one that makes you stick out from the competition.
The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, real estate branding development and real estate training, Denise is nationally recognised as the go-to for all things “real estate.”