The Busy Small Business Owners Guide to Branding

Lessons For Everyone

Last year, Mashable came out with “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Personal Branding,” and we thought it was pretty spot on.

So spot on, we have adapted it for the BUSY small business owner. (Have you met a lazy small business owner? We haven’t!)

Listen up Small Business Owners! We know how busy you are. After all, Markon is a small business too! We have all the same trials and concerns that you do. Our blog is rife with lessons on what to do and what not to do when it comes to branding. Give it a read. We are here to help you in whatever way we can. So, let's get started!

Be Consistent In Your Messaging

On the Web:

We know you are busy, but the rewards to maintaining a presence on the web are vast. (You can read why, here.) However, you invest in a web presence, be sure to follow these quick and easy rules:

Use a consistent name, everywhere. Slight adaptations are acceptable when technical necessity requires it. For example, we are Markon Brand Design on Pinterest and @MarkonBrands on Twitter. Consistent doesn’t necessarily mean identical, but rather, logical.

  • Include a phone number, email and hours of operation.

  • Where possible, include a contact form. (Such as on a website, or Google Site.)

  • Use a web-ready version of your logo.

ONLY USE web-ready images. If you don’t time to capture high-quality photos, and/or you’re not ready to invest in custom graphics, use an open-source, web-ready image instead.

If you get a chance, write reviews on relevant websites to your field. Tweet about the book you’re reading in relation to your field. Publish a blog on your website. All of these things will increase the ways people find you, and help with your search rankings. (My what?)

In Print:

The temptation to create your own signage, rack cards, flyers, posters, etc. is overwhelming, we know . . . If you are going to go that route, at least adhere to a style guide. Either one established by branding professionals for you (read this post), or one you have imposed on yourself.

  • Use the same logo (you really should only have one)

  • Use the same font

  • Use the same color scheme

  • Try to follow the same organizational/design flow

In the World:

As the owner of the business, you are the business. How you present yourself is very important - in both your appearance and your speech. Every small business should have a variant of the classic elevator speech. This is who you quickly let people know who you are and what you do. This sound bite should be consistent. As you network, you increase brand awareness and possible word-of-mouth marketing. You want to make a consistent impression in the various, diverse minds you will encounter as you advocate for your business.

Sell Your Expertise

While you’re out and about in the world, setting up websites, meeting people and talking to consumers in your workspace, let them know what makes you, you. If you work in an industry that makes you pause and say “but there are 500 (insert profession here), I’m just the local option” then . . . think hard about what the advantage to working with/buying from you is. In this day and age where Amazon is investing in a fleet of drones to deliver your next order, and collaboration across the globe is easy, being the local guy isn’t always enough (for some consumers it is exactly enough). Tell us what you do and why you do it the best/different. No one else is like you, this can’t be too hard!

No One Is Too Old For Mentors

We all have our idols. You should have a few in your field. Follow them. Learn from what they do and the information they share. If they are accessible, reach out and get to know them. There is something to be said about establishing your own personal board of advisors. It will help you learn, grow and succeed.

Get On LinkedIn

Just do it. Everyone wants you to do it. Having a profile will create an additional avenue for consumers (and admirers) to find you, research you and potentially engage with you. It lends credibility in an age where consumers, and prospective partners, want to be able to find out as much about you as possible before making a decision to commit. We say get to it!

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